Letter: Energy innovation effort has Berkshire roots
The Jan. 6 article about President Obama's economic legacy was accompanied by a photo showing him speaking at a Home Depot in Virginia. This picture ties to a string of history and innovation that stretches back more than 35 years to the Berkshires.
I helped organize the event with the White House and with Home Depot CEO Frank Blake to announce proposed Home Star legislation. I was responsible for drafting the proposal, an expansion of the stimulus bill's energy efficiency component that I worked with then-Congressman Ed Markey to enact.
Home Star's core components were based on the very successful Mass SAVE program that was managed by my company, Conservation Services Group beginning in 1984. Another Berkshire County connection is that the basic design of the current Mass Save program developed at a 1980 meeting hosted at Canterberry Farm in Becket by our close allies and partners, Center for Ecological Technology (now Center for EcoTechnology).
Ideas from that meeting became the core concepts that evolved to a new program design for Mass SAVE, then energy legislation in Massachusetts, then the National "stimulus" legislation and finally the proposed Home Star legislation. Endorsed by the president, Home Star was passed by the House but failed in the Senate when Scott Brown was elected and Democrats lost their 60-vote majority.
Residential energy efficiency and the Mass SAVE program have produced more jobs in Massachusetts than any other energy initiative and propelled our strong economic recovery from the recession. The Berkshires should be proud that good ideas that can start here and have a positive impact over decades. We are not done yet, much more to do!
The writer is president of E4TheFuture
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