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There’s a weekly address from our new president (you can check that out here) – but I wanted to pull out some of what might be interesting for the makers (and the soon-to-be makers out there). Post up in the comments about what you think individuals can do, what companies can do and what “we” can do as some of these proposals get approved – a reminder, we’re not a political site, keep it on topic, constructive and solutions-based, thanks gang. The largest weatherization program in history seems very “DIY” to me, modernizing 75% of federal buildings and two million homes – have you weatherized your home? Oddly enough, I saw that Home Depot’s twitter account had this suggestion a few weeks ago…

To accelerate the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double our capacity to generate alternative sources of energy like wind, solar, and biofuels over the next three years. We’ll begin to build a new electricity grid that lay down more than 3,000 miles of transmission lines to convey this new energy from coast to coast. We’ll save taxpayers $2 billion a year by making 75% of federal buildings more energy efficient, and save the average working family $350 on their energy bills by weatherizing 2.5 million homes.

Finally, we will rebuild and retrofit America to meet the demands of the 21st century. That means repairing and modernizing thousands of miles of America’s roadways and providing new mass transit options for millions of Americans. It means protecting America by securing 90 major ports and creating a better communications network for local law enforcement and public safety officials in the event of an emergency. And it means expanding broadband access to millions of Americans, so business can compete on a level-playing field, wherever they’re located.

And from the “The American Reinvestment and Recovery Plan – By the Numbers” PDF

Spurring a Clean Energy Economy

  • Doubling renewable energy generating capacity over three years. It took 30 years for our nation to reach its current level of renewable generating capacity – the recovery and reinvestment plan will double that level over the next three years. That increase in capacity is enough to power 6 million American homes.
  • Jump-starting the transformation to a bigger, better, smarter grid. The upfront investments and reforms in modernizing our nation’s electricity grid will result in more than 3,000 miles of new or modernized transmission lines and 40 million “Smart Meters” in American homes.
  • Weatherizing at least two million homes to save low-income families on average $350 per year and modernizing more than 75% of federal building space, saving taxpayers $2 billion per year in lower federal energy bills. Today, the federal government is the world’s largest consumer of energy. The recovery and reinvestment plan will make an historic investment in upgrading the federal building stock that will save taxpayer dollars and help catalyze a green building industry.
  • Launching a Clean Energy Finance Initiative to leverage $100 billion in private sector clean energy investments over three years. The finance authority will provide loan  guarantees and other financial support to help ease credit constraints for renewable energy investors and catalyze new private sector investment over the next three years.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. TheOneEyedMan says:

    Any investment project run by the government would inevitably require some money spent on administration and policy restrictions to keep me from making what I’d like. Refunding some of my taxes provides me the unrestricted means to make whatever I want with the proceeds.

  2. Phillip Torrone says:

    @TheOneEyedMan – do you think there are going to be tax refunds for you this year? there are a lot of proposals and promised that may/may not happen, but assuming they do – will that give you what you need to make? what things are holding you back now? what things do you need to buy?

  3. TheOneEyedMan says:

    Yes, there are going to be tax cuts this year. It seems that part of the Obama stimulus proposal is hundreds of billions in temporary tax cuts. It will probabblly bee in some sort of temporary FICA (social security) relief, which could be a substantial cut for the working poor.

    I’m not sure what I’m going to make or hack in this coming year. But I know I won’t be winterizing my apartment or building a windmill, my projects are small potatoes.

  4. Grant Muller says:

    The stuff listed above is really a small piece of the pie compared to the rest of the bill, which is distinctly “not maker friendly”. Here is a link to the full proposal:

    http://www.rules.house.gov/111/LegText/111_hr1_text.pdf

    Sorry, but even if I supported the stuff mentioned in the article, I couldn’t support the full bill just to get it.

  5. Phillip Torrone says:

    @grant, can you give some specific examples… i looked through it and things like this don’t seem “anti-maker” for americans… the 647 pages, i’m sure there a bit of everything in there…

    SEC. 1110. USE OF AMERICAN IRON AND STEEL.
    (a) INGENERAL.—None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for a project for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of a public building or public work unless all of the iron and steel used in the project is produced in the United States.

  6. Grant Muller says:

    I guess the “not maker friendly” may be a bit over the top, “inconsequential to the maker” or “philosophically non-maker” may be more appropriate. Modernizing the social security IT system (page 198) is not a priority for me as a maker, for instance.

    In Section 9301 (long section) it states that the funds may not be used for new facilities. What if the cost of modernizing/weatherizing a very old facility is MORE than demolition and reconstruction? This is especially true with public schools that have trailers due to over population.

    Granting funds to Amtrak to keep an obsolete business afloat when those dollars could go back to businesses under R&D to develop newer, better rail systems (pg 212). Better yet, reduce the tax burden on companies researching the problem of mass transit.

    The public housing rehabilitation section is odd, and gives priority to vacant units. Why? I would think the occupied units would be better served with an energy efficient upgrade rather than the vacant ones, since they’re the ones using energy. What’s the agenda?

    My problem with the bill is still that there IS a lot of everything in there. I have only been through the first couple hundred pages. There are parts that are just fine, and there are parts that don’t make any sense to me. Instead of cramming it all into one bill, piecemeal it. Order from the menu instead of buying the buffet. And most of all, stop framing it as an economic stimulus package (this is not directed to you Phillip, but the media that is portraying it as such).

    In a broader sense I believe being a maker means more to me than just making things, it means making your own way, making your own solutions, and making a way to do it. Throwing money in every direction may not inspire the most cost-effective solutions, especially when there are so many stipulations to how the money is spent. The horrible quote “Poverty is the great motivator” may be applicable here.

  7. chris says:

    For me, a lot of the maker spirit is not being afraid to invest in projects. I know I’ve been holding back due to economic fears. I don’t have that second arduino or spare breadboards because if I lose my job I’ll need that money for food and rent.

    I really like what Grant has to say, “I believe being a maker means more to me than just making things, it means making your own way, making your own solutions, and making a way to do it.” It’s so true, being a maker is all about the way you approach life. If something is broken, our first instinct should not be to throw it away, but to figure out why and how to fix it.