Archive for the ‘Public Policy’ Category

Get Your Money Moving

Friday, March 13th, 2009

A grassroots effort is underway that will be a catalyst for our local economy’s turn-around. Individuals and families are pulling whatever funds they have invested in national banks and poorly performing mutual funds and depositing the money into local community based banks. Most of the neighborhood banks have acted responsibly and consequently are in excellent shape financially.

The re-deposited money is accompanied by a letter of explanation to the managers of the bank, so the full effect of the transfer will be felt. The letter explains that spec construction loans must be made available to builders of homes that are super energy efficient. Green builders do not have access to other sources of funding and currently are lumped together with all spec builders.

We know that the construction industry is the first to go down in a recession and it also holds the key to get us back to a functioning economy. Yet, most in the homebuilding business have behaved as badly as the American automakers, creating a grossly inefficient product. These builders should not be able to get loans until they change their specifications to include the high energy efficiency that buyers want and that our environment demands.

Following is a sample letter that can be cut and pasted to be included with your funds transfer.

Dear Bank President,

I am part of a grassroots effort of people who are interested in participating in the economic recovery of our region. Because yours is a community bank, I have chosen to transfer my money to it.

I/we sincerely hope that you will agree to use some of the bank’s funds to provide financing to spec home builders who are certifying their homes at a five-star Built Green level. Five-star Built Green homes are at least 30% more energy efficient than other new construction homes. Most of the builders in this category are exceeding this increase in efficiency by 50 to 100%.

Lending money on new construction projects will help put people back to work, and will benefit our community, but it must be for the types of homes that people want today. There is no standing inventory of 5-star Built Green homes because these are what buyers demand.

I trust that you will take this request seriously.

Yours truly,

Subsidizing Pollution

Monday, March 9th, 2009

So the 2009 Built Green Conference is behind us and was a big success. The highlight for me was definitely seeing Robert Kennedy Jr. speak. His breadth of knowledge and clarity of purpose is truly amazing. His main points revolved around the necessity of recognizing the environment for what it is: the fundamental infrastructure of our economy. To be an environmentalist in his words is not to be some hippie tree hugger but to recognize the reality that a clean environment enables prosperity across the social spectrum.

Kennedy clearly articulated a point that I have long considered myself. In an economy where industries are allowed to pollute the fundamentals of free markets are not working. Pollution is a cost of production that is externalized, in other words shifted on to society. The final cost of goods produced does not accurately reflect the cost of production. In effect society is paying industry to pollute. This pollution then has broad negative effects on the environment, economy and population.