Going for a deeper shade of green

Simple weatherization programs are nice, but the biggest bang for the buck comes from a more comprehensive approach, according to a study by the UCLA Labor Center.

The group calls for a "deep green" approach to energy efficiency, which includes a whole-house approach. It includes an energy audit that could lead to a full scope of improvements and upgrades in older and poor neighborhoods where cutting power bills would generate meaningful money savings and create a wider variety of jobs.

A broader approach would create work for electricians, plumbers, architects, and contractors - way beyond the $15 or so average wage of a weatherization worker, the report says. With some construction trades devastated and unable to find work in this economy, the "deep green" approach could be a lifesaver, the report states.

There also is a huge pool of opportunity. In Los Angeles, for example, 90% of all residential and 77% of all commercial properties were built before 1978, and would likely benefit from upgrades, according to the study.

Here at the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, we are all over energy retrofits. We are working with 36 cities and three counties to upgrade lighting, air conditioning systems, and expect to expand into residential and commercial properties as well.