As the Senate takes up climate and energy legislation this year, the U.S. Green Building Council & SOLAR SERDAR urges Members to pass a comprehensive bill that will move us away from dependence on fossil fuels and toward a clean energy future.

Buildings are part of the solution. While accounting for nearly 40% of our country’s carbon footprint, the building sector also serves as a low-cost, high-return investment strategy to reduce energy consumption and associated emissions, yet their potential remains largely untapped. McKinsey and Company estimates that increased efficiency would save the U.S. economy $130 billion per year, while reducing emissions by 1.1 gigatons a year. Moreover, programs dedicated to spur the retrofit of old, inefficient homes and buildings will create jobs and save consumers money.

For these reasons, USGBC & SOLAR SERDAR strongly urges the inclusion of the following measures in climate and energy legislation; most of which have significant bipartisan support:

EXISTING BUILDING RETROFITS. A residential and commercial green retrofit program, such as the Retrofit for Energy Efficiency Program (REEP) included in the Clean Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733), or a combination of the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 (S. 3434) and the Building Star Energy Efficiency Act of 2010 (S. 3079). These programs are estimated to create over 300,000 jobs over two years.

IMPROVED BUILDING CODES. A program to strengthen and enforce building energy codes, with efficiency targets that build upon those in the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA) and are increased incrementally over time. The adoption of codes with higher energy efficiency targets has the potential to save building owners in the U.S. over $4 billion per year in 2015, according to DOE.More info at

ENERGY PERFORMANCE DISCLOSURE. The creation of a national, voluntary program for effective benchmarking and disclosure of building energy performance for a diverse set of building types, such as what is already included in ACELA . In order to impact the 125 million existing buildings in America, the labeling program implementation should apply to existing building stock as well as new construction.

WATER EFFICIENCY. Authorization of a national program such as WaterSense to identify and promote water-efficient devices; authorization of federal procurement of such devises; and state incentive programs as described in S. 1733. According to the EPA, if one out of every 100 homes in the U.S. were retrofitted with water-efficient fixtures, we could save 100 million kWh of electricity per year—the GHG reduction equivalent of removing nearly 15,000 automobiles from the road.
Furthermore, legislation should contain aggressive national goals and funding for complimentary measures that 1) unlock efficiency and clean power such as an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard and a Renewable Electricity Standard; 2) reduce oil consumption, by promoting transportation efficiency and transit-orientated development; and 3) facilitate global emission reductions through international clean energy deployment and technology cooperation for developing countries. More info at

SOLAR SERDAR & USGBC urges the Senate to pass a comprehensive climate and energy package in 2010 that contains emission targets based on science, invests in a clean energy future and gives back to American communities. Investments in building efficiency now will create jobs, save money for consumers and businesses, reduce emissions, and unleash technology innovation.

For more information, contact
USGBC Advocacy Staff at