First, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the keynote speaker, made two points of interest to NEMA members involved in high performance buildings: He sees energy efficiency work as low-hanging fruit that should keep us busy for decades, and constructing high performance buildings isnt low-hanging fruit — it's fruit that is "lying on the ground." The report also said that Chu is planning to ramp up the ENERGY STAR program to designate some products in the near future as Energy Superstars.
Next, Rep. Henry Waxman, chair of the House Energy Committee, announced he plans to get a bill out by Memorial Day that "takes care of energy efficiency and green on into future," probably imposes a cap-and-trade system on industry, and provides new incentives to do more with energy efficiency and alternative energy.
Finally, Stephen Cowell, the CEO of CSG, cautioned the attendees that retrofitting buildings with stimulus dollars will take a lot of work — including entrepreneurship, planning, logistics, and training. As the report noted, Cowell wasn't trying to rain on anyone's parade — he was giving a realistic assessment that it would take a lot of dedication to get the biggest bang out of those federal bucks.