Boulder, Colorado, an idyllic college town notorious for its health conscious population, has again shown its progressive spirit by voting for county Issue 1A last November, authorizing the government to sell bonds to fund loans to homeowners who want to make energy-efficient upgrades. This week, lawmakers met to decide upon details of this new local “stimulus” package.
These ClimateSmart loans represent a $40M program for the county, which hopes to fuel job creation through its broad scope and easy application process. It is estimated that 800 new construction sites will be created by this program – and now, there are 17 out-of-work construction workers for every one job available in Boulder County.
Both energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements can be financed through these loans. Homeowners who want to upgrade to solar or wind power are eligible, as are homeowners who simply want to improve insulation or upgrade to a more energy efficient furnace.
Workshops to educate homeowners and commercial building owners have been held, and officials are gearing up for what they expect will be a crush of applications.
Hopefully this program will be wildly successful, both in greening the community AND in creating new jobs. It can then serve as a model for other such programs across the country.