Congress Should Act on Host of Green Jobs Legislation
Contact: John Schneidawind
For immediate release:
Washington, D.C. – May 4, 2010 – With buildings and their construction accounting for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumed in this country, architects play an indispensable role in making major contributions to America’s economic and environmental security, American Institute of Architects (AIA) president George H. Miller, FAIA, today told attendees here at the “Good Jobs, Green Jobs” 2010 National Conference.
“Bills have been introduced this Congressional session that command broad bipartisan support and could help create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the design and construction industries—and go a long way toward curbing energy use,” Miller said. “Our industry has the will to make that contribution. What we need are the tools.”
Miller ticked off several pieces of legislation that are proceeding through various stages of the legislative process:
- S. 3079, introduced by Senators Jeff Merkley and Mark Pryor would create a new federal program known as Building Star. Under this program, building owners could receive rebates and low-cost financing options for energy-efficient renovation in existing buildings. The AIA estimates this bill would help create 25,000 jobs this year alone for every $1 billion of federal investment; and 150,000 jobs with a $6 billion investment.
- House bill 2336, the GREEN Act, introduced by Representatives Ed Perlmutter and Judy Biggert, provides incentives to lenders and financial institutions to offer lower interest loans and other benefits to consumers who build, buy, or remodel their homes to make them more energy-efficient. The AIA estimates that 140,000 would be created annually in the building industry if this bill passed.
- House bill 2187, the 21st-Century Green High Performing Public School Facilities Act, passed by the House in May 2009, sponsored by Representatives George Miller (no relation) and Ben Chandler, would provide $6.4 billion in grants for states and local government to modernize school buildings, especially for the neediest students. The AIA estimates 100,000 jobs would be preserved or created by the passage of this bill.
- Representative Steve Israel has legislation that would allow Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantees to support state Property Assessed Clean Energy or “PACE” bond initiatives. Representative Mike Thompson has introduced legislation that amends the Internal Revenue Cole to allow a tax exemption of the interest on bonds (like PACE bonds) issued to finance renewable energy resource facilities, conservation and efficiency facilities and projects, and zero emission vehicles and related facilities or projects.
On another front, more than 80 organizations led by the AIA and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association have renewed their call to support increasing the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction to help stimulate immediate job creation.
“You get the sense from hearing this, that the Congress and the nation with it are straining against the leash, eager to take action that will create new, green jobs; increase our nation’s security by lessening our dependence on imported energy, much of it from unstable areas of the world; and provide stewardship of the only home we have—Planet Earth,” Miller concluded.
The Conference includes more than 100 workshops on topics ranging from green manufacturing to transportation to business, investments and new markets. In addition, May 5th is the Green Innovation Expo, where labor, industry, environment and academia will showcase efforts to grow the green economy and develop clean energy jobs. www.greenjobsconference.org
About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. By using sustainable design practices, materials, and techniques, AIA architects are uniquely poised to provide the leadership and guidance needed to provide solutions to address climate change. AIA architects walk the walk on sustainable design. Visit www.aia.org