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Governors Call for Carbon-Neutral Buildings

Next step could be "green" building codes in every state



TIM GRIFFITH/CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

The National Association of Governors is the latest legislative group to support the American Institute of Architects' goal of zeroing out new and renovated buildings' greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

The NGA -- which is convening in Biloxi, Miss., for its annual meeting -- endorsed the AIA goal as part of a resolution on energy efficiency and conservation. The U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties have also endorsed the AIA goal by vowing to integrate provisions related to the built environment in their energy policies.

"Governors believe that the federal government should maintain its central role in promoting funding and developing a wide-ranging program of energy conservation and improved energy efficiency that considers all sectors of the economy," NGA's resolution noted. "Such a program should be cooperatively developed and implemented by the states and the federal government working together as full partners."

NGA's resolution opens the door for the AIA to promote in every state a "green" construction code that the International Code Council is developing. The code -- which will be compatible with the AIA's 2030 carbon-neutrality target -- will include water, energy, air-quality and safety benchmarks that states and cities may adopt starting in late 2011.

The House passed legislation last month that would force laggards to boost their energy efficiency.

H.R. 2454, sponsored by Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, would require residential and commercial buildings to be 30 percent more efficient than the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code. The efficiency target would ramp up to 50 percent for residential and commercial buildings by 2014 and 2015, respectively, and would increase 5 percent every three years through 2030 (Greenwire, June 30).

Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said she plans to introduce legislation next month that integrates the House bill's provisions.

"The Waxman-Markey bill is the mark we're working off to write our bill," Boxer said. "I would say tweaks are more of what you're going to see than major changes."


Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500

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