USGBC Highlights the Potential for Greening Existing Buildings in Proposed Stimulus

USGBC Highlights the Potential for Greening Existing Buildings in Proposed Stimulus

As the proposed stimulus package headed for debate in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Green Building Council underscored the promise the legislation holds for greening existing buildings and creating new jobs for the battered economy — and urged members to heed the opportunity.

"The Obama Administration's economic recovery plan includes many important provisions for green building, green schools, and energy efficiency for existing buildings that will be of great importance to our community," Michelle Moore, the USGBC's senior vice president of Policy & Public Affairs, wrote to members in an announcement posted on the council's site last week. "This investment in our nation's built environment will not only stimulate renewed activity, it will bear further fruit measured in energy savings, cost savings, and new green jobs.

"You –– as organizational leaders in the green building movement, and as individual professionals –– will be needed to make sure that the tremendous potential of the 'green strings' attached to billions of dollars in federal investments fulfill their promise. The professional capacity of our community that has been built around new construction will need to be refocused on our existing buildings so that initiatives like the Obama Administration's commitment to retrofit 75 percent of all federal buildings will serve as an exceptional business case and build momentum to drive the market forward."

Moore's message accompanied an update of the organization's efforts to advance the cause of green building with new administration. The update, which follows a message posted in mid-January, recapped some of the key green building provisions in stimulus proposals.

Both the House and Senate proposed recovery plans include provisions for:
• Green schools by providing billions of dollars for modernization of K-12 and higher education facilities, with preferences or requirements for green improvement projects.
• Green federal buildings by including several billion dollars for the General Services Administration's Federal Buildings Fund, with green or energy efficiency requirements for funded facility projects.
• Weatherization assistance with billions going toward the expansion of the Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program, which helps improve the energy efficiency of homes for low-income families.
• Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants for states, municipalities and tribes.
• Public housing improvments that would include priority for energy efficiency incentives and projects.
• Green job training for jobs in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors.

The USGBC bulletin and the message from Moore are available here.