Issues & AdvocacyFederal
Don’t Let Congress Turn Its Back on Sustainability
But efforts in Congress might put that to an end. Proposed Senate legislation would gut, or even eliminate, this important measure. The result would be a significant retreat in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stifling innovation and wasting more taxpayer dollars on energy costs.
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The Honorable Ron Wyden
221 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Lisa Murkowski
709 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Murkowski:
The undersigned associations and companies write in opposition to efforts to weaken or eliminate energy efficiency performance standards for federal buildings.
According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, the building sector accounts for 39 percent of total U.S. energy consumption, more than both the transportation and industry sectors. The same study found that buildings are responsible for 71 percent of U.S. electricity consumption and that buildings in the United States alone account for 9.8 percent of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.
Requiring significant energy reduction targets in new and majorly renovated federal buildings demonstrates to the private sector that the federal government is leading by example. It is helping spur the development of new materials, construction techniques, and technologies to make buildings more energy efficient. And it is showing that significant energy reductions are both practical and cost-effective.
We are concerned, however, that proposals may be put forth in the Senate that would stifle this progress by preventing the Department of Energy from implementing a provision from the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that requires federal buildings be designed to reduce their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Stakeholders from varying industries have been working with DOE to implement this rule in a way that is smart, efficient, and effective.
Some have argued that these requirements, in Sec. 433(a) of the 2007 law, are not achievable, but the facts tell a different story. Building professionals are already succeeding in making federal facilities meet sustainability targets, including the retrofit of the Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building in Grand Junction, CO, which will be the GSA’s first site net-zero energy building on the National Register of Historic Places. The result is better energy performance for federal agencies and lower overall costs for taxpayers. More importantly, private sector owners are increasingly adopting these technologies and strategies for their buildings.
Weakening or repealing federal building energy policies will dramatically harm the federal government’s ability to design and build facilities that use less energy, save taxpayers money, and protect the environment. Therefore, we urge you to oppose efforts to weaken the energy consumption and GHG emission requirements of EISA Sec. 433(a) and other important energy-saving policies.