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The American Institute of Architects today released a letter from more than 350 different associations and companies expressing opposition to efforts by special interests to gut energy conservation requirements for federal buildings.

The letter, which is addressed to Energy and Natural Resources Chairman

Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and ranking Republican

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, was released one week ahead of the scheduled mark-up of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee May 8.

That legislation, introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), would promote greater use of energy efficiency technology in commercial and residential buildings and by manufacturers.

However, efforts by special interests to weaken energy conservation requirements for federal buildings are likely to surface during the mark-up. In particular, an amendment is expected to be offered that may weaken or eliminate Section 433(a) of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). The 2007 law requires federal agencies to phase out the consumption of energy from greenhouse-gas-emitting sources in newly constructed or renovated federal buildings by 2030, unless they can show such reductions are not technically feasible.

“According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration,’’ the letter states, “the building sector accounts for 39 percent of total U.S. energy consumption, more than both the transportation and industry sectors. The same study found that buildings are responsible for 71 percent of U.S. electricity consumption and that buildings in the United States alone account for 9.8 percent of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.

“Weakening or repealing federal building energy policies will dramatically harm the federal government’s ability to design and build facilities that use less energy, save taxpayers money, and protect the environment,” the letter concludes. “Therefore, we urge you to oppose efforts to weaken the energy consumption and GHG emission requirements of EISA Sec. 433(a) and other important energy-saving policies.”For more information click here

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