Despite early signs that our economy is on the mend, we still face double-digit unemployment rates in many important sectors. Today, 1 in 5 construction workers—over 1.7 million people—are out of work. Many of them are skilled tradesmen who have worked on commercial, institutional, and large residential buildings. Finding a way to create good jobs for Americans is a priority across the country, from Pennsylvania Avenue to Main Street.
By jump-starting energy efficient retrofits of buildings, we can get people working again, improve financial security by cutting energy bills, and help address climate change by slashing energy waste. The Rebuilding America initiative worked with a wide range of technical, industry, and efficiency experts to accomplish just that.
Building STAR is a package of incentives intended to quickly create jobs, including:
Building STAR's two-part approach allows the diverse group of commercial and multi-family building owners to have the flexibility to pick the incentives that best fit their situation. The rebate program sets meaningful efficiency standards for qualifying equipment and services, and rebate levels will spur $2 to $3 of private investment in retrofits for every public dollar invested.
In March 2010, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the Building STAR Energy Efficiency Act of 2010 (S.3079). Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) followed suit by introducing the House version of Building STAR in May 2010 (H.R.5476), where it garnered bi-partisan support. The Senate held a hearing in early March on energy efficiency legislation that included Building STAR, where it received favorable treatment. The 111th Congress did not act on either the House or Senate bill, but the policy generated a great deal of excitement on Capitol Hill and across the United States. The Rebuilding America coalition will continue to support legislation that advances energy efficiency in buildings in the 112th Congress.
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