Issues & AdvocacyFederal
WHERE THEY STAND:
THE CANDIDATES ON THE ISSUES
ENERGY AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
By Andrew Goldberg, Managing Director, Government Relations & Outreach
Energy efficiency in the built environment not only reduces our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and lowers energy bills for all Americans; it also creates jobs. Keeping in mind that every $1 million invested in the design and construction of buildings yields 28.5 full-time jobs, energy efficient projects are key to stimulating the design and construction industry. With buildings and their use accounting for nearly 70 percent of electricity use in the U.S., providing incentives for energy-efficient design and construction is an effective strategy to encourage building owners to undertake renovations, leading to job creation across the industry.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
OBAMA. The Democratic Party’s 2012 platform states, “Democrats support making America the world’s leader in building a clean energy economy by extending clean energy incentives that support American businesses and American jobs in communities across the country.” According to the platform, “It’s not enough to invent clean energy technologies here; we want to make them here and sell them around the world. We can further cut our reliance on oil with increased energy efficiency in buildings, industry, and homes, and through the promotion of advanced vehicles, fuel economy standards, and the greater use of natural gas in transportation.”
ROMNEY. The Republican Party’s 2012 platform and Gov. Romney’s recently released white paper on energy policy do not directly mention energy as it relates to the built environment. However, the platform states that the Party commits to American energy independence and security, and will “[i]mplement measured reforms of environmental statutes and regulations to strengthen environmental protection without destroying jobs, paralyzing industry, or barring the use of resources like coal.”
THE AIA’S TAKE
According to its Public Policies and Position Statements, “[t]he AIA supports governmental policies, programs, and incentives to encourage energy conservation as it relates to the built environment as well as aggressive development and harvesting of energy from renewable sources. Architects are encouraged to promote energy efficiency and waste reduction in the built environment, encourage energy-conscious design and technology, plus support a national program for more efficient use and recycling of non-renewable resources and carbon-neutral design strategies.”
The federal government has the ability to encourage energy-efficient practices in the private sector. Congress demonstrated this in 2005 by creating the Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction, or 179D, which allows building owners to claim a deduction of $1.80 per square foot of building area to install systems that reduce the total energy and power costs by 50 percent or more when compared with a reference building. The AIA has led a coalition that supports legislation to increase the value of the deduction to $3.00 per square foot and to make technical changes that will enable more small business owners to take advantage of the deduction and reduce energy costs.
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Government & Community Relations Archive:
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