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US green thinking welcomed by USGBC

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) has praised the House of Representatives for passing landmark energy and climate legislation which will boost the take up of energy efficient approaches.

USGBC President and chief executive Rick Fedrizzi said: “From programmes that would generate billions of dollars to spur and scale green retrofitting of our existing building stock to inclusion of the GREEN Act, which would create new opportunities for green affordable housing, this bill recognizes that green building is a major part of the solution to our economic and energy challenges.

“With this federal commitment, green building can help propel the new green economy by creating enormous energy and cost savings for millions of Americans while accelerating unprecedented job creation.”

The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 includes:

• The Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) programme - supports the creation of retrofitting initiatives throughout the country for residential and nonresidential buildings  that may offer a variety of incentives, including credit enhancements, interest rate subsidies, and initial capital for public revolving loan funds.

• The GREEN (Green Resources for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods) Act -  provides incentives to lenders and financial institutions to provide lower interest loans and other benefits to consumers who build, buy or remodel their homes in ways that improve energy efficiency. The bill also increases energy efficiency standards for Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) owned and assisted housing.

• The Building Energy Performance Labeling Programme - directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create model building energy performance labels for new construction, establishing a meaningful and consistent basis for evaluating the energy performance of residential and commercial buildings.

• EPA’s WaterSense program - designates products as water efficient, as well as funding for state incentive programs for use of water-efficient products.

• Extension of power purchasing authority for federal agencies, which allows the federal government to enter contracts for the purchase of renewable power for a period of up to 20 years