Green pork

Spending billions to build “green” school facilities is a waste of money, writes Dan Lips.

On Wednesday, the House passed the “21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act,” a $6.4 billion school-construction program. Essentially, it’s a regulatory gift bag for environmental groups and labor unions

The legislation creates a new federal grant program to provide states and local school districts with money to build and modernize schools. Among the reasons offered by Chairman George Miller’s Education and Labor Committee for supporting the legislation: to “create jobs in the construction industry” and make “schools that are more energy efficient and reliant on renewable resources of energy” to reduce “emissions that contribute to global warming.

Over five years, the program would cost $20.3 billion, projects the Congressional Budget Office.

The proposed law would require high construction wages under Davis-Bacon and would require the use of high-cost American-made steel.

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  1. Marianne says:

    As a school committee member who serves on our building committee, I can tell you that we’ve built some wonderful schools with all the latest high efficiency burners, lights that turn off automatically, sun shades, glazed windows, etc. BUT, that also means that they meet the current building codes for schools which mandate significant ventilation requirements AND they have all included air conditioning – to better serve all the children who are sensitive to asthma and pollen. Our fuel and electricity costs, of course, tend to be dramatically higher than they were prior all the “green” enhancements.

    Not that it wasn’t the right thing to do. The community upgraded the school buildings when we could afford it. Trust me — the ongoing cost will be significant.

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    With 40 years of school construction behind me, I grieve at the costs this green crap will impose on the process. I learned in the dawn of my engineering career that just because you could do something didn’t mean you should. Back then the “Total energy system” where you made your electricity, usually with diesel drive generators, and used the waste heat to heat buidings and water.
    The primary problem was that when you make your own electricity you need enough capacity to do all the electrical jobs, which can mean that a base load of 10 KW might require a 50 KW gen set. It also means you need to hire competent operators, since even full automatic equipment needs watching over. Utilities do much of that much better than you ever could, as I discovered when my self contained factory went down and we were an hour away from having to bring in a steam locomotive to get a plant generator turning.
    Much of the green stuff is just someone’s theoretical gain rather than performance proven. “Green roofs”, wher a lawn is grown on the roof, can moderate interior temperatures but you need another roof under them to do a roof’s job of keeping the rain off you. I would offer this deal to politicians – they don’t try to be engineers and I won’t try to waste taxes.

  3. SuperSub says:

    Well, much of the “Green” movement is little more than pork. Why do you think a whole industry has sprung up in the past ten years…


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