American vice-
president Joe Biden
 
Washington DC, USA — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 10 November 2010 – American vice-president Joe Biden is to announce a series of initiatives aimed at helping middle-income Americans make their homes more energy-efficient, and at boosting job growth among home retrofitters.

Reuters reports that the goal of the measures is two-fold “’ to help Americans keep down energy costs, while at the same time laying the groundwork for a larger home energy efficiency industry.

“Together, these programmes will grow the home retrofit industry and help middle-class families save money and energy,” says Biden.

President Barack Obama, under pressure to reduce the stubbornly high 9.6% jobless rate, hopes the energy efficiency business and green technologies will be a future source of strong job growth. The initiatives include a new loan programme from the Federal Housing Administration through which Americans can get federally insured loans from private lenders to pay for home energy improvements.

Homeowners under the initiative will be able to borrow money for as long as 20 years for the projects, the vice president’s office said. It will begin as a two-year pilot program.

Biden will also announce an Energy Department proposal to create a uniform set of guidelines for workers in the retrofitting industry.