Monday, January 12, 2009


Create green jobs and increase energy independence by training people to insulate their own homes, and their neighbors' homes.  Let the National Guard lead.

Jon Schull, Associate Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology,

Increasing energy efficiency is the shortest path to reducing energy costs, energy dependence, increasing national security, and reducing climate change.

Buildings consume 40% of the US energy budget.

Increasing energy efficiency means lower energy bills for bill-payers, but home-owners must invest now to save energy and lower costs later.  This is often psychologically difficult and, these days, economically untenable.

Insulating homes is not rocket science.  With a relatively small amount of training, do-it-yourselfers can learn how to evaluate energy-saving opportunities and select and install appropriate materials.  Then they can save money by insulating their own homes, and make money by insulating other people's homes and buildings.

So the US government and the National Guard should train people to insulate homes, subsidize material costs, and  help create green jobs, reduce energy independence, and combat global warming.

The National Guard is uniquely positioned to lead this initiative:

  • It is already spearheading sustainability efforts domestically.

  • It is already in the business of training Guardsmen and women to support national security on the homefront.

  • The Guard's trainees could immediately apply Guard-delivered training to their own homes.

  • The Guard's trainees could go on to train others, thus creating a green-collar job creation program.

  • Optionally, the Guard could further reduce costs and facilitate conversions

    • by aggregating purchases

    • negotiating reduced materials costs

    • making capital investments in equipment (trucks, insulation blowers, etc.)

And who better to receive job retraining, green jobs that can't be sent abroad, tax credits, and home improvement loans than National Guardsmen and women who lost  jobs and home improvement opportunities while serving the nation in Iraq and Afghanistan?


High energy prices demonstrably stimulate increases in energy efficiency (which is good) but they also slow down energy-addicted economies, and burden consumers with higher costs. The economic and ecological benefits of high energy costs can be maximized, and the drawbacks minimized by

  • enforcing a floor on energy costs

  • using revenues generated by that floor to kick-start a sustainable economy.


Thus, the National Guard is uniquely positioned to kickstart a sustainable economy, and a more stable and secure America.


"Investing in a home on your street could be more profitable than investing on Wall Street." --


in home energy retrofits might yield more national security and
stability benefits per dollar than anything else the National Guard
might undertake" –Jon Schull, Associate Professor, Rochester Institute
of Technology


Further Reading from the News:

Jonathan Schull is an entrepreneur, inventor, and tenured Associate Professor of Information Technology at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and an affiliate of RIT's new Golisano Institute of Sustainability.  Now in his third career, Schull is the author of twelve patents, specializes in action-oriented technology and innovation, and is currently co-chair of the task force organizing RIT's new Center for Student Innovation.

Schull obtained a B.S. in psychology from Reed College in 1975 and a Ph.D. in biological psychology from University of Pennsylvania in 1980; he was a professor of Biological Psychology at Haverford College from 1980 until 1992.  In 1992 Schull gave up tenure to start one
of the first digital rights management companies. eventually became a 75-person publicly traded company called (NASDAQ:DIGS). After the collapse of the internet bubble in 2001, Schull joined RIT, where he teaches courses on Interaction Design and Innovation and Invention, and has organized and executed a number of technology-enabled social action projects.  These include, a social action website that organized the collection and transport of winter survival gear to earthquake victims in Pakistan;, helping 20 inner city young people assemble and install a community wireless network in their troubled neightborhood; and helping General Motors assess opportunities for making the OnStar system more accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. 

Schull's Curricum Vitae can be found at