Citi takes energy efficiency all the way to the bankGrist, April 6, 2014
Disclosure: I used to crawl under trailers in poor parts of Western Colorado in a suit made from air-mail envelope material. I wasn’t being a weirdo, at least not intentionally. I had a job as a “weatherization technician,” making these homes more energy efficient, working for the government’s catastrophically acronymed LIHEAP program (for Low Income Household Energy Assistance Program, but still, guys, come on). It was hard work. We had little funding. And the program is now defunct. And yet, that very work is exactly what we ought to be undertaking at huge scale to help solve climate change.
Well, 20 years after I worked those trenches, I have some good news to deliver. Quietly, in the recesses of the financial machine, we’ve begun to do just that. Few know about it. But you should.
Before I reveal this great leap forward, let’s take a step back 20-plus years, to the job I had just before “weatherization technician.” Right out of college I started working for a firm, now defunct, called IRT Environment, a spinoff of Rocky Mountain Institute. The vision of IRT was to show companies just how much money they could save by increasing their energy efficiency. When I showed up to work, the boss explained the deal: “You can get 8 percent, 12 percent, sometimes 30 percent guaranteed from energy efficiency retrofits. Where else can you invest your money, without risk, and get that kind of return?”