WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, has introduced S.832, legislation that will establish the federal government as a leader in improving the environmental performance of our nation’s buildings.
The GSA Resilient, Energy Efficient, and Net-Zero (GREEN) Building Jobs Act of 2021 would leverage new federal investments in upgrading existing facilities managed by the General Services Administration (GSA) and encourage the design of healthier, more efficient buildings in new projects. Investments made through this legislation would bring back many of the 850,000 jobs lost in the clean energy sector due to the pandemic and create projects in all 50 states and the District of Columbia that will save energy costs and reduce pollution.
This bill calls for a renewed commitment to increasing the energy and water efficiency of government buildings, the number of buildings achieving net-zero energy and waste, and the availability of infrastructure supporting zero-emission vehicles. It also pushes the GSA forward on work to enhance the resiliency of government facilities and protect the health of their occupants.
This legislation is also in line with President Biden’s plan to accelerate investment in our nation’s infrastructure, including upgrading 4 million buildings across the country.
“Guided by strong science and a real need across Maryland and this nation, we can use the power and presence of the federal government to transform the future into one that exemplifies efficiency, reduces costs for taxpayers and cuts pollution in our air and water,” said Senator Cardin. “This effort will produce a better built environment for government workers, create jobs that draw on American construction, design, technology and innovation, and spur more investment in the private sector.”
GSA manages approximately 370 million square feet of space in over 8,700 owned and leased properties across the country, in every state, and in rural and urban areas. Embracing energy efficiency across these properties would have a tangible impact in their home communities.
“The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) applauds Senator Cardin for introducing the GREEN Building Jobs Act. This bill sets a new path for Federal leadership in buildings, with critical targets encompassing energy and water efficiency, net zero buildings, resilience, and health. Senator Cardin’s legislation will stimulate the economy through construction and clean energy jobs, while saving taxpayer money and creating a healthier, more resilient, and lower carbon Federal buildings portfolio,” said Elizabeth Beardsley, Senior Policy Counsel, USGBC.
“The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) strongly supports the GREEN Building Jobs Act.” NASEO’s Executive Director, David Terry, also stated: “This legislation promotes resiliency, energy efficiency, water efficiency and private financing of building improvements, which are all activities that have been pioneered at the state level. Senator Cardin’s bill is a great model for public buildings and sets up opportunities for Federal-state collaboration to realize even greater savings in energy and taxpayer money. It is a win-win.”
“ASBC and the 250,000 business we represent applaud Senator Cardin for introducing the GREEN Building Jobs Act. As businesses and investors, we understand that government can catalyze crucial movement for a clean healthier and more equitable economy and that this Act can create business opportunity, good local jobs, and a boost to Build Back Better,” said David Levine, Cofounder and President of the American Sustainable Business Council.
“We need the federal government to help show the way on climate including constructing zero-energy buildings, retrofitting the hundreds of thousands of buildings it currently owns, and using electric cars and trucks. We commend Senator Cardin for this excellent bill, which will set GSA to become a leader on efficient, healthy, and green buildings and vehicles,” said Steve Nadel, Executive Director, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.
“The federal government is the largest energy user in the country, spending $6 billion a year on powering its buildings alone. This bill would not only save taxpayers’ money, but it would demonstrate federal leadership in energy efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating well-paid American jobs,” said Clay Nesler, Interim President, Alliance to Save Energy.
“As one of the largest real estate owners and tenants in the U.S., the Federal government has significant power to drive market action to improve buildings to secure a clean energy future. We applaud this bill in driving the GSA to lead by example in how building owners and tenants can refine leasing practices and undertake renovations that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save water, create jobs, improve community health and resilience, and save taxpayers money,” said Cliff Majersik, Senior Advisor, Institute for Market Transformation (IMT).
The full text of the GREEN Building Jobs Act of 2021 can be found at this link.