Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New USGBC Report: Better Buildings through Executive Action

Jason Hartke
Vice President, National Policy
U.S. Green Building Council

President Obama’s We Can’t Wait strategy is all about leveraging Executive Branch opportunities the Administration can take - without Congressional approval - to boost the economy, spur job creation and make America more competitive.

For the sake of all Americans, this We Can’t Wait ethos is something we share and strongly support, especially since green building sits at the nexus of saving people money, saving energy and creating jobs.

For the second time in two years, the U.S. Green Building Council has convened a diverse group of 15 businesses and organizations to help develop a series of green building policy recommendations that could be achieved via executive action.

Today, we are releasing that report, Better Buildings through Executive Action, and we hope the Obama Administration will take note and seriously consider advancing these new recommendations.

In our first report that came out in April 2010, we identified nearly 80 potential actions in over 30 federal programs totaling $72 billion to enhance green building in the commercial, residential, and multifamily sectors leveraging existing laws and programs.

That report seeded several initiatives that the White House and other agencies advanced over the past year and a half, including the Better Building Initiative, the development of a green capital needs assessment, the $2 billion energy retrofit commitment, and the partnership between the Department of Energy and the appraisal community.

The new report released today not only catalogs the many green building actions that the Obama Administration has already taken, but also articulates new opportunities:

  • Releasing updated guidance on the use of Section 179D, the deduction for investment in energy efficient commercial buildings
  • Overcoming obstacles for building owners to capture aggregated data of tenant energy consumption in multi-tenant structures
  • Enhancing clarity for the appraisal industry on how to evaluate green buildings
  • Facilitating the use of widely recognized residential energy efficiency labels
  • Integrating building energy efficiency and sustainability into programs managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration
  • Better utilizing the Department of Defense’s procurement and research authorities to promote green buildings
  • Implementing all remaining cost-effective retrofits identified through audits carried out by federal agencies, using energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) or other innovative financing

We shouldn’t wait to save Americans $130 billion a year from retrofitting our grossly inefficient building stock. And we certainly shouldn’t wait to create more than a million green building jobs that can never be outsourced.

Now is the time to take leadership positions, foster innovation and inspire others to work toward a sustainable future.

Now is the time for better buildings through executive action.


  1. I just read the campaign speech you wrote for Obama. I didn’t realize the USGBC was getting into politics. You will lose credibility when you start to back candidates, ether Democrats or Republicans. Try to stay focused on Green issues and stay out of politics.

  2. Jason: Unfortunately for you and Obama, the US is not yet a complete authoritarian regime. We the people, the taxpayers footing the bill and our lawfully elected representatives still matter and get to participate in how our money is spent. Read some American history and compare with the top-down brutal repressive authoritarian regimes like China, the Soviet Union, North Korea, Iran, etc. That's the model you're advocating when you applaud and encourage 'executive action' No thanks.