Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will unveil legislation on Thursday that provides $180 billion over 10 years to cut carbon dioxide emissions from public housing across the country.
The bill is the latest effort by the Democrats to bring Green New Deal policies into housing policy. The legislation would retrofit 1 million units of federally owned housing and provide funding to add solar panels and secure renewable energy resources for all public housing.
“Faced with the global crisis of climate change, the United States must lead the world in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energy,” Sanders said in a statement.
“But let us be clear: as Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez understands, the Green New Deal is not just about climate change,” he said. “It is an economic plan to create millions of good-paying jobs, strengthen our infrastructure, and invest in our country’s frontline and vulnerable communities.”
The legislation would create new grant programs through state partnerships to transition housing units to zero-carbon, energy efficient housing. The move would potentially create nearly 250,000 union jobs each year in the U.S. and cut carbon emissions on the scale of taking 1.2 million cars off the road over a 10-year period, according to the press release.
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a front runner in the Democratic primary election, is one of the co-sponsors of the legislation.
Roughly 40% of total U.S. energy consumption comes from residential and commercial buildings. The legislation could reduce public housing costs by $97 million per year and cut energy costs by $613 million. It would also impose labor and “Buy America” requirements for construction.