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High Performance Building Caucus hosts briefing on Building Star

Post Time:May 24,2010Classify:Industry NewsView:72

The High-Performance Building CongressionalCaucus Coalition hosted a lunch briefing onBuildingStar, May 24, at the U.S. House of Representatives, Rayburn House Office Building. About 80 participants pre-registered for the briefing, mostly from associations, such as National Glass Association, McLean, Va., Glass Association of NorthAmerica, Topeka, Kan., American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Atlanta,Ga., National Electrical Manufacturers Association, Rosslyn, Va., and Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, Arlington, Va.

The goal of the Building Star is "to support our industry to retrofit 40 percent of America's commercial and residential buildings -- 50 million buildings -- by 2020," said Reid Detchon, executive director, Energy Future Coalition, Washington, D.C.To accomplish that, "we need to figure out how to get the most out of the stimulus package with energy efficiency, and how to keep improving afterARRA."

Building Star is an unique effort to unite all with a stake in energy efficiency through retrofits, Detchon said. "It is developed as part of RebuildingAmerica initiative to jump-start the economy and create jobs by spurring retrofits of commercial buildings," he said. "It's a rebate program and financing to drive energy efficiency retrofits."

Commercial and multifamily buildings account for approximately half of America's energy use, Detchon said. "Commercial real estate is worth $6.7 trillion, constitutes up to 13 percent of the GDP, and employs about 9 million people," said.

According to the American Council for and Energy-Efficient Economy, Washington, D.C., by the end of 2011, Building Star would create 187,000 jobs, $3.3 billion in annual energy bill savings and avoid emissions equivalent to 4 million cars, Detchon said.

Going forward, "we need to develop and grow the private sector markets to perform retrofits, and actively manage buildings," Detchon said. "That requires policies that unlock financing, changing utility business models, encouraging high performance and high standards, and robust workforce training and labor standards."

JimPauley, chairman, NEMA High Performance Building Council, and vice president, Industry and Government Relations, Schneider Electric, Palatine,Ill., agreed. "Existing building stock offers the greatest opportunity for energy efficiency," he said. "Building Star incentivizes investments."

To attain energy efficiency goals, "we must have strong energy efficiency codes and standards, and they must be enforced at the state and/or local levels," he said. Building labeling can drive occupancy. Buildings with higher performance have higher rent per square foot and higher occupancy, he said. "It requires investment to get the investment."

"We need to do comprehensive energy audits," Pauley said. " Building Star can drive a 60 percent increase in that audit. And from audit to implementation, Building Star can drive a 30 percent increase."

David Calabrese, senior vice president, Policy, AHRI, was the third speaker.

GANA will offer the briefing video on its site starting May 26.

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