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What I Read in the Green New Deal for Public Housing Bill

by gmoke Sun Dec 22nd, 2019 at 11:15:55 PM EST

The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act  (these comments come from the draft https:/ocasio-cortez.house.gov/sites/ocasio-cortez.house.gov/files/OCASNY_053_xml.pdf but the actual bill has now been filed at https:/www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5185/text) (thanks to DocGonzo for the clarification) is the first binding legislation drafted.  It will reconstruct "the entire public housing stock of the United States, as swiftly and seamlessly as possible," into zero-carbon homes, "a highly energy-efficient home that produces on-site, or procures, enough carbon-free renewable energy to meet the total annual energy consumption of the home" within a decade.

Public housing stock will be eligible for deep energy retrofits, including

energy-efficient windows;

super insulation of roofs and exterior walls, including the addition of new cladding to buildings and the rerouting of plumbing and electricity;

electrification of water heating and building heating systems using electric heat pumps;

and electric heat pumps to provide air conditioning, where feasible;

materials and technology to increase airtightness of the building envelope, including air sealant paints; the acquisition and installation of heat-recovery ventilation systems;

and energy monitoring devices including smart meters and smart thermostats.  

There will be grants "to build and expand community energy generation in public housing, including

the construction of and ongoing costs associated with renewable energy rooftops;

renewable energy generation;

photovoltaic glass windows;

the bulk purchase of clean energy supply from energy utilities;

and community-scale energy storage."

What the bill is calling a zero carbon home is also known as zero net energy housing or, more commonly, net zero energy buildings, structures which produce as much energy as they consume and such buildings have been built in just about every Earthly climate, from the Arctic Circle to the South Pole;  at single family and skyscraper scales;  at low, moderate, and luxury prices.  I've been collecting examples of Zero Net Energy buildings and technologies for years at http://solarray.blogspot.com if you want to see what is operating now, is being built, and some of the design visions for the future.  CA is already transitioning to a net zero energy building standard for all low-rise residential buildings now (2020) and the EU is moving to a "near net zero" standard now too.  Both will have a net or near net zero building standard for all buildings, including rehab, by 2030.

There are positive net energy buildings as well (see http://solarray.blogspot.com).

In 1979 Jimmy Carter's energy plan called for insulating 90% of American homes and all new buildings and use solar energy in more than 2.5 million homes by 1985. There were 1.3 million solar installations in the USA in 2017 by one count and may be 1.9 million in 2019 by another.  The DOE is predicting there will be 3.8 million solar homes by 2020.

Carter also wanted "20% of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000."  Renewables, wind, solar and hydro, are at just about that level now, 20 years behind his schedule.

Carter was thinking in terms of his next four years in office. Extinction Rebellion is demanding that "Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025."  The Green New Deal has a 10 year timeframe.

Jimmy Carter in 1979 was more ambitious than we are now.

The Green New Deal for Public Housing also provides for community resilience centers, "a communal space in public housing that is used as a cooling center, heating center, or disaster relief center during extreme weather."  This fits in with the idea of emergency preparedness, civil defense, no matter what the opinion of climate change.  After all, Solar IS Civil Defense (and entry level electricity for the billion or so people in this world who don't yet have access to minimal electricity for light, communications, and other things.  See Personal Power Production:  Solar from Civil Defense to Swadeshi (http://solarray.blogspot.com/2010/12/personal-power-production-solar-from.html) for more on these concepts and Personal Power Set (http://solarray.blogspot.com/2018/09/personal-power-set.html) for a look at current available technologies.

Community resilience measures include a "grant program to help provide the purchase and installation of energy storage, including batteries, flywheels, compressed air, and pumped hydroelectric or thermal energy storage, in order to ensure energy backup of not less than 48 hours in the event of an emergency or disaster;  the construction of childcare centers and ongoing costs associated with childcare centers;  the construction of senior centers and ongoing costs associated with senior centers;  the construction of community gardens and ongoing costs associated with community gardens."

This will allow public housing to become islanding microgrids, housing that can power themselves when the grid goes down.  Grid interconnection will also allow public housing to feed energy back into the grid and offset costs.

The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act also authorizes the "training and development of skills necessary for career development in the fields, trades, and services reasonably determined during the first public comment period held in accordance with subsection (b)(3) to be of interest to public housing residents," at a wage of $15  per hour with "stipends valued at not less than $250 per week to individuals participating in the workforce development program."

Using the reconstruction of the USA's public housing as a job development program in energy efficiency and renewable power is supported by the results of the 2019 US Energy and Employment Report [USEER]* which found that there are currently more clean energy jobs available than workers to fill them.  The lack of trained people was highlighted by virtually all surveyed sectors as a growing problem with lack of experience, training, and technical skills almost universally cited as the top reason for hiring difficulty by employers. The need for technical training and certifications was also frequently cited, implying the need for expanded investments in workforce training and closer coordination between employers and the workforce training system.

US Energy and Employment Report [USEER]*  also found that energy efficiency has the most overall growth and potential for jobs.  It is about 41% of energy sector jobs now.  More than 1 out of 6, 17% of all USA construction jobs are in energy efficiency.  E2 [Environmental Entrepreneurs] (https:/www.e2.org) has an Energy Efficiency Jobs in America report that goes deeper into this subject (https:www.e2.org/reports/energy-efficiency-jobs-in-america-2019).  Cities like Boston have found that energy efficiency retrofits, electrification of existing residential buildings, and improved transportation are the most impactful strategies for reducing carbon emissions (http://sites.bu.edu/cfb/files/2019/01/Carbon-Free-Boston-Report-web.pdf).

*Summary of the report at https:/www.e2.org/reports/clean-jobs-america-2019

Full report at http://usenergyjobs.org

Webinar at https:www.dropbox.com/s/9jgpx73nmeh4myu/E2%20Webinar%203.20.19.mp4

More at https:solarray.blogspot.com/2019/04/why-isnt-job-growth-first-thing-climate.html

There are 3.3 million clean energy jobs

2.3 million in energy efficiency

508,000 renewable energy

254,000 clean vehicles

139,000 grid and storage

38,000 clean fuels

The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act requires biannual reports

"on the impact that the grant programs established under subsection (a) have had on--

(1) the rehabilitation, upgrades, innovation, and transition of public housing in the United States;

(2) total greenhouse gas emission output, and quarterly data on greenhouse gas emission reductions from individual public housing developments, specifically as they relate to--

(A) home energy carbon pollution emissions in each public housing development, as calculated using the Carbon Footprint Calculator from the Environmental Protection Agency;

(B) waste-related carbon emissions in each public housing development, as calculated using the Carbon Footprint Calculator from the Environmental Protection Agency; and

(C) total greenhouse gas emissions released by individual public housing buildings and homes within a public housing development, as calculated using the Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator from the Environmental Protection Agency;

(3) the amount of Federal money saved due to energy cost savings at public housing projects, on a quarterly basis;

(4) the amount of energy savings per KwH at each public housing project, on a quarterly basis;

(5) public housing residents, including--

(A) access to economic opportunities through compliance with the hiring and contracting requirements described in subsections (c) and (d) of section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 (12 U.S.C. 1701u);

(B) the impacts, if any, those residents have experienced to their individual economic growth as measured by individual and household income;

(C) the specific career skills acquired;

(D) the impacts, if any, those residents have experienced to their overall health; and

(E) the specific educational or technical certifications acquired; and

(6) changes to the overall community health indicators in public housing developments and their surrounding neighborhoods, including asthma rates, air quality, water quality, and levels of lead and mold."


"Before the start of the second fiscal year beginning after the date of enactment of the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, and quarterly thereafter, the Secretary shall require each public housing agency to monitor, measure, and report to the Secretary on the economic impacts of this section on the community in which housing developments of the public housing agency are located, including

``(A) the aggregate dollar amount of contracts awarded in compliance with this section;

(B) the aggregate dollar amount of wages and salaries paid for positions employed by low- and very low-income persons in accordance with this section;

(C) the aggregate dollar amount expended for training opportunities provided to low- and very low-income persons in accordance with this section; and

(D) the aggregate dollar amount expended for training and assisting public housing resident-owned businesses for compliance with this section."

The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act guarantees "the right to housing for every individual... all housing in the United States is habitable, highly energy-efficient, and safe; and... that the Federal Government should act and build new public housing where there is a serious need that the free market cannot address or is not addressing responsibly.''

Most, if not all. of the Green New Deal for Public Housing necessitates "SEC. 10. REPEAL OF FAIRCLOTH AMENDMENT. Section 9(g) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437g(g)) is amended by striking paragraph (3), Faircloth Amendment which forbids HUD to "fund the construction or operation of new public housing units with Capital or Operating Funds if the construction of those units would result in a net increase in the number of units the PHA owned, assisted or operated as of October 1, 1999."

Faircloth Amendment - HUD


PS:  Impacts of Green New Deal Energy Plans on Grid Stability, Costs, Jobs, Health, and Climate in 143 Countries

An update from Mark Z Jacobson and his team at Stanford.

More net zero energy public housing?
. yes 100%
. no 0%
. not yes 0%
. not no 0%
. neither yes nor no 0%
. both yes and no 0%
. don't understand the question? 0%
. none of the above 0%

Votes: 1
Results | Other Polls
Smart meters are bad. They are there to shut off your electricity to a corporation can have it in the middle f a scorching day.
by StillInTheWilderness on Wed Dec 25th, 2019 at 03:56:29 PM EST
Smart meters can also be good as they can be used to operate things like washing machines at night when the electricity rates are lower.  There is a controversy about the signals they put up and who actually gets to control them.  I didn't include the controversies about smart meters in this rundown.  

There are a number of other controversial components of the Green New Deal for Public Housing like public housing resident councils and instruction in workers cooperatives but I thought I'd give the gist as I hadn't seen it anywhere else.

Of course, I read the initial draft not the filed legislation, as I pointed out above, and believe the repeal or amendment of the Faircloth Amendment is enough to make this bill a dead letter in the present circumstances.

Still and all, I found it to be a good start.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Wed Dec 25th, 2019 at 05:59:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here in (very conservative) Colorado Springs, our city utility company deployed smart meters for water, electricity, and natural gas about a decade ago. They can't shut off the services, they're read only.

Colorado Springs Utilities Smart meter basics

by asdf on Thu Dec 26th, 2019 at 02:48:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To clarify, the system currently includes one-way (read only) smart meters, but the infrastructure supports two-way (read and control) meters that will support demand management. There is already a demand management system for electric hot water systems, but in the future the system will be more comprehensive.


by asdf on Thu Dec 26th, 2019 at 03:06:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Green Mountain Power in Vermont and the EU's Grid 2.0 test-bed, Bornholm, Denmark, have used electric hot water heaters with smart meters and demand side management as energy storage for the grid.  These experiments are now a couple of years old and you can probably hunt down the results.  I haven't, yet, and also haven't heard of any more extensive tests of using electric hot water heaters as grid storage.

Smart meters allow that kind of thing to happen whatever the issues with privacy, possible "health" effects, and "state" control, all of which have been mobiized to make smart meters a controversial topic in some areas.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Thu Dec 26th, 2019 at 06:06:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So what is "smart" about them? Just remote reading?
Here in Illinois, they can shut down your power "when demand is high". i.e. in the middle of the afternoon on a 100+ degree day.
People can die. A few years ago on a mid hundreds day in Dallas, many old people died in a power failure because they were afraid to open the windows because of crime.
by StillInTheWilderness on Tue Dec 31st, 2019 at 03:47:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The current meters we have are smart only in the sense that they enabled the elimination of a bunch of meter reader jobs.

The next generation of meters, which they are just starting to deploy, do have the ability to do demand management. It is a bit more than just shutting off the power (although that is apparently also possible in the case of the electric meters, not the water or gas), it has to do with cycling your A/C unit in synchronization with others to reduce the peak demand. Or to allow you to charge your electric car without overheating the neighborhood transformer.

If you look into the various IEEE Power and Energy Society articles, there is a heavy emphasis on the electricity "system," including balancing supply and demand with demand management. This represents shocking socialist over-reach in local political terms.

by asdf on Tue Dec 31st, 2019 at 07:31:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing socialist about letting a private utility maximize profit by prioritizing customers.

I'm gad I have a natural gas powered home emergency generator, although I hate to use it. I'm not dying of heat stroke for anybody's bottom line.

Meanwhile, Excelon (Commonwealth Edison) blocked admission of wind power from Iowa from entering Illinois through their tame seals in the state legislature. I'm glad Trump's FBI is investigating this. Obama's FBI didn't.

by StillInTheWilderness on Sat Jan 4th, 2020 at 07:23:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you heard of any deals that would get this legislation past the Senate and Trump? Most likely it is best to hope for a Democratic Senate in 2020 along with a Democratic President.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Dec 26th, 2019 at 07:34:42 AM EST
If you look at the last paper cited in the original post ("Impact..."), the claim is that a 100% sustainable system would cost less than business as usual. In Colorado Springs, at least, which is very conservative (optimal mix of retired military and evangelical populations), "it is cheaper" has been a powerful argument in favor of various infrastructure improvements.

Another example: currently we are running on mostly coal, but even Wyoming coal is no longer cost-competitive with a solar + wind supply. As a result, a long-planned but never-executed coal power plant retirements is now supported by practically everybody.

More analyses supporting the "yeah but it's cheaper than coal anyway" argument might convince some legislators.

by asdf on Thu Dec 26th, 2019 at 04:01:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect nothing will happen with Green New Deal legislation until Trmp is removed from the Presidency, the Democrats take the Senate as well as keep the House, and the Federal judiciary is purged of radical conservative troglodytes.

Which should tell you I ain't holding my breath until these conditions are met.

I read the draft bill because I didn't see any details in the sources I follow  and because I wanted to understand whether the Green New Dealers had a good grasp of the possibilities.  As I stated in my original post, I think they did a relatively good job but that they don't know as much history as they should and are less ambitious than Jimmy Carter was back in 1979.  In 2019, days away from 2020, we should be much more ambitious than we were back in the Carter days.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Thu Dec 26th, 2019 at 06:11:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably Pelosi needs to be replaced as well.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Dec 26th, 2019 at 06:13:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No fooling. She's even older than Bernie.

The US of A needs to do some serious thinking about mandatory retirement of politicians.

by asdf on Thu Dec 26th, 2019 at 08:25:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Problem with this is that I can't think of a single worthwhile politician except Bernie. Booty Judge is thirtyish and direcctly from a clone vat.
by generic on Fri Dec 27th, 2019 at 11:59:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Elizabeth Warren
by asdf on Sat Dec 28th, 2019 at 01:17:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unless you put the the mandatory retirement limit for running in an election at around 73 I don't see how that helps.
And while she seems to have been decent in the senat on finance, I don't really see what her presidential campaign really adds at this point. Medicare for all who want it, phased in after three years? Not accepting money from billionairs*.

* Valid for the primary, doesn't include party functions.

by generic on Sat Dec 28th, 2019 at 11:21:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking as a sexist pig, I subtract a decade from Warren's age because of her sex. But more importantly, she has a solid list of specific program proposals that are reasonably forward-looking.

I wish Bernie would admit that he is too old and just merge his campaign with hers. Currently it looks like Biden will do the same thing that Trump did: pick off each competitor one by one. And then run a DNC-managed clone of Hillary's boomer campaign, get lousy turnout by minorities and young voters and progressives, and hand Trump another term. It is frustrating.

by asdf on Sat Dec 28th, 2019 at 10:13:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And yet Sanders has been on a grueling campaign schedule for years and shows few signs of mental decline. The US health care system works pretty great when you don't have to deal with insurance, so the risk of him dropping dead is not that high. And he anyway needs a blood-thirsty commie as VP to prevent "accidents".
Really, I feel the window for a Warren run closed in 2016. What left there is in the US is now organized around the Sanders campaign and you can't just switch out the center piece and keep the whole stable.
Note that Sanders is still one of the most popular politicians in the country after something like three years of Oligarch hostility. Everyone knew that he would run in 2020 on an explicit class-war platform. Maybe there'll be a line of attack that sticks, but odds are we would have seen it already. Sanders seems like the best bet by far.
by generic on Sun Dec 29th, 2019 at 12:12:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would had been enthusiastic about Warren in 2016. I had noticed her early (though the video disapeared from the diary text). But now I am learning too much of her.

As for desirable age limitations: youngsters are supposed to surpass the elders without any yielding gallantry. Instead, third rank politicians of the older generation are having their chances and dominate. Modern upbringing may be killing leadership instincts for decades already, after all. Especially on the left.

by das monde on Sun Dec 29th, 2019 at 03:58:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another possible explanation is that young workers are overwhelmed with household money problems and job insecurity. If you're struggling to pay your rent, you might decide that you don't have time to spend on politics. To be a reasonable candidate for president requires you to have acted in a series of lower roles, like local school committee or city council member, then as a state representative. Those are basically volunteer positions that require a lot of time commitment.

Many boomers are retired, sitting on 401k hoards, and eager to "give back to the community" by running for office. Or have built up financial security as politicians in the past and don't know how to do anything else.

by asdf on Mon Dec 30th, 2019 at 06:03:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So 20 years from today, who replaces odious "leadership"? Your child or the other child? Let's ask ThatBritGuy.
by Cat on Tue Dec 31st, 2019 at 06:51:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I noted with interest: H. R. 5185, Green New Deal for Public Housing Act-introduced 05.12.2019
SEC. 10. Repeal of Faircloth amendment.

Section 9(g) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437g(g)) is amended by striking paragraph (3).

(g) ¶3, Limitations on use of funds, § A-C containing notable exceptions for mixed-finance projects, eg. commercial rental property guaranteed by HUD project-based voucher (PVB) income "incentive" --a/k/a RAD demos. New construction across from my own home--four-stories 60-unit multifamily for 30% AMI HHs sponsored by the DHCD--seems to exemplify post-HOPE public housing stock replacement schemes despite ¶3. After 9 years to acquire the land, obligated public funds and private grants, and a reputable developer, apart from 30 years amending to city planning ordinance to clear titles and tax credits, the city broke ground this August.
Worth the wait, right? The "Green New Deal for Public Housing Act" ¶3 repeal however does not replace that mechanism by establishing affordable housing trusts within PHAs, land trust ownership, and fiduciary oversight regulated by PHA commissions, grantors, or so-called public housing resident-owned businesses. These are a non-trivial risk issues over the long term that cannot by solved by skirting Davis-Bacon to tout Sec. 811 "stakeholder" participation rates according to a frankly unrealistic time table to produce "green" housing stock from the 1M unit inventory. tbh, Sec. 7, 8 implementation and requirements are highly problematic impositions on PHA residency, because they neither foresee nor prescribe necessary benefits coordination for tenants across agencies. Greater displacement than cursorily anticipated in the text appears inevitable. So, no, Green New Dealers' grasp of the possibilities is weak and leverage applied to existing HUD regulation of PHAs is not optimal.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Dec 29th, 2019 at 05:48:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]

generations to boomers: ARF! Arf arf! grrr! $$$$$!

by Cat on Tue Dec 31st, 2019 at 06:46:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Should We Care How Many People ["]LBJ["] Would Think are Poor Today?
In the context of this essay (i) "LBJ"--Lyndon B. Johnson-- is a trope connoting a discrete, historical period of political conflict in the US, labeled "The War on Poverty," which denotes a set of states' and federal statutes and formulas regulating agencies'--eg. SSA, DHHS, USDA, HUD--systematic disbursement of transfer payments ("welfare", "social benefits," "entitlements," "subsidies," "public assistance") from US general accounts to individuals or Heads of Household qualified indigent by WHOM?; (ii) an unstated assumption that a GAAP term, disposable income (computed after-tax income, "free cash flow"), is common knowledge and uniformly understood not to be equivalent to statistically imputed AMI much less HH "net wealth"; and (iii) an unstated assumption that impositions of in-kind income are common knowledge and uniformly understood to inflate agencies' measurement of HH "self-sufficiency", ie. reduction of eligibility for "public assistance" over time and regardless of FPL.
by Cat on Thu Jan 2nd, 2020 at 03:13:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You won't touch coal as long as McConnell (R-KY) controls the Senate.
by StillInTheWilderness on Sat Jan 4th, 2020 at 07:30:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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