With the encouragement of Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV), the American Institute of Architects (AIA)  conducted a study to determine how many jobs in the design and construction industry could be created if the American Clean Energy Security Act  (H.R. 2454; also known as the Waxman-Markey Bill) is enacted.
The study analyzes two provisions included in the House-passed Act, the State Energy and Environment Development (SEED) program and the Green Resources for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods (GREEN) program. Using studies that measure the extent of job creation in the building industry, the findings estimate that as many as 270,000 jobs could be created or saved if the building-related provisions in H.R. 2454 become law.
“We have been actively calling for investments in infrastructure that create greener buildings, vibrant communities, and a 21st century transportation network that is good for both the environment and economy,” said AIA Executive Vice President / CEO, Christine McEntee. “Investing in such projects will both create jobs and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment, and we call on the Senate to pass the building-related provisions in the American Clean Energy Security Act.”
Provisions in GREEN program would provide authorized funding for the energy efficient design, construction and/or retrofit of buildings:
Residential Energy Efficiency Block Grant Program – Establishes a residential energy efficiency block grant program to distribute grants for activities that improve the energy-efficiency of single-family or multi-family housing the housing
Sustainable Low-Income Community Grant Program – Authorizes the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to make grants to nonprofit organizations to use for a number of activities, including training, supporting, and providing financing to eligible community development organizations and qualified youth service and conservation corps in improving energy efficiency
Alternative Energy Sources State Loan Fund – Authorizes HUD to provide loans to States and Indian tribes to provide incentives to owners of single-family and multifamily housing, commercial properties, and public buildings to provide renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and energy conserving improvements and features for such structures, or infrastructure related to the delivery of electricity and hot water for structures lacking such amenities
Green Guarantees – Authorizes HUD to guarantee mortgages used to finance sustainable building elements for housing that is subject to the mortgage. HUD is prohibited from guaranteeing a mortgage unless the borrower has demonstrated the amount of savings attributable to incorporation of the sustainable building elements to be financed by the green portion of the mortgage
Provisions in SEED Program would authorize the use of cap-and-trade allowances to be used for the energy efficient design, construction and/or renovation of buildings:
Low-Income Community Energy Efficiency program – Allows funds to be used by private, nonprofit, mission-driven community development organizations to provide financing to businesses and projects that improve energy efficiency; identify and develop alternative, renewable, and distributed energy supplies; provide technical assistance and promote job and business opportunities for low-income residents; and increase energy conservation in low income rural and urban communities
Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program – Facilitates the retrofitting of existing buildings to achieve maximum cost-effective, energy-efficiency improvements and significant improvements in water use and other environmental attributes
The large job creation potential per dollar invested in energy efficient building design, construction and renovations – combined with the sizable potential for energy savings from building efficiency measures – suggests that the inclusion of significant building-related provisions in the final energy and climate bill will help policymakers achieve the twin goals of sustainability and economic development.
About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. By using sustainable design practices, materials, and techniques, AIA architects are uniquely poised to provide the leadership and guidance needed to provide solutions to address climate change. AIA architects walk the walk on sustainable design. Visit www.aia.org/walkthewalk .