Monday, May 07, 2007

Green Buildings

This is from a Newsletter I just got from my Senator Ben Cardin.
From the cars we drive to the buildings in which we live and work, I believe all Americans increasingly want to save energy and protect the environment.

I recently introduced The American Green Buildings Act, S.1165, to require that the federal government construct all new buildings to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly. While we need to enact a comprehensive, long-term energy policy, this bill is a step in the right direction.

Buildings are big consumers of energy. In fact, buildings account for more than a third of all energy consumed in the United States. The technology now exists to help us save energy in the way we construct new buildings or renovate existing ones.

My legislation would require all new federal buildings follow the green building LEED (Leadership and Energy in Environmental Design) Silver standard set by the U.S. Green Building Council. These standards were created to promote sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, material selections and indoor environmental quality.

The average LEED-certified buildings in the United States use 32% less electricity, 26% less natural gas and 36% less total energy. In aggregate, to date LEED-certified buildings reduce carbon dioxide by 150,000 metric tons, the equivalent of 30,000 passenger cars sitting idle for one year.

We can become energy independent in a decade if we commit ourselves to that goal, and we can do it in a way that protects our environment and our national security.
Given the magnitude of the potential problem that Global Climate Change poses, this is certainly a fairly small scale proposal. Having said that though, there is plenty of room for both small and large scale proposals, and for a small scale proposal, this is a good one. Getting something like this through is an excellent step. I am glad to hear that Congress is seriously considering this issue and we are seeing proposals like this brought forth. Having the Federal Government start on something like this could well be similar to the forty hour week, a very good reform started by the Feds, which eventually became the norm.

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