What Washington's “Green” Schools Tell Us about HB 2334's $3 Billion Spending Plan
In an effort to promote “green” jobs and to encourage energy savings in schools, universities and public buildings, the legislature is considering HB 2334, which would send a $3 billion bond proposal to voters this fall. The money would fund projects designed to save energy, as well as improve health and safety in public buildings. Supporters claim the bill would create 90,000 new jobs in 2010-11. Funding to repay the bonds would come in part from expected energy savings.
Washington state already has experience with similar efforts to spend taxpayer money to improve the energy efficiency of schools. In 2005, the legislature passed the “High Performance Buildings” law requiring schools to purchase energy efficient equipment. That experience is instructive in the difficulty of spending taxpayer money wisely and achieving the predicted energy savings. The High Performance Buildings law demonstrates a great deal about the cost-effectiveness of those investments.