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Bill Would Spur Commercial Building Renovation, Spark Job Creation

03/05/2010
New proposed legislation supporting energy efficient renovation in commercial and multi-family buildings will also spur new jobs and help jump start the economy, according to its sponsors.

The Building Star legislation, which would provide rebates and low interest loans, is similar to the Home Star program that offers energy efficiency assistance to homeowners.

In addition to rebates to reduce the cost of energy-saving measures such as high-efficiency heating and improved insulation, Building Star will also extend low-interest financing options to small businesses and other building owners. Such financing arrangements help building owners with the upfront cost of a building renovation by letting them pay off the cost out of the savings on their energy bill.

Sponsors are Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

In addition to rebates to reduce the cost of energy-saving measures such as high-efficiency heating and improved insulation, "Building Star" will also extend low-interest financing options to small businesses and other building owners.  Such financing arrangements help building owners with the upfront cost of a building renovation by letting them pay off the cost out of the savings on their energy bill.

"Clean energy is not only the next great growth industry, but it's an engine for job creation today," Senator Merkley said in a press statement. "Energy-efficiency programs like `Building Star' will put Americans to work in construction and manufacturing and save small businesses money as we strive for American energy independence."

"Buildings represent 40 percent of the energy used in the United States, and many have old equipment that waste energy and money," Senator Pryor said.

The Senators said the legislation is aimed at also rejuvenating the economy.

The lawmakers said the program could create as 150,000 jobs in some of the economy's hardest-hit sectors including construction, manufacturing, and distribution over the next two years.

In addition, "Building Star" is expected to save building owners more than $3 billion on their energy bills annually by reducing enough peak electricity demand to avoid the need for thirty-three 300-megawatt power plants. It will also reduce the pollution that contributes to climate change by 21 million metric tons, or the equivalent of nearly 4 million cars' emissions each year, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

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