In February, President Barack Obama introduced an energy security proposal that could have vast implications for the building industry.
The Better Buildings Initiative aims to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings by 20 percent by 2020, reduce energy bills by $40 billion per year through energy efficient improvements and create a series of new tax incentives while offering grants to the private sector.
Last week, Clark Manus, FAIA, president of the American Institute of Architects, reiterated the organization’s support of President Obama’s proposal by laying its five most important energy conservation legislative priorities:
- Strengthening the commercial building energy efficiency tax deduction. The AIA supports increasing the value of the deduction, an increase that was included in bipartisan legislation in 2010, or by turning it into a tax credit as proposed by the Obama administration.
- Passing a long-term transportation bill that empowers communities to plan in ways that reduce energy-wasting congestion and promote livable, walkable neighborhoods.
- Passing the bipartisan America’s Clean Energy Leadership Act approved in 2009 by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which promotes stronger energy building codes and building retrofits.
- Restoring funding for government building energy retrofits that was cut in the most recent continuing resolution.
- Passing legislation to allow states and localities to use PACE bonds. The proceeds from such municipal bonds are lent to property owners to finance energy efficiency measures and small renewable energy systems. The owners repay their loans over a 20-year term via an annual assessment on their property tax bill.
We’re curious – which of AIA’s priorities would be most beneficial to your community and work?