Today, the AIA along with nearly 500 businesses submitted a letter urging Congress to reject efforts from the fossil fuel industry to repeal Section 433 of the Energy Independence and Security Act. The legislation sets targets for reducing the consumption of fossil fuel–generated energy by newly constructed and renovated federal buildings each year, with the goal of reaching a 100-percent reduction, based on a 2003 baseline, by 2030.
The letter calls Section 433 "a cornerstone of the federal government’s sustainability strategy." It argues that design and construction firms are already meeting—and sometimes exceeding—the current targets for federal projects, and that current targets have also facilitated the development of sustainable design techniques that have helped private-sector building owners reduce their energy use.
Energy committees in both houses of Congress begin hearings today on various pieces of energy legislation containing provisions that repeal Section 433, an amendment first introduced in 2011 through the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). Also known as the Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill, the bipartisan legislation failed in 2011, 2013, and 2014 in part due to divided industry responses to this controversial amendment.
"As we have said previously: efforts to gut federal energy laws in the name of energy efficiency just do not make any sense," said AIA president Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA. "As this letter indicates, hundreds of companies oppose any legislation that would undermine taxpayers’ ability to save money by conserving energy." The AIA’s key legislative priorities for 2015 include backing the federal 2030 targets, passing consensus energy efficiency legislation, and promoting design excellence across all federal agencies.
The full text of the letter can be found here.