WASHINGTON, DC - The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today passed the High-Performance Green Buildings Act of 2006, clearing the bill for consideration by the full Senate. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., authorizes $25 million over five years to develop environmentally-friendly “green buildings.”
The bill’s main components include:
· Creation of an Office of High-Performance Green Buildings within the General Services Administration to coordinate green building activity within federal agencies, including research on the health and environmental benefits of green buildings. Authorizes $3 million annually for five years to be appropriated for the office.
· Provision for the Environmental Protection Agency to award grants (totaling $5 million over five years) for states to assist schools in addressing their environmental concerns.
· Incentives for green building activities, required issuance of regulations to build green, and a scorecard to measure the performance of each agency on green building initiatives.
· A demonstration project in the state of Vermont, where a green building would achieve a “platinum rating,” as defined by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. Includes authorization of appropriations for the project at $5 million over five years.
“The federal government should lead by example and set a standard of environmental efficiency for others to follow,” said Jeffords, the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “Research has shown the significant economic and environmental value of green buildings, and this bill acts on what we have learned.”
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings in the United States account for 70 percent of electricity consumption, 38 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and 30 percent of raw material use. The High-Performance Green Buildings Act will seek to lower those numbers with green building technology.