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Sarbanes, Welch Lead Effort to Improve Energy Efficiency and Climate Resiliency of Federal Buildings

March 18, 2021
Press Release
The Federal Building Clean Jobs Act Would Modernize Hundreds of Federal Facilities, Reduce America’s Carbon Footprint, Create Thousands of Jobs and Save Taxpayers Millions of Dollars

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressmen John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) today introduced the Federal Building Clean Jobs Act, a bill to modernize federal facilities with cutting-edge retrofits, energy efficiency upgrades and innovative green engineering designs.

The infrastructure overhaul would authorize more than $4.7 billion in critical renovations to federal buildings across the country. These twenty-first century modernization projects would reduce the federal government’s carbon footprint, strengthen the resiliency of federal facilities, create thousands of good-paying manufacturing, construction, engineering and landscaping jobs and save taxpayers millions of dollars every single year.

“This robust investment in energy efficient buildings and green infrastructure will help America lead by example in the fight against climate change,” said Congressman Sarbanes, a prominent member of the House Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee. “By retrofitting federal buildings with net-zero energy technologies and efficiency upgrades, we can reduce carbon emissions and significantly lower energy costs for taxpayers.”

“The federal government is our nation’s largest energy user, offering us a golden opportunity to significantly reduce emissions and waste across the country simply by making federal buildings more efficient,” said Congressman Welch. “By retrofitting thousands of federal buildings with modern efficiency improvements, we can lead the fight against climate change while cutting energy bills paid for by the taxpayer. Performing these important retrofits also creates good paying clean energy jobs across the country. This bill is true a win-win-win for green jobs, the environment and American taxpayers.”

“The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) applauds Congressman Sarbanes and Congressman Welch for their leadership in introducing the Federal Building Clean Jobs Act,” said Elizabeth Beardsley, Senior Policy Counsel at USGBC. “The Act will create construction and energy efficiency jobs across the United States while investing in better federal buildings that will cost less to operate and provide healthier workplaces for federal employees. Goals established in the Act will drive greenhouse gas reductions and phase in net zero energy and carbon in new construction projects. Communities across the country will benefit from resilience directives, including green infrastructure and zero emission vehicle charging. We urge swift passage of the bill to set federal agencies on a new trajectory for leadership in high performing buildings.”

“We applaud Reps. Sarbanes and Welch for taking a comprehensive approach to improving energy efficiency in federal buildings and including provisions that will facilitate the use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts and Utility Energy Service Contracts to renovate the government’s own buildings,” said Jennifer Schafer, Executive Director of the Federal Performance Contracting Coalition. “Importantly, a portion of the funding proposed in the legislation is required to be leveraged with private sector dollars through performance contracting. This commonsense approach will achieve a 10-to-1 return on investment, ensuring critical infrastructure measures that may not pay for themselves through utility bill savings alone are incorporated. This includes deep energy retrofits, net zero efforts, resiliency measures and ZEV infrastructure.”

The Federal Building Clean Jobs Act enjoys the support of more than 25 organizations, including environmental advocacy groups, energy experts and officials, sustainability stakeholders and construction, engineering and design associations.

See here for a fact sheet on the Federal Building Clean Jobs Act.

See here for a section by section of the bill.