Putting a Furnace Under the Economy

If we're looking for a way to kick-start a green economy, we could do worse than investing in American-made, high-efficiency furnaces, argues Paul Loeb.
January 15, 2009, 12pm PST | Michael Dudley
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"[W]hen my furnace died during Seattle's coldest winter in decades, I needed to replace it. And when I did, with a high-efficiency Trane model made in Trenton New Jersey, the costs and gains underscored key lessons about what we need to do to craft a stimulus package that actually builds for America's future.

Let's look at what my $5,000 purchased. It supported Trane's factory workers in New Jersey and in their main plant in Tyler, Texas, supported local Seattle installers, and supported beleaguered New Jersey, Texas, and Washington state and city governments through the sales tax I paid and the taxes paid by the companies involved. In my personal economy, it meant I'll save more than a third of my yearly gas bill and a commensurate amount of my CO2 emissions.

I'm not saying high-efficiency furnaces solve all our economic or environmental challenges. But adding a high-efficiency furnace...takes us part of the way--and if the furnaces are American-made, does so while keeping money in our domestic economy. If we could replace every furnace older than 10 years with a high-efficiency model, and mandate the same in new construction, we'd come out far ahead."

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Published on Wednesday, January 14, 2009 in CommonDreams
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