Economic Recovery Begins at Home: How to Create 1 Million Clean Energy Jobs by Retrofitting US Housing Stock

March 10, 2021

President Joe Biden campaigned and won on a sweeping climate plan that promised to deliver good jobs while advancing racial and economic justice. At the heart of his governing agenda lies his promise to create 1 million jobs by upgrading 4 million buildings and weatherizing 2 million homes.

As President Biden has acknowledged, efforts to modernize, decarbonize, and revitalize the US economy must literally begin at home––through major investments in clean, energy-efficient, and healthy housing. But Congress has yet to articulate a detailed plan to flesh out the mechanics of Biden’s commitments.

Economic Recovery Begins at Home: Retrofitting US Housing Stock for Jobs, Health, Savings, and the Climate—published by the Roosevelt Institute and the Evergreen Collaborative—is a policy roadmap to turn President Biden’s ambitious retrofitting and home-upgrade agenda for American homes into a legislative reality.

Authored by Bracken Hendricks, Kara Saul Rinaldi, Mark Wolfe, Cassandra Lovejoy, and Wes Gobar, the report outlines clear, compelling, and detailed policies Congress can center as it crafts economic recovery packages and implements Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan: policies for pandemic response, low-income energy assistance, market rate rebates, and financing tools that would create good jobs and modernize the nation’s electricity grid—in urban and rural regions alike.

The Economic Recovery Begins at Home plan, which builds on existing programs, is achievable within a budget reconciliation package and should be a central component of any infrastructure and stimulus efforts. It calls for congressional stimulus to:

  1. Ensure safe and healthy housing during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  2. Expand housing affordability through weatherization of low-income housing;
  3. Upgrade homes across the US—at every income level and in every region;
  4. Create good jobs and training opportunities for a new energy workforce; and
  5. Modernize, stabilize, and decarbonize the electricity grid through building innovation.