Congressman Steve Driehaus (D-OH) announced his intent to cosponsor Building STAR at an event on June 25, 2010 with the Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers International Union in Cincinnati, OH. With over 150 people in attendance, the event showed continued support for Building STAR from the business and labor communities, while Congressman Driehaus’ announcement showed increased support from the United States House of Representatives.
Congressman Driehaus focused his introductory remarks on his commitment to putting the United States’ labor force back to work, saying that “new energy technology and energy efficiency is all about job creation.” He spoke at length about the importance of educating the public and members of Congress about the need for increased energy efficiency as a means for reducing the nation’s energy consumption, ensuring greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and most importantly for creating hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the United States for skilled workers who have been hard hit by the current economic recession.
Other participants in the roundtable discussion included Jim Petrides (IREX Contracting Group), Al Rexroat (National Union Insulation Contractors Alliance), Tom Haun (Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers International), and Jim Goggin, a representative from Governor Ted Strickland’s office. The panelists emphasized the loss of jobs within their industries in Ohio, stating a 20% unemployment rate nationally among construction and manufacturing workers. The conversation focused on the enormous opportunity for commercial energy efficiency retrofits in Ohio and nationally. With over 14,000 potential projects already identified in Ohio alone, the panelists spoke of their respective unions being “shovel ready” and eager for Building STAR to pass so that the 6,600 job projected could be realized. The panel also discussed the importance of energy efficiency retrofits for building owners who would see immediate and substantial energy savings as a result of the retrofit projects.
Following the roundtable discussion, Congressman Driehaus met with master mechanical insulation apprentices from across the country to talk about their field and how legislation such as Building STAR would specifically benefit them and their own local economies. To close, Congressman Driehaus called on the apprentices and others present to reach out to their own members of Congress in order to share their support for Building STAR and educate the Congressmen on its importance.
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