For Immediate Release Contact: Peter Rafle
March 28, 2007 (202) 228-3102 direct, (202) 302-7086 cell

Environment and Public Works Committee Leaders Introduce “Public Buildings Cost Reduction Act of 2007”
Nine Senators Join In Bipartisan Bill To Make Federal and Municipal Buildings More Efficient

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, have introduced “The Public Buildings Cost Reduction Act of 2007”(S. 992), which would accelerate efforts to improve the energy efficiency of federal buildings managed by the General Services Administration. Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Joseph Lieberman (ID-Conn.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Larry Craig (R-Idaho) are also original co-sponsors of the bill.

Senator Boxer said: “Our government must lead by example. It is amazing that a few simple steps, like replacing old light bulbs and fixtures, installing better insulation, and upgrading inefficient heating and air conditioning units, can have huge benefits. We can reduce air emissions, cut energy use, and save taxpayers a lot of money, all at the same time. It’s just common sense. Like many of the solutions to global warming, the remedy is good for us.”

“We worked in a bipartisan way to craft this bill with the Ranking Member, the White House, and federal agencies. I am proud that we have been able to put together a bipartisan bill that will move us forward on this important issue.”

In a March 27 letter [SEE LINK BELOW] to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the committee, White House Council on Environmental Quality chairman James Connaughton wrote “This bill … encompasses and promotes a concept that is important to all – increased efficiency. This increased efficiency will save taxpayer dollars, conserve energy, reduce greenhouse gases, and provide for cleaner air.”

Buildings contribute 38% of the carbon dioxide pollution that causes global warming. S. 992 would require the GSA to establish a program to speed the use of cost-effective and energy-efficient technology and practices in many of the more than 8,000 buildings it owns or leases across the country. Among the efficiency-boosting measures that could be undertaken are improvements in building insulation, updating heating and cooling systems, and installation of energy efficient lights. The bill would also establish a grant program to provide up to $20 million each year in matching grants of up to $1 million each to help counties and municipalities increase the efficiency of their own buildings with new technology and by planting vegetation to increase shade and reduce energy use.