Councilor At-Large Candidate Doug Bennett
on creating jobs in Boston
Boston has the potential of being the Silicone Valley of the Northeastern United States.
Unemployment is at 10% and Bostonians are losing their jobs. For Boston’s economy to rebound amidst the current global economic crisis, our own local economy must evolve. While many believe that to do this we must focus on the development of alternative fuel sources like the creation of solar and wind energy which would take many years to accomplish, the fastest way we can create many Construction and Engineering Jobs is by focusing on what is called “retrofitting.”
According to Energy Expert Doug Foy, the former Secretary of Commonwealth Development which oversaw transportation, housing and the environment, “Boston should focus on making the buildings throughout Boston “green.'” Simply, there are over 200,000 buildings in our city. Experts like Foy say that 45% of all energy used on the planet is used by buildings.
Here’s where the problem lies.
Buildings, because they have been built energy inefficient, waste ½ of all energy. That means about 25% of the world’s energy consumption is wasted because buildings are energy inefficient. For example, energy wasting can occur due to the type of lights, heaters, windows, and air conditioners among other things used in buildings. And if proper construction maintenance was done, money would be saved through energy bill savings, and people would be back to work in the construction industry.
Many workers are out of jobs in the city, yet this “green” approach of retrofitting buildings of Boston would put many people back to work and create at least 10,000 new jobs in the areas of construction and engineering in the City according to Mr. Foy.
The question is where do we get the money to pay for the retrofitting of buildings?
What we need to do is tap into a plan that was recently created by President Obama which allocates $16 billion to focus on the retrofitting of buildings. Additionally, other monies exist within the Commonwealth that Boston should take advantage of in the pursuit of job creation: the Green Jobs Act. The Green Jobs Act was signed into law this past August 2008 by Governor Patrick and intends to provide grant money for companies and universities that encourage the training of workers for environmentally-friendly jobs such as those in the retrofitting construction industry. Over the next five years, the bill will provide $68 million dollars to the green jobs initiative.