It’s clear that the U.S. is reaching a new era of clean energy and smarter energy policy. With the improvement of energy efficiency, the U.S. can help save consumers money while also reducing environmental impacts and future energy demand.
Rebuilding America is a broad-based coalition of labor, businesses, utilities, manufacturers and policy groups that have joined to foster a robust, self-sustaining retrofit industry that will cut the energy waste in 50 million homes by the year 2020, according to the Energy Future Coalition.
Rebuilding America believes that in order to brighten the economic and environmental future, major action needs to start now. To address this, Rebuilding America developed Building STAR, which is a package of incentives intended to quickly put hundreds of thousands of people to work conducting energy efficiency retrofits. The package that is expected to be passed by Congress includes:
- Rebates for energy-efficient equipment and services that supplement existing utility and state rebates
- Enhancements to existing and proposed tax incentives and codes
The Energy Future Coalition has found that 1 in 5 construction workers are out of work. That’s over 1.7 million Americans, many of which are skilled tradesmen who have worked on commercial, industrial and large residential buildings. Building Star would give these jobless workers a new hope.
In addition, Building STAR’s two-fold approach will allow the diverse group of building owners to have flexibility when picking the incentives that best fit their situation.
“The rebate program sets meaningful efficiency standards for qualifying equipment and services, and rebate levels will spur $2 to $3 of private investment in retrofits for every public dollar invested,” according to the Energy Future Coalition.
The many benefits of Building STAR include:
- Direct benefits to companies and small businesses
- The creation of 150,000-200,000 jobs in the next 18 months
- The delivery of real energy savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions
- Simplicity in the application process
There are currently two pending bills involving Building STAR. Senate Bill No. 3079 and House Bill No. 5476 are both titled the “Building STAR Energy Efficiency Act of 2010.” Both bills would assist in “the creation of new jobs by providing financial resources for owners of commercial buildings and multifamily residential buildings to retrofit their buildings with energy efficient building equipment and materials, and for other purposes.”
When passed, Building STAR would begin working immediately, putting thousands of people to work. The rebate program could even be operational within 30-60 days of its enactment.
To find out more about Building STAR and to view Building STAR resources and information, visit http://www.energyfuturecoalition.org/content/Building-STAR.
Author: Jennifer Griffin