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Special Interests Attempt to Derail Energy Efficiency in Federal Buildings

Climate

Sierra Club

Yesterday the Sierra Club and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) released a new print ad opposing the Hoeven-Manchin amendment—a special interest-backed attempt through to repeal energy conservation requirements for new federal buildings.

As a proposed addition to the otherwise strong and broadly supported Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, introduced by Sen. Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen. Portman (R-OH), the amendment would repeal a key provision—section 433 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007—which sets carbon pollution reduction targets for new federal buildings. The bill is expected to come to a floor vote in the coming days.

Overall, buildings contributed nearly half of U.S. CO2 emissions in 2010. Section 433 ensures that starting in 2030 new federal buildings, and those that undergo significant renovations, be carbon-neutral, in order to reduce their carbon footprint.

“To build a clean energy future, we have to start with buildings—we cannot adequately address the climate crisis without making our buildings cleaner and more efficient,” said Dave Hamilton, clean energy director for the Beyond Coal campaign.

“Yet, Big Oil and Gas is trying to repeal strong, established laws and undermine clean energy innovation to stifle competition and pad profits at the expense of American families," he continued. "The Senate should reject this deplorable backdoor attack on clean energy innovation and climate progress.”

As an alternative to the Hoeven-Manchin amendment, Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI) has introduced an amendment to clarify section 433 while retaining the overall purpose of the provision, which was passed into law in 2007.

“The future—and present—of the built environment around the world is energy efficiency,” said Paul Mendelsohn, vice president, government and community relations at the AIA.

“If the U.S. wants to be on the cutting edge of the job-creating innovation, the federal government should lead by drawing the blueprints," Mendelsohn continued. "The Whitehouse amendment presents a reasonable compromise that will do just that."

Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.

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