Paint it, solarize it, weatherize it, build it greener and better: on September 27th, as part of a national day of action for the Green Jobs Now! campaign — which includes hundreds of grassroots events across the United States — one resident of Landover Hills, Maryland is receiving a "home energy makeover" to highlight the economic benefits of "going green" for the average homeowner — as well as mobilizing political support to create more so-called "green-collar" jobs.
You might have heard the term "green-collar jobs" already — it's part of a growing, new economy shifting towards energy efficiency, biofuels, conservation, greener technologies and urban planning policies in local communities across the United States. The idea is that these jobs not only help the environment, but they also boost the economy because there is the potential for tens (or even hundreds of thousands) of jobs that cannot be outsourced — providing real opportunities for individuals, cities and states for job growth.
But many advocates for the new green economy point out that it's important that everyone realizes they are able to benefit from this shift, regardless of income, ethnicity or creed.Makeover will show that green is for all
"We're not going to solve global warming just with expensive consumer choices like buying hybrid cars and shopping for organic food. People need to realize that you don't have to be white or wealthy to benefit from going green," says Van Jones, founder of Green for All, a national campaign aiming to bring green-collar jobs to urban areas. The group is also one of the sponsors for the Landover Hills makeover project, which hopes to overcome the misconception that going green is only for those who can afford it.
"This home energy efficiency makeover highlights the affordable things that homeowners can do to increase their home's energy efficiency and save money. It creates an opportunity for people to learn some of the skills associated with green jobs," says Lisa Lincoln, co-chair of the Progressive Cheverly Environmental Committee, another of the project organizers. "And, it invites people of all colors, economic levels, faiths, and skill levels in Prince George's County to participate in a movement that will create jobs, rebuild communities, protect our environment for future generations, and give people hope."
"Going green to save green"
"I want to do this to show my neighbors what can be done to save money," says Mrs. S., the Landover Hills homeowner who also works in the Prince George's County school system. In addition to her home makeover, she passed around a "community news" flier with some tips on lowering home energy bills (see below to the next page).
An "energy audit" was performed last week to compare the before-and-after scenarios of the energy makeover, which will take place on Saturday, September 27th, 2008 with the help of local tradespeople and groups.
"Environmental sustainability, and its consequential benefits such as low utility bills, is achievable for all income classifications. Lower utility bills can be a huge help for those struggling to make ends meet," says Justin Rowell of Greenmodeling, who oversaw the audit. "Unlike most traditional home renovations, energy and green improvements increase in value as time passes. The more energy prices increase, the more the homeowner saves."
The event hopes to reach out not only to everyday homeowners, but also to those who have skills to contribute, but may need re-training in the "green job" sector.
"Prince George's County's working families have been hit hard during this economic crisis. Rising fuel, energy, and food costs are making it very difficult to pay all the bills. We have the highest foreclosure rate in the state of Maryland," explains Lincoln. "And, many people travel from Prince George's County to jobs elsewhere. This county needs green jobs now. We are ready for green jobs now."
Stay tuned: we'll have more on the verdict on the home energy makeover and other Green Jobs Now! events as they happen later this week.
::Green Jobs Now! via press release
Related Links on the New Green Economy
Green Eyes On: Green Jobs
Green-Collar Jobs or Rust-Belt Future?
Five New Jobs in the Growing Green Economy
National Initiative to Create 250,000 Green-Collar Jobs for Urban America
Quote of the Day: Van Jones on the Green-Collar Solution
Millions of Jobs of a Different Collar (NYT)
Green Collar Jobs Blog (site)
For more free or low-cost tips to have an energy efficient home, read on!