Archive for the ‘ Creating Green Jobs ’ Category

Saint Paul Receives $50,000 Green Jobs Grant

The Saint Paul City Council has accepted a $50,000 Green Training Grant from the Minnesota State Energy Sector Partnership. The City of Saint Paul, in partnership with the University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research, will use the grant to develop a curriculum and provide training on the Saint Paul Sustainable Building Policy.

The Saint Paul Sustainable Building Policy is the first policy in Minnesota that requires compliance with energy efficiency and sustainable development standards for new municipal buildings and private construction receiving $200,000 or more in City or Housing and Redevelopment Authority funding. The Minnesota State Grant will fund training for developers, architects, contractors, city staff and others in the private and public sectors on how to comply with The Sustainable Building Policy, in addition to providing green development skills in general.

The Saint Paul Sustainable Building Policy was developed with the goal to serve as a model for other local governments in Minnesota and beyond. Following the successful implementation of the training program in Saint Paul, the City and CSBR will offer the training and materials to other municipalities and organizations.

For more information, contact Keith Hovis by email or by phone at (651) 266-8571.

Energy Smart Homes

City of St. Paul LogoThe City of Saint Paul has launched the $550,000 Energy Smart Homes loan and rebate initiative that will provide Saint Paul residents with the tools to lower energy consumption and cut costs.

By renovating our homes and replacing old appliances, a person will save money and decrease energy usage in Saint Paul. This is one more way the City is improving building efficiency, lowering energy costs, and protecting our environment while solidifying Saint Paul as a national leader in environmental sustainability.

This initiative is made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. Energy Smart Homes will provide funding for energy-saving improvements to houses and apartment buildings, thereby lowering monthly utility bills to residents, strengthening the City’s tax base, and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Energy Smart Homes will also create jobs, a key component of ARRA, by creating a need for contractors, including heating and insulation contractors.

Energy Smart Homes is a two-pronged initiative. $500,000 will be used to make no-interest loans up to $6,500 to homeowners to make energy-saving improvements to their homes. These funds will also leverage Xcel Energy rebates. Prior to making the improvements, each home will undergo a home energy audit to identify the greatest needs.

Eligible expenses may include furnace replacement, insulation and air sealing.

Saint Paul homeowners of all incomes are eligible to apply, though incomes will affect the loan amounts and other initiative requirements.

Another aspect of the initiative is “Cool Cash for Cold Clunkers,” which consists of cash rebates for owners of apartment buildings in Saint Paul who replace old inefficient refrigerators in their rental units with new ENERGY STAR refrigerators.

By replacing a refrigerator from the 1980s with an ENERGY STAR refrigerator could save as much as $100 each year on utility bills.

Energy Smart Homes will provide up to ten $200 rebates to owners of apartment buildings. And while the building owner will benefit from the cash rebates, many tenants will realize the monthly savings resulting from lower utility bills.

Pre-applications must be postmarked by June 11. Individuals will be selected by June 17. Selected homeowners seeking funds for energy-saving improvements will be invited to complete a full application and selected apartment building owners seeking refrigerator rebates will be notified and informed of the process for receiving their rebates.

If you would like more details, including eligibility conditions and other requirements, go to www.stpaul.gov or call 651-266-6655 for a pre-application.

On a related note, if you are a non-profit, neighborhood or business association, you may be able to take advantage of our new Energy Challenge Grants initiative. The initiative will give non-profit organizations, neighborhood and business associations the opportunity to receive Federal stimulus funds for projects that will assist Saint Paul residents and businesses in reducing their energy use and climate change impact.

Organizations must utilize the funds for projects that promote either the Neighborhood Energy Connection’s Home Energy Squads, Center for Energy and Environment’s One-Stop Efficiency Shop Program, the Minnesota Energy Challenge or other successful cost-effective energy efficiency and conservation programs.

Eligible applicants may request up to $5,000 for projects completed by June 30, 2011. Applications for the Energy Challenge Grants must be received by June 14, 2010.

For profit businesses are not eligible.

If you are interested in this initiative, visit the Sustainable Saint Paul website at: www.stpaul.gov/sustainability or call 651-266-8520.

Green Jobs a Real Opportunity to Restore City’s Economy

Majora Carter, the MacArthur Genius Award recipient, founder of Sustainable South Bronx and president of the Marjora Carter Consulting Group that focuses on “green collar” jobs, believes the way we do business is simply not sustainable. In her round of public appearances and speeches, Carter, the keynote speaker at the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Forum at St. Olaf College, made a vital assessment that we can restore the economy and alleviate poverty with the same thing, the environment.

As Carter stands at the wooden dais on a tall and extended stage in the St. Olaf College auditorium, she spreads her arms wide with a warm smile, a sort of embrace to the largely white audience in a small Midwest town and states, “Green is the new Black!” She quickly follows with, “What do I mean by this? Regardless of how poor you are, or what color, you have an inherent beauty and you should be able to look outside and see that too.”

Environmental Justice Advocate Majora Carter

Environmental Justice Advocate Majora Carter

We must, she said, invest in the people we’ve given up, thrown away and literally dumped on.  This echoes what Nieeta Presley of the Aurora/St. Anthony NDC argues about the Central Corridor: “This project should be based on neighborhoods instead of the metropolitan or statewide governments.”  Creating projects based on communities, neighborhoods and the people is the alternative strategy that Carter focuses on to move from a polluting economy to a people-based economy.  It is what Carter refers to as “Greening the Ghetto.”

Environmental justice is an increasingly important element of policy-making in transportation. As the Central Corridor LRT approaches and “green branding” increases, it is imperative that social, economic, and environmental goals not be separated, but approached holistically by asking the right questions and stipulating the importance of exploring race and class as inextricably linked to the entire health of the community.

— By Ashanti Austin