Last week, representatives of Local 120, Laborers' International Union of North America (LiUNA) gathered to discuss green jobs, weatherization and private investment at the Clean Energy Roadshow. At the event, Local 120's business manager Ward Daniels said he is hopeful that weatherization jobs can help the economy in Indiana, where "unemployment is up to 25 percent in the construction industry."
According to Daniels, there could be as many as 13,000 new jobs in weatherization and retrofitting houses. For Indiana families, weatherization could end up saving homeowners as much as $500 in yearly energy costs, he said.
At the event, Mayor Greg Ballard restated his support to sustainability and explained some of the projects happening in Indianapolis: 78 government buildings being retrofitted to help reduce costs; eight million dollars allocated for the construction of bike lanes.
"Energy efficiency isn't just low hanging fruit; it's fruit laying on the ground," the mayor said, quoting Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
Ballard also pointed out that, now matter what is done, it will still be expensive to change to a green economy.
"To make this happen, we need trillions of dollars to work and we cannot get it ourselves we need to believe in the market and private investment."
Brandon Seitz from the Indiana Office of Energy Development was there to offer his updates on sustainability contracts. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently allocated $131.8 million in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and there has been 5.1 million in FY funding for 2010. But because of the long process to get funding to the contractors, Seitz has been obligating dollars to the currently approved contracts and offering reimbursement to the contractors at a later date.
"hat we want to show is that we got something going on the ground, we got business moving in."