Recommendations Call for Funds for the Planning and Design of Energy Efficient Construction Projects
Recent reports estimate that the economic recovery package may total as much as
"President-elect Obama's economic recovery package provides us with the opportunity to leave a lasting imprint on our built environment with projects that improve the safety of the existing infrastructure and increase energy efficiency, so long as these projects are undertaken with the utmost attention to smart design and planning," said
The plan is comprised of five key policy areas for immediate attention: 21st century schools; green commercial, residential and institutional buildings; historic preservation projects; transit, mixed use development and complete streets projects; and tax relief for businesses. Highlights from the plan include:
- 21st Century Schools - As the costs of energy and construction materials continue to increase and budgets get tighter, education agencies are further delaying or canceling major projects to repair and modernize school buildings. The AIA is calling for the federal government to invest
$25 billionin districts across the country to repair, modernize and green school buildings. Additionally, it is proposing $700 millionfor pilot programs that would provide grants for the development of model school campuses that support 21st century teaching and learning in each region of the country. This proposal would create more than 445,000 jobs across the industry.
- Green Buildings - The current economic crisis presents an opportunity to build better public, residential and commercial architectural designs. This requires investing in the types of full-scale retrofits that can significantly reduce a building's carbon footprint. The AIA is calling for the federal government to provide
$30 billionfor energy efficiency upgrades and modernization for federal, state and local public buildings; residential, commercial, industrial and healthcare facilities; and green affordable housing. Appropriating these funds would result in the creation of 430,000 jobs. In addition, the AIA is calling for increasing the size of the energy efficient commercial buildings tax deduction from $1.80per square foot to $3.00per square foot and this recommendation was just endorsed by the Environment America Research & Policy Center.
- Transit and Livable Communities - A lack of investment in our infrastructure system since the New Deal has limited economic growth and jeopardized the safety of American citizens. As Congress prepares to create legislation that stimulates the economy the AIA believes that it is important to invest at least
$12 billionfor transit facilities and operations, since they greatly enhance the economic development, sustainability, safety and livability of communities. Funding for transit-oriented projects will create compact, walkable communities that mix housing, retail, office space and other amenities around high quality train systems and create approximately 375,000 jobs for the building and construction industry.
- Historic Preservation Projects - The preservation of historic buildings already in the development phase will create more work for the building industry and generate positive economic returns in the communities surrounding them. The plan calls for the appropriation of at least
$30 millionto the under-funded Save America's Treasure program for bricks-and-mortar preservation projects. The plan also calls for another $100 millionin grants to be provided through the State Historic Preservation Officers and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers for non-federal public and nonprofit historic sites.
- Tax Relief for Businesses - By accelerating the depreciation of energy-efficient heating, ventilation, air conditioning, or commercial refrigeration property installed in nonresidential property or residential rental property, businesses of all sizes would be able to improve their operations, reduce costs and reduce energy consumption. The AIA is also calling for elimination of a requirement that businesses that perform government work have three percent of their payments withheld.
For more information on the AIA's Rebuild and Renew plan, or to download the full report, please visit http://www.aia.org/rebuildandrenew.
About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. By using sustainable design practices, materials, and techniques, AIA architects are uniquely poised to provide the leadership and guidance needed to provide solutions to address climate change. AIA architects walk the walk on sustainable design. Visit www.aia.org/walkthewalk.
Contact: Matt Tinder 202-626-7462 firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE American Institute of Architects