Friday, February 02, 2007

A step in the right direction

. Friday, February 02, 2007

President George W. Bush has issued an Executive Order that calls on the federal government to reduce the use of greenhouse gas-producing energy in public buildings and bolsters sustainable design, construction, and acquisition practices. Issued on January 24, the Executive Order requires agencies to reduce energy use by almost a third over a 2003 baseline by 2015, reduce water consumption by 16 percent by 2015, and implement “sustainable practices” that include: Energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions avoidance or reduction, and petroleum products use reduction Renewable energy, including bioenergy Water conservation Pollution and waste prevention and recycling Reduction or elimination of acquisition and use of toxic or hazardous chemicals High-performance construction, lease, operation, and maintenance of buildings.

The announcement comes on the heels of the president’s call in his State of the Union address for the country to reduce gasoline usage by 20 percent over the next decade. Meanwhile, both the House and the Senate are gearing up to take action on reducing energy usage and addressing climate change. The AIA is advocating legislation that would require agencies to reduce fossil fuel energy usage in federal facilities by 50 percent immediately, and 100 percent by 2030. (Read the issue brief.) Andrew Goldberg, Assoc. AIA, manager of AIA federal regulatory affairs, noted that while the reductions in energy usage outlined by the president are not as far-reaching as those supported by the AIA and others, it is a step in the right direction. “This shows that more and more policymakers recognize the impact of the built environment on climate change and energy consumption, and agree that the federal government should be taking a lead role by making its own facilities greener,” Goldberg said. “But it’s up to the design community to lead the way in showing that much more can and should be done.”