WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., today introduced the High-Performance Green Building Act of 2006 to authorize the use of $50 million over five years to encourage the development and use of energy-efficient, environmentally sound, and safe “green buildings.” The High-Performance Green Building Act of 2006 is cosponsored by Senators Snowe, Lautenberg, Chafee, Boxer, Feinstein, Clinton, Lieberman, and Obama. This bipartisan legislation codifies existing federal green building initiatives, including those outlined in Memorandums of Understanding and Executive Orders, and enhances ongoing federal green building programs. This bill requires the federal government to establish green building standards for all federal facilities. The legislation also improves federal coordination and leadership related to the use of green buildings; expands research and development of green building technology; increases public outreach regarding green building activities inside and outside of the federal government; reviews the current budget structure and approval process for government projects; and encourages schools to improve the environmental conditions of their facilities. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings in the United States account for 39 percent of total energy use, 70 percent of electricity consumption, 38.1 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and 30 percent of raw material use. Much of the authorized funding in the bill will be directed toward the General Services Administration (GSA), which, as the largest civilian landlord in the United States with over 8,900 buildings in its inventory, is a natural place to spearhead efforts to increase the use of green building technology. “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,” said Jeffords, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Increasing the use of available green building technology and investing in new technology makes sense, both economically and environmentally. I am proud that Vermont entrepreneurs and researchers, including those at University of Vermont, have often led the way in this important field.” Specifically, the High-Performance Green Building Act of 2006, among other things, would: - Require the Director of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to issue regulations, within two years of enactment of the bill, which set environmental and efficiency standards for all government-procured buildings, whether they are bought, built, or leased. - Authorize $20 million over five years for an Office of High-Performance Green Buildings at the 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 five 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. Jeffords has received letters of support for the bill from the American Institute of Architects, the Healthy Schools Network, and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute. The High-Performance Green Building Act of 2006 is an updated version, with some new provisions, of legislation Jeffords introduced in the 108th Congress. Please click here for a copy of the bill.