stimulus green jobs createdDespite the rhetoric, the numbers show that green stimulus investments are among the most cost-effective ways to spend the Recovery Act dollars and create jobs.

by Shari Shapiro, associate with Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP. View her blog on legal issues related to Green Building, available at

I have been tracking the green stimulus spending since June 2009. In November 2009, actual dollars spent on green projects was $1.5 billion. Now, in November 2010, dollars actually paid to date on green projects is approximately $11 billion.  It amounts to approximately 7% of contract spending from the Stimulus bill (which does not include tax benefits), and 2.6% of the total stimulus money paid to date.

By agency, the spending on green breaks out as follows:

Allocated Paid Out Unit % Paid
DOE 33.29 9.4 Billion 28.24%
Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy 16.50 4 Billion 26.06%
EPA (9/30) 7.20 4 Billion 62.22%
GSA 6.10 1.42 Billion 23.28%
Green Buildings 5.50 1 Billion 18.18%
DOT 40.40 22.3 Billion 55.20%
High Speed Rail 3.00 1 Billion 33.33%
Total Agency 86.99 38 Billion 43.22%
Total Green 32.20 11 Billion 33.48%
Total Contract Spending 275.00 156.7 Billion 56.98%
Total Stimulus 787.00 403.4 Billion 51.26%
% Green of Contract Spending 11.71% 6.88%
% Green of Total Stimulus 4.09% 2.67%
[I used the same methodology as described in detail in my post, How Green Is Your Stimulus–Year End Check In On Green Spending Under The ARRA. If you are a data geek like me, you can do your own number crunching at and the agency recovery sites who do weekly reporting in Excel on the allocation and spending of the Stimulus money.  There is a wealth of information available, and I welcome any input or different statistical or mathematical analyses from the Green Building Law Community.]

At the initiation of the Stimulus, Obama touted the green components of the stimulus bill.  He has also been very positive on the prospect of green jobs. Opponents of the stimulus bill, and waning support of green initiatives and green jobs in general, has been on the rise.

So the question becomes: what is the value of the 3% of the Stimulus that went to green iniatives, and was the return on investment higher or lower than the other initiatives that were funded by the stimulus.  The answer is yes.  Agencies tasked with green funding (DOE, EPA, GSA) hold 3 of the top 10 most efficient job creating agencies that were allocated stimulus funding:

Stimulus Funds Paid Jobs Created Dollars Per Job
Department of Justice $2,013,343,173 16330.59 $123,286.62
National Science Foundation $817,277,981 5503.36 $148,505.27
Department of the Interior $1,545,986,174 10047.13 $153,873.41
Department of Education $66,652,472,918 341668.74 $195,079.22
Department of Energy $9,691,290,357 42262.17 $229,313.60
General Services Administration $1,493,185,840 5773.82 $258,613.16
Department of Housing and Urban Development $7,270,460,291 27640.01 $263,041.16
Department of Homeland Security $598,741,846 2137.91 $280,059.43
Environmental Protection Agency $4,608,982,170 16233.68 $283,914.81

By contrast, the two departments which spent the most money, the Department of the Treasury (tax cuts) and the Social Security Administration only created 188 direct jobs.

Department of the Treasury $8,575,280,379 144.27 $59,439,109.86
Social Security Administration $13,727,406,290

It will be argued that the tax cuts, etc. indirectly created jobs by pumping more money into the economy.  But there is a direct way to measure the impact of a single green dollar.  To address this, I looked at the statistics for the GSA.  Unlike other agencies which allocate money through states to programs or disperse it to individual taxpayers, the GSA contracts directly with builders and other direct contract fund recipients to build or renovate federal buildings.

As of September 30, 2010, the GSA had saved or created 5773.82 jobs (how you have .82 of a job I can’t say). The stat is here. The GSA was 16th in the agencies recieving funding, and the12th net job creating agency.  But on a job per dollar basis, the GSA the 6th most efficient job creating agency at $258,613.16 per job created.

Do not fall into this statistical trap “$258k per job? We could have created five $50k jobs for that money!”  Remember, this dollars per job includes materials and costs of the jobs involved (bricks, mortar, etc.), which also have downstream job creating effects (brick makers, concrete haulers, etc.).

Note From The Editor: Check out Shari’s Greenbuild interview with Kevin Kampschroer, the Director of the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings at GSA.  In it, Kampschroer gives insight into not only into the GSA’s experience with the Stimulus spending, but also on the long term impacts the Stimulus spending had on the operation of the GSA itself.

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© 2010, Shari Shapiro. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Shari Shapiro (3 Articles)

Shari Shapiro is an associate with Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP. She is a member of the Environmental Department. Ms. Shapiro is a LEED Accredited Professional. Ms. Shapiro focuses her practice on green building law, which includes sustainable project financing, regulatory drafting, land use approvals, contracts, and conflict resolution. Ms. Shapiro is the Sustainability Coordinator for Obermayer’s Sustainability Initiative. Ms. Shapiro maintains a blog on legal issues related to Green Building, available at Ms. Shapiro is on the Board of Directors of the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, and the Legal Advisory Board for the United States Green Building Counsel. Ms. Shapiro was named a 2009 “Lawyer on the Fast Track” by the Legal Intelligencer.