If every town and city in the country did this we could dig our way out of a deep environmental hole.
This is an associated press article that was carried in at least the above newspapers.
U.S. cities encourage residents to go green with perks, cash
By BRIAN SKOLOFF________
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
PARKLAND, Fla. – Free hybrid-car parking. Cash rebates for installing solar panels.
Low-interest loans for energy-saving home renovations. Money to tear up
desert lawns and replace them with drought-resistant landscaping.
Frustrated by what they see as insufficient action by state and federal
around the country are offering financial incentives to get people
to go green.
“A lot of localities recognize they’re going to get a lot more done
using carrots and incentives
rather than regulatory means,” said Jason Hartke,
director of advocacy for the U.S. Green Building Council.
In Parkland, where the motto is “Environmentally Proud,
” the city plans next year to begin
dispensing cash rebates to its 25,000 residents for being more
‘We will literally issue them a check,” said Vice Mayor Jared Moskowitz.
‘We’re sick of waiting
for the federal government to do something, so we’ve got
to do what we can.”
Residents who install low-flow
toilets or shower heads will get $150. Replacing an old air conditioner
with a more energy-efficient one
brings $100. Buying a hybrid car? An additional $200 cash back.
And the list goes on.
Based on an estimate of 1,000 residents participating in the rebate
program during the
first year, the city predicts it will cost up to $100,000.
“Could this bankrupt the city if the program grows by leaps and bounds?
” Moskowitz asked. “I can only wish
that so many residents want to go green that
that becomes an issue.”
Many states already offer similar rebates and incentives through
tax breaks, loans and perks such as
allowing hybrid-car drivers to use car pool lanes.
Utilities have long provided incentives to buy energy-efficient a
ppliances, solar panels and toilets that use
less water. The federal government, too,
offers tax incentives for purchases of many hybrid vehicles and e
Still, for many cities, it’s just not enough.
“In terms of waiting for the federal government, we’ve waited
a long time, and frankly, we haven’t
gotten very much,” said Jared Blu-menfeld, director of
co’s Department of Environment. “And how do you change
someone’s behavior? The simple answer is cash.”
Starting next year, San Francisco will offer homeowners
rebates of up to $5,000 for installing solar panels
if they use a local contractor. Coupled
with state and federal incentives, that could cut in half the
$21,000 cost for an average household,
The city also will cover up to 90 percent of the costs of making
apartment buildings more energy-efficient,
and will pay residents $150 to replace old
The neighboring city of Berkeley is financing the cost of
solar panels for homeowners who agree to
pay the money back through a 20-year property
Nearby Marin County offers a $500 rebate to homeowners
who install solar systems.
Baltimore offers at least $2,000 toward closing costs for
people who buy new homes
close to where they work. It is called the “Live Near Your Work”
“Just living near your job and taking transit or
walking to meet your daily needs
provides basically the same environmental benefit as
buying a hybrid car,” said Amanda Eaken of the
Natural Resources Defense Council.