WASHINGTON - U.S. Sens. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., have introduced legislation to promote green building practices for federal buildings and schools. The "High-Performance Green Buildings Act of 2004" authorizes $35 million over five years to support federal buildings and schools that are designed and operated to boost environmental, economic, health, and productivity performance above that of conventional buildings.

Jeffords, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said, "Green buildings are an environmental investment in our future. This legislation promotes buildings that incorporate energy efficiency, waste reduction, and other efficient design features. Green buildings improve the health of their occupants, protect our natural resources, and in the long run can save our nation billions of dollars in energy and other costs. It's time for the federal government to catch up to the private sector and work together to reap the many benefits of high-performance buildings."

Lautenberg said, "Since people, on average, spend 90 percent of their time indoors, we must encourage the proliferation of green buildings to make those hours healthier. We will do a lot through our legislation to improve the indoor air quality and safety of school buildings, while saving taxpayers billions of dollars in energy costs."

Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council, said, "We are excited about the introduction of legislation establishing an office and a federal role for green buildings. Senators Jeffords and Lautenberg have been savvy and supportive leaders in the effort to transform the built environment and this legislation will advance the knowledge, tools, and understanding of building green within the federal government. Building green is exploding in the marketplace and this legislation provides the mechanism for preserving a leadership role for the federal government as well as enhancing the existing partnership of the U.S. Green Building Council and the federal family."

The legislation:

  • Expands existing green building research;

  • Provides $10 million in grants to state and local education agencies for the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Tools for Schools Program, school facility design, construction, and renovation; and systematic improvements with school siting, indoor air quality, contaminants, and other health issues;

  • Promotes research on schools to identify relations between school facilities and student health, safety, and productivity;

  • Aids security efforts by providing alternative sources of energy and water in the event of a terrorist attack;

  • Improves the coordination of federal green building efforts;

  • Provides for public outreach and assistance to states;

  • Supports green building-related markets; and

  • Creates an incentive for making investments in federal green building purchases and practices.

    Joining Jeffords and Lautenberg in sponsoring the legislation are Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., Hilary Clinton, D-N.Y., Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

    Publication date: 07/26/2004