There are 150,000,000 homes and apartments in the USA and 99% could be retro-fitted to save or even create energy. Obviously, the needs of each dwelling need to be evaluated to put together the best package for the climate. Some possible projects could be:
Water Tank Wrap
Roof Colored to Match Climate(Dark roofs in the north--white roofs in the south)
Double or Triple Pane Windows
Addition of a Sun Room
Update old HVAC systems with more energy efficient models
Replace Oldest Appliances
Replace all light bulbs with CFLs
Update all toilets and faucets to Low-Flow fittings
Add Fireplace Inserts
Replace door gaskets to stop drafts
Educate homeowners on "Peak Usage Times" and install appliance timers where applicable
Addition of solar panels and wind turbines where feasible
The average time spent on each residence would be about 50 hours with an average of $2000 in time and materials--that alone creates millions of man hours in the workforce--the resident could help where practical to keep the costs down.
This idea would create a minimum of 1 million construction jobs for at least 3 years with an average of $20.00 per hour wage. As building starts regain footing, these construction people can be slowly returned to those higher paying jobs.
It would also create another 1-2 million manufacturing jobs in window factories, door factories, plumbing supply factories and dozens of other manufacturing factories. The key to this is really in favoring the local suppliers so that the project employs as many people as possible.
And it would support service jobs as the paychecks started coming in on a regular basis. The paychecks would be spent in restaurants and on consumer goods.
The best part is that the people who live in the houses and apartments can pay for this themselves with the savings on their energy costs. Once the energy package is paid for the savings continue for years.
We don't even need a "Bailout" to do this. All we need is Government Guarantees for the Power Companies to use to dole out retrofits to home and apartment residents in a way that the loan is tied to the power bill of the home, so that if the person moves, the next resident repays the loan with their energy savings. Payments go back to the Power Company and when all the loans are repaid, the Power Companies release the Guarantee. The payments need never exceed the savings, so there would be no burden on the resident only a potential for savings when the loan is repaid in full.
The effect on the power grid and on our carbon footprint would be astronomical! Each house and apartment could cut energy costs by 30-50% if properly updated.
It would be easy to pick out the building in the most need of retrofitting by thermal satellite imaging--start with the worst buildings and work up the list until the USA is invisible on thermal scans!
Please let me know what you think of this idea!