At first blush, the Thurston County Economic Development Council and Thurston Climate Action Team might seem like strange bedfellows.
One group is in business to stimulate the local economy and the other was formed to fight global warming on the local level.
But the two groups have found common ground and a place to work together in the world of energy efficiency.
It makes perfect sense. Using energy wisely and efficiently is good for businesses, good for families and good for the community. Investing in energy conserving measures creates jobs, keeps more money circulating in the local economy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps utilities such as Puget Sound Energy reduce the need to invest in expensive new power plants, which are ultimately financed by ratepayers.
The climate action team partnered with the economic development council to apply for a federal stimulus grant of $1 million to stimulate investments in energy conservation for middle-income homeowners and small businesses. While all the details have yet to be hammered out, the program will offer technical assistance to help Thurston County businesses and residents navigate the sometimes confusing world of tax credits, rebates, utility programs and other avenues to get hooked up to energy improvement projects.
The climate action teams wants to make it easier for people to upgrade their home energy systems, which is a worthwhile goal. One way to accomplish this is to have neighborhood workshops on everything from how to get a home energy audit to how to connect with qualified contractors for such things as insulation, window and furnace upgrades. The program fits with the EDC mission of providing technical support for community-based projects that improve quality of life in South Sound.
Community members should look forward to more information on how to get involved in the Thurston County Energy Efficient Program, which should be up and running is the first six months of 2010.
The Olympian – http://www.theolympian.com/opinion/story/1009398.html