Green Building Legislation Introduced, Supported by Senators

U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.), have introduced bipartisan legislation that, if passed, would authorize $50 million over five years to encourage the design and construction of more "green" buildings.

The High-Performance Green Building Act of 2006 requires the federal government establish green building standards for all federal facilities. Additionally, the bill is designed to improve federal coordination and leadership related to the use of green buildings, expands research and development of green building technology, increases public outreach regarding green building activities and encourages schools to improve the environmental conditions of facilities, among other things.

The High-Performance Green Building Act of 2006 would specifically authorize the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to award a total of $10 million over five years in grants to states and local educational agencies to better utilize existing EPA programs and assist schools in developing environmental quality plans.

The bill would bring together existing federal green building initiatives, including those outlined in the Memorandums of Understanding and Executive Orders.

"The federal government must lead the way in encouraging the construction and use of safe and efficient buildings. We owe it to our federal workforce and our taxpayers," Sen. Jeffords was quoted as saying in a Senate press release.

"We have an urgent need to take steps to combat the causes of global warming," said Feinstein. "Safe, energy efficient buildings can be an important part of a comprehensive global warming agenda. This bill wills save electricity consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and streamline existing federal regulations. It is a good first step."

Other Senators cosponsoring the bill are Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Joseph Lieberman (D-Ct.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

According to a Senate press release, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Healthy Schools Network and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute are all supporting the bill.

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