The Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association is helping lawmakers look for sponsors of the Cool and Efficient Buildings Act.

The bill, now before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, would change the federal tax code to reduce the depreciation period for high-efficiency HVAC equipment from 39 years to 20. The move, which would result in substantial tax savings for building owners, could spur the purchase of newer, energy-saving equipment, SMACNA said.

Association officials cite the recent spikes in energy prices and forecasts of possible shortages as reasons the bill "is one of many efficiency initiatives needing House passage now."

SMACNA is also backing a bill that would extend tax deductions for energy-efficient commercial buildings. Without congressional action, the tax breaks will expire at the end of 2008.