Yesterday I was asked whether enough support was being given to develop the green building industry in the United States. It led me to wonder where the so-called "green" stimulus package had wound up six months later. I had criticized the stimulus bill for being less green in reality than in rhetoric here. The answer to where we are now that the bill is being implemented? A light shade of chartreuse, not the deep forest I would have preferred. By my calculations, a total of $33.2 million has been paid out for green stimulus programs, and an additional $307 million in public transit dollars, of the allocated $119 BILLION. That is .28% of the total allocation by my calculations.
Here are the stats in detail:
The allocations in the Stimulus Bill for categories which include green:
- Infrastructure funding has been allocated $111 billion (this includes transit)
- Energy has been allocated $8 billion.
[Please compare this to the $288 billion for tax relief].
Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy--Department of Energy
As of 7/17/09 the Department of Energy has paid out $264,457,144. $16,796,000 has been awared for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, of which $3,189,150 has actually been awarded. BOTTOM LINE: $3 million
High Performance Green Buildings--General Services Administration
As of 7/17/09 overall the GSA has paid out $12,743,040. of available $656,418,268 of which $6,807,468 has been paid out for federal buildings, which includes high performance building projects.
UPDATE: The GSA provided me with specific information on the High Performance Building Program. According to the GSA, $4,500,000,000 was appropriated by Congress, $318,750,279 obligated to date (contracts awarded) and $230,771 outlayed to date (work completed & paid)
BOTTOM LINE: $230,771
Public Transit--Department of Transportation
As of 7/17/09 the DOT has paid out $773,662,175 of a total available $22,188,399,591. For rail and other transit funding, including Amtrak, obligations of $3,921,784,326.72, outlay of $306,918,718.00 (this includes state block grants).
BOTTOM LINE: $307 million in public transit funding outlaid as of 7/17/09.
Everything the EPA Is Doing--Environmental Protection Agency
As of 7/17/09, EPA has paid out $30,515,805 of the $5,713,481,497 it was allocated. Assuming that all that the EPA does is in some way green related, and this is a big assumption on my part, as much of the EPA funds have been dedicates to water resources and cleanup of hazardous sites, that adds another Bottom Line $30 million.
So what do all these numbers mean?
I think, as I did when the ultimate stimulus bill was passed that the overall amount is not enough. What we know now is that the money is being spent slower than anticipated. If the concept was to stimulate the economy in 2009, $33.2m probably is insufficient. The entire practice of architecture is dying on the vine, without help there will be few innovators left to help green the next building wave. Something needs to be done to facilitate getting the green stimulus dollars to those projects that need them--I have heard of LEED projects which are dying because they cannot access private funds--sooner rather than later.