Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Green Building on the Chopping Block in House Spending Measure

Bryan Howard
Legislative Director
U.S. Green Building Council

Representing one of the first significant acts of the new Republican majority, the House of Representatives is poised to pass a bill that would cut federal government programs by over $61 billion. There is no question that with the spiraling federal deficit, Congress does need to cut wasteful, duplicative and outdated programs - but let’s take a look at some of the good federal programs that the House is considering to devastate or eliminate.

The proposed bill would:
  • Cut $1.6 billion (nearly 20%) of the Federal Building Fund at the General Services Administration (GSA). GSA uses the fund, utilizing largely private sector employees, to modernize and update public buildings to make them more efficient and reduce the utility expenses paid for by your tax dollars.
  • Cut $786 million (over 35%) of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) office at the Department of Energy (DOE). This is the home base for the Building Technologies Program (BTP) which works with industry, researchers and academia to develop technologies, techniques, and tools for making buildings more efficient, productive, and less costly.
  • Eliminate $250 million in funds for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HOPE VI program, which leverages private sector dollars to transform existing blighted public housing into vibrant and livable communities.
  • Cut $10 million for the Energy Star program at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To date, more than 130,000 buildings across the country have used the Energy Star performance rating system to manage and improve building energy use.
Sounds bad, right? It is.

Such proposals prolong America’s economic problems and won’t help the federal budget or taxpayers. Cutting spending shouldn't come at the cost of effective programs, like those listed above, that rebuild our communities and our economy while making long-term investments in innovation and infrastructure in core 21st century technologies.

It is too early to know how the Senate will act on this proposal, but if news of these cuts alarms you, you may want to send an e-mail or call an elected official.

Click here to view the letter in opposition to the GSA funding cut.


  1. I think that all of those programs would be noble if it weren't for the federal government implementing them. Anything they do costs two to three times more than it costs a private entity. We will need less buildings if we have less beaurocrats.

  2. Bryan, thanks for the summary. It is alarming - I'm curious about the larger picture of what's not being cut and what the rationale behind these specific cuts are. Can you enlighten?