On Saturday president-elect Barack Obama announced key points of his economic recovery plan. Apparently he's been paying attention to the message that energy efficiency is the proverbial low hanging fruit (I promise that's the only time I'll use that tired expression today...), the most cost effective way to reduce energy usage, as that tops his list.
There's a full transcript available but here are the highlights:"We will launch a massive effort to make public buildings more energy efficient"
Saying that the federal government now pays the highest energy bill in the world, Obama said that the first part of his plan will be to upgrade the heating systems in federal buildings and installing more efficient light bulbs. This will both save taxpayer money and create jobs.
"...The single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since...the 1950s"
Comparing the level of reinvestment in physical infrastructure to the creation of the national interstate highway system in the 1950s, Obama said that millions of new jobs will be created repairing roads and bridges in communities. He said that if a state doesn't act quickly enough to spend the money allocated, they will lose these funds.
While I didn't really expect Obama to make a commitment to rebuilding the United States' railways and public transportation infrastructure in this sort of announcement, a passing mention of it would've been nice. In terms of increasing societal energy efficiency, expanding public transit, rebuilding communities to alleviate the necessity of owning a car and improving conditions for bicyclists (the world's most energy efficient vehicle) should be more highly emphasized.
Modernize School Buildings
...my economic recovery plan will launch the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen.Â We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms. Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools.
"...Renew our information superhighway"
As we renew our schools and highways, we'll also renew our information superhighway. It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they'll get that chance...
Modernize Our Health Care System
In addition to connecting our libraries and schools to the internet, we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the internet. That is why the economic recovery plan I'm proposing will help modernize our health care system — and that won't just save jobs, it will save lives. We will make sure that every doctor's office and hospital in this country is using cutting edge technology and electronic medical records so that we can cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.
More at: Change.gov
Energy Efficiency, Public Transportation
World's Most Energy Efficient Vehicle? A Bicycle
Public Transportation, Walkable-Community Development Bill Introduced into US House of Representatives
Beating the Energy Efficiency Paradox (Part 1)