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AAMA supports commercial energy-efficiency incentives through Building Star legislation

Post Time:Nov 12,2013Classify:Industry NewsView:53

Officials at the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Schaumburg, Ill.,announced the organization's participation in Building Star, promoting a fast-acting, short-term program of rebates and tax incentives for energy-efficient improvements to commercial properties and large, multifamily buildings, according to a March 4 release. Renovating and retrofitting facilities with high-performance windows and doors are among the recommended projects that would qualify for these incentives.The introduction of a Building Star stand-alone bill by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) was expected to be introduced March 4. This bill aims to ultimately become part of a "jobs" package, creating new jobs during 2010 in every part of the country, while helping to drive new investments into the commercial and multifamily real estate sectors. This figure is based on a conservative estimate of job creation from studies of the overall efficiency market by the Political Economy Research Institute, the National Association of Home Builders, the Center on Wisconsin Strategy and others, according to the release.Building Star is designed to be a complementary program to the Homestar program that President Obama outlined on March 2. Introduced in the State of the Union address, Homestar is more commonly referred to as "Cash for Caulkers." It provides homeowners with up to $3,000 in rebates for qualified, energy efficiency updates to single-family and small, multifamily residences.In addition to the short-term benefit of reduced, initial purchase costs, the Homestar and Building Star programs intend to increase demand for building products. This, in turn, is anticipated to increase manufacturers' sales and contractors' services. The White House predicts the effort will generate "tens of thousands of jobs.""Spurring retrofits of commercial and multifamily buildings through Building Star can start to reverse the downward trend in construction and manufacturing by leveraging private-sector investment to create jobs," said Rich Walker, AAMA president and CEO, in the release. "We believe the Building Star program should be included in the federal 'jobs bill' because it would help create at least 150,000 high-quality jobs during 2010 in every part of the country. We encourage individuals to contact their Senators to express support for the bill.""Building Star would quickly mobilize building owners, construction firms, the building trades and manufacturers of building supplies to upgrade the energy performance of our nation's larger private-sector buildings," said Kurt Shickman, director of research, Energy Future Coalition, in the release. "Reducing energy waste in our offices, shops and apartment buildings will create good jobs around the country and provide a needed boost to the small businesses that perform the vast majority of the work." The Energy Future Coalition is a nonpartisan public policy initiative that seeks to speed the transition to a new energy economy. The coalition works closely with the United Nations Foundation on energy and climate policy, especially energy efficiency and bioenergy issues. One of the coalition's initiatives, "Rebuilding America," urges Congress to adopt a national goal of renovating 50 million commercial and residential buildings by 2020. Supporting this goal, it developed Building Star . In addition to AAMA, Building Star includes more than 60 unions, contractor groups, manufacturers, financial services companies, efficiency advocates and technical experts.Building Star members propose rebates that would cover approximately 30 percent of the cost of installing energy-efficient products and/or providing related services. Qualifying windows would be eligible for $150 or $300 per unit. The amount would depend on a Tier 1 or Tier 2 incentive level of compliance with climate zone appropriate U-factor and SHGC criteria. The criteria are based on proposed New Building Institute guidelines and certified to National Fenestration Rating Council standards. Curtain wall and storefront windows would not be eligible for the rebate, according to the release. "Building Star is designed to be simple and straightforward for the building owner and can be used in conjunction with existing state and utility rebate programs," said Shickman, in the release. It also contains performance-based, as well as technology-specific tax incentives. Looking ahead, the Homestar and Building Star programs expect to yield significant return on investment through reduced energy use and associated costs for homeowners and building owners. Energy-efficient buildings will contribute to reducing the national dependence on oil, the global consumption of fossil fuels and the related green house gas emissions. Minimizing such pollutants can contribute to a healthier environment and a healthier community. Studies have found that people are healthier, more productive and have greater job satisfaction when they work in buildings with access to daylight, outside views and control over their interior climate. Other reported benefits of energy-efficient, daylit spaces include increased test scores in schools, faster recovery time in hospitals and improved sales in retail centers, according to the release.Learn more about the Building star program and "Rebuilding America" initiative.

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