Building STAR Introduced in Senate
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Submitted by EFC Team on March 5th, 2010

Co-sponsored by Senators Brown, Cardin, Pryor, Sanders and Stabenow, the “Building STAR” proposal would put building trades back to work, boost manufacturing, deliver rebates and reduce needless pollution.

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced the “Building STAR Energy Efficiency Rebate Act of 2010” yesterday, a bill designed to jumpstart manufacturing and get building trades back to work installing energy saving equipment in buildings, storefronts and multi-family homes across the country.  “Building STAR” is a job-creation proposal supported by member organizations of Rebuilding America, a ground-breaking coalition of unions, contractor associations, manufacturers, financial services companies and energy efficiency advocates.

Rebates included in the bill would amount to $6 billion, in order to stimulate $18 to $24 billion in total investment, resulting in more than 150,000 new jobs.  These jobs will pay well, allow companies to rehire laid off workers and infuse sorely needed capital into small businesses and hard-hit communities across the country.  The savings accrued by building owners and the profits earned by laborers and manufacturers will power even more economic growth.

“As we take action to put Americans back to work, we need to set our targets on programs that provide the biggest bang for our buck and set our economy up for future growth,” Senator Merkley said.  “Clean energy is not only the next great growth industry, but it’s an engine for job creation today. Energy-efficiency programs like ‘Building STAR’ will put Americans to work in construction and manufacturing and save small businesses money as we strive for American energy independence.”

“With unemployment of 25% and higher, the construction industry is in dire need of a program to jumpstart high-quality construction jobs.  Building STAR provides the right incentives to get our men and women back to work rebuilding America in every state,” said John Lindemulder, president of the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association.  “Since more than 90% of the construction firms that will be undertaking Building STAR retrofits employ fewer than 20 people, this program will be a boon to small businesses around the country that have been hardest hit by the economic downturn.”

“Buildings represent 40 percent of the energy used in the United States, and many have old equipment that waste energy and money,” Senator Pryor said.  “Investing in energy efficiency retrofits for industrial, commercial, and multi-family buildings can drive economic recovery by saving small businesses money, spurring construction and manufacturing, and creating hundreds of thousands of good jobs across America.”

“As the founder of a family-owned mechanical contracting firm with just 35 employees, I’m very excited about Building STAR,” said Mark Rogers, owner, West Chester Mechanical Contractors.  “A program like this could help me hire back our workers, guys who are like family to me.”

“Building STAR is a cost-effective way to create thousands of American jobs by helping make commercial buildings more energy efficient,” said Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer.  “We offer our full support to Senator Merkley’s bill, which provides an innovative solution to the challenge of job creation.”

“Today, one in five construction workers – over 1.7 million people – are out of work.  America’s buildings are wasting both energy and money.  As the Senate considers a jobs agenda for 2010, it should incorporate policies that will drive wide-scale building retrofits, such as the Building STAR proposal, that create good local construction jobs and reduce energy costs,” said Reid Detchon, Executive Director of the Energy Future Coalition.  “Building STAR is a package of rebates for energy efficient retrofits of commercial and multi-family residential buildings designed to create jobs and help small businesses nationwide.”

Building STAR would:

  • Create 25,000 jobs in 2010 for every $1 billion of federal investment for the hard-hit construction and building services, manufacturing, and distribution sectors.  For a $6 billion federal investment, for example, Building STAR would create at least 150,000 jobs.
  • Maximize federal investment, by leveraging $2-3 in private investment for every federal dollar spent.  Building STAR would thus spur a total market activity of $18 – $24 billion, with a $6 billion federal investment, making this a great model for a public-private partnership and maximizing resource efficacy.
  • Provide direct benefits to the thousands of small businesses, including the 91 percent of commercial contractors that have fewer than 20 employees.
  • Use a simple application process so that building owners can participate easily.
  • Work quickly, because the rebate and incentive levels are established in legislation, rather than by agencies, making it possible to implement Building STAR immediately.  In addition, this program is based on existing, already-proven utility rebate programs and tax incentives.
  • Deliver real energy savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions, because of the typically large size and scope of commercial and multi-family building retrofits.  For example, such retrofits could save industry $3.3 billion a year, based on data compiled by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

To read the Energy Future Coalition press release, click here.

To read the Senate press release, click here.


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