The U.S. Green Building Council last week commended the House of Representatives for passing landmark energy and climate legislation that includes several significant provisions to incentivize and accelerate the benefits of green building across the country.
“From programs that would generate billions of dollars to spur and scale green retrofitting of our existing building stock to inclusion of the GREEN Act, which would create new opportunities for green affordable housing, this bill recognizes that green building is a major part of the solution to our economic and energy challenges,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO & founding chair, USGBC. “With this federal commitment, green building can help propel the new green economy by creating enormous energy and cost savings for millions of Americans while accelerating unprecedented job creation.”
The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 includes several initiatives or provisions supported by or developed in consultation with USGBC, including:
• The Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program, which supports the creation of retrofitting initiatives throughout the country for residential and nonresidential buildings that may offer a variety of incentives, including credit enhancements, interest rate subsidies, and initial capital for public revolving loan funds.
• The GREEN (Green Resources for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods) Act (H.R. 2336), which provides incentives to lenders and financial institutions to provide lower interest loans and other benefits to consumers who build, buy or remodel their homes in ways that improve energy efficiency. The bill also increases energy efficiency standards for Department of Housing and Urban Development owned and assisted housing.
• The Building Energy Performance Labeling Program, which directs the Environmental Protection Agency to create model building energy performance labels for new construction, establishing a meaningful and consistent basis for evaluating the energy performance of residential and commercial buildings.
• EPA’s WaterSense program, which receives permanent authorization to designate products as water efficient, as well as funding for state incentive programs for use of water-efficient products.
• Extension of power purchasing authority for federal agencies, which allows the federal government to enter contracts for the purchase of renewable power for a period of up to 20 years.
Green building is critical to the nation’s future economy, energy security, and environment — buildings account for 40 percent of U.S. energy consumption, 39 percent of CO2 emissions, and 13 percent of water consumption. Greater building efficiency can meet 85 percent of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.
To view USGBC’s summary of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, visit www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=6070.
Washington, D.C.-based USGBC is committed cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 78 local affiliates, more than 20,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 100,000 LEED Accredited Professionals, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to reach $60 billion by 2010.