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Ramping Up for Earth Day

Vice President Biden kicks off Earth Day early with the announcement $452 million in Recovery Act funding to support a “Retrofit Ramp-Up.”

Vice President Biden kicked off Earth Day early this year with the announcement $452 million in Recovery Act funding to support a “Retrofit Ramp-Up” in a speech at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building earlier today.   These funds will make energy efficiency affordable for hundreds of thousands of businesses and homeowners, and create tens of thousands of jobs in the process.

Investing in retrofits is a triple win.  It’s a win for consumers who save money on their energy bill.  It’s a win for the environment because we’re using less energy, which cuts down on harmful emissions from greenhouse gases.  And, finally, it’s a win for the American economy, because it creates green jobs, jobs that can’t be outsourced. 

These awards are part of the overall $80 billion Recovery Act investment in clean energy and energy efficiency and take a new approach toward retrofitting homes and businesses for greater energy efficiency and are part of an overall

These grants are focused on encouraging entire neighborhoods, entire neighborhoods to take advantage of the retrofits all at the same time.  Right now, most retrofit work programs are on a house by house basis.  The construction crew may come into a neighborhood, upgrade one home one week, and then they have to come back to work in a neighborhood home a few weeks later, maybe the same neighborhood.  Well, the Retrofit* Ramp-up* award winners are taking a different approach.  Now, that -- the same construction crew would upgrade all the homes on the same block at the same time.  That saves contractors time and money.  They can pass the savings on to their customers.  And it’s just a much more efficient way to operate.

The Vice President also reflected the progress Americans have made in cleaning up our environment and reducing our dependence on foreign oil since the first Earth Day forty years ago.

Since the beginning of the environmental movement, we’ve been trying to transform the way we use energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels to tap into the vast, untapped, renewable energy sources and to use energy more efficiently.  The fact is we’ve been trying for 40 years, and we’ve made some progress.  But we’re now poised to make significantly greater strides, in our view, than ever because of the unprecedented investment in the Recovery Act and the leadership of the President and the Secretary of Energy.

In honor of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, the Obama Administration is kicking off five day’s worth of activities, starting with the Vice President’s announcement today. 

Over the next few days, officials from across our administration will participate in more than a dozen events to celebrate Earth Day.  We’re getting everyone in the administration involved.  And today, the day before Earth Day, we kick off a week for an administration that for -- literally for every day it’s Earth Day for us.  Because this implicates every aspect of our country’s self-interest, from foreign policy to economic policy to environmental policy to health care policy.  This impacts on every aspect -- every aspect of what kind of country we’re going to leave our kids.