News Briefs

August 11, 2010

Audit finds waste by DOE in 'green' government building projects. An audit of a program run by the U.S. Department of Energy that pays private contractors to make older government buildings more energy efficient warns of a huge potential for waste and abuse, according to a Sept. 21 Washington Post report. The DOE's inspector general found missteps in the Energy Department's energy savings performance contracts, or ESPCs. For example, one project paid $565,000 over six years to a contractor in Texas for a high-efficiency laundry that is no longer in use.

Architectural Billings Index hits another low. The Architectural Billings Index for August dropped to its lowest level since June. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the August ABI rating was 41.7, down slightly from 43.1 in July, indicating a decline in demand for design services (any score below 50 indicates an decrease in billings). One bright note: the new projects inquiry score was 55.2.

Federal court approves global warming lawsuit against energy companies. A federal appeals court has ruled that five of the nation's largest electric utility companies can stand trial for allegations that their greenhouse gas emissions created a public nuisance that contributed to global warming. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a coalition of eight states, New York City, and environmental groups in a case brought under federal common law that claimed the power companies were harming residents in multiple states.

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