Proposed Legislation Would Authorize $50 Million Over 5 Years to Encourage Green Buildings

Aug. 29, 2006
Two senators join efforts on bipartisan legislation

“The federal government must lead the way in encouraging the construction and use of safe and efficient buildings. We owe it to our federal workforce and our taxpayers,” says Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT), the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Jeffords, joined by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), is introducing bipartisan legislation that would authorize $50 million over the next 5 years to encourage the development and use of energy-efficient, environmentally sound, and safe green buildings.

According to Jeffords: “Increasing the use of readily available green building technology and investing in the development of new technology makes sense
- both economically and environmentally.” The High-Performance Green Building Act of 2006 will mandate that the federal government create and adopt green building standards for all federal facilities.

Feinstein explains: “Safe, energy efficient buildings can be an important part of a comprehensive global warming agenda. This bill will save electricity consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and streamline existing federal regulations. It is a good first step.” In a release issued in June, Feinstein reports that the High-Performance Green Building Act of 2006 would:

*   Require the director of the office of federal procurement policy to issue regulations (within 2 years of enactment of the bill) and set environmental and efficiency standards for all government-procured buildings, whether they are bought, built, or leased.

*   Authorize $20 million over 5 years for an Office of High-Performance Green Buildings at the General Services Administration (GSA) to oversee the efforts of agencies within the government to construct and use green buildings.

*   Create a Green Building Advisory Committee to advise the GSA on intergovernmental coordination, the implementation of law, and emerging technology related to green buildings.

*   Expand existing research and development of green building technology.

*   Require a review of the current budget structure to address barriers to implementing green building initiatives and identify methods to more accurately analyze the cost of acquiring, constructing, and using green buildings.

*   Authorize the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to award a total of $10 million over 5 years in grants to states and local educational agencies to better utilize existing EPA programs and to assist schools in developing environmental quality plans. The bill also requires federal guidelines for states to use when selecting a potential site for a future school facility.

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