Prepared Remarks of Secretary Shaun Donovan at a Boston Green Retrofit Event

Castle Square Apartments, Boston, MA
Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thank you, Ann, for that kind introduction and for your work on behalf of Castle Square's residents.

Thanks also to Congressman Mike Capuano. Few people better understand the hopes and dreams of Boston's working families than Congressman Capuano, and no one fights harder for them in Washington.

Most of all, I'd like to thank Mayor Menino, who for 17 years has helped drive a remarkable transformation of this city.

Whether it was producing over 20,000 new homes over the last decade through his "Leading the Way" initiative, forging the Boston Main Streets public-private partnership that has revitalized countless neighborhoods, or making Boston the first city in the nation to write green building standards into its zoning code, no one has done more to put Boston at the center of the 21st century global economy than Tom Menino. He is a remarkable partner.

And when a Yankees fan says that about a Red Sox fan -- you know he's not kidding.

So it's a real honor for me to stand alongside him today, as we work to help nearly 200 families in the Castle Square apartments see the benefits of more than $6.7 million in green retrofit awards funded by the Recovery Act.

Castle Square's residents blazed a trail in affordable housing when they bought this property 19 years ago -- and today this tenant-owned building has made history once again as it undergoes the largest "deep" green retrofit ever undertaken in the United States.

As President Obama has said, one of the foundations of 21st century economy is clean, renewable energy. That's why he has committed America to a new clean energy standard that requires 80 percent of America's electricity to come from clean energy sources by 2035.

And with 40 percent of carbon emissions coming from our buildings--and half of that coming from our nation's homes--one of the keys to meeting that standard is greening America's housing.

Green construction already supports more than 2 million jobs and generates more than $100 billion in GDP and wages.

And over the next four years, the green building industry will support nearly 8 million jobs and generate more than a half trillion dollars in economic activity.

That's why of the nearly $14 billion in Recovery Act funds HUD has pumped into communities across the country, we made sure that nearly a third could be used for "greening" America's public and assisted housing stock.

The $6.7 million in funding awarded to green the Castle Square Apartments is part of a quarter-billion dollar effort to green HUD-assisted affordable housing across the country.

Through the Recovery Act, we are on track to provide 55,000 affordable homes with green retrofits that will save up to 40 percent in energy costs -- while another 245,000 affordable homes receive a range of energy improvements.

And the single largest deep green retrofit is right here at Castle Square, where Recovery Act funding is helping install "super" insulation around the building and on the roof.

Combined with other energy-efficient upgrades, Castle Square will require only a fraction of the energy it once needed -- and help Castle Square's families save an average of more than $430 each year in utility costs.

That's always important, but it's never been more crucial than right now, as American families are confronted by high prices at the pump.

Best of all, this retrofit is creating 200 good-paying green jobs right here in Boston. Jobs that can't be sent offshore.

Indeed, Mayor Menino and I just participated in the signing of a historic agreement to ensure jobs like these reach the people this recession has affected the most.

That partnership--and this investment--reflects a fundamental belief:

A belief that when we invest in clean energy, we invest in a new generation of professionals, ready to build, install, repair and maintain clean energy technologies -- from mechanics and electricians to plumbers and construction workers.

A belief that greening our homes is the key to the 21st century economy -- and to out-innovating our competitors.

A belief that winning the future begins right here, at home.

That's why I'm so glad to join you all today.

Now I'd like to turn things over to the man responsible for turning "Beantown to Greentown" -- Mayor Tom Menino.


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