The U.S. Green Building Council last week applauded a key element of President Obama’s plan to “win the future” by making America’s commercial buildings more energy- and resource-efficient over the next decade. The President’s plan, entitled “Better Buildings Initiative,” catalyzes private-sector investment through a series of incentives to upgrade offices, stores, schools and universities, hospitals and other commercial and municipal buildings.
“For all of those committed to the idea that green buildings can create jobs, save energy and save money, this is a great day, and the entire green building movement is incredibly grateful for President Obama’s leadership in this critical step forward for America,” said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC president, CEO and founding chair. “It is major steps like these that are necessary to address the challenges facing our environment.
“We know that green buildings can and should be front and center of any credible jobs creation program. The jobs supported by the green building industry can’t be outsourced, and they are jobs that frequently can build on skills learned in the manufacturing sector.”
“The 5 million+ commercial buildings and the 120 million existing homes in the U.S. today are, by and large, squandering away precious energy and resources. With policies like the one introduced by the President today, our homes, hospitals, schools and offices can be turned into structures that will lessen our dependence on fossil fuel, increasing national security,” said Jason Hartke, vice president of National Policy.
With a community comprising 79 local affiliates, 16,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 157,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013. USGBC leads a diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, business and industry leaders, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students.
Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39 percent of CO2 emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption, 13 percent water consumption and 15 percent of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity, according to USGBC. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.