The White House states that these investments will save billions in energy costs and promote energy independence. According to independent estimates, it also will create tens of thousands of jobs in the hard-hit construction sector.
The announcement follows Congress passing legislation to repeal the withholding tax mandate for government contractors. President Obama signed the "3% Withholding Repeal and Job Creation Act" into law on Nov. 21, 2011. "Among other things, the law eases a financial barrier for vendors providing services to federal, state and local government entities, which frees up their cashflow for new hires and new purchases. In addition, the law includes the Vow to Hire Heroes Act, which establishes a veteran retraining and hiring program. These positive steps strengthen the American workforce and economy," says AAMA President and CEO Rich Walker.
Taking another step forward, Walker and AAMA praise the President's $4 billion investment to further strengthen the U.S. infrastructure and lessen the nation's dependence on foreign energy sources.
"Upgrading the energy efficiency of America's buildings is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to save money, cut down on harmful pollution and create good jobs right now," said President Obama.
The upgrades to federal buildings will use long-term energy savings to pay for up-front costs, at no cost to taxpayers. The $4 billion includes a commitment of $2 billion of private capital from 60 CEOs, mayors, university presidents and labor leaders into energy-efficiency projects. In addition, the funds will be used to upgrade energy performance by a minimum of 20% by 2020 in 1.6 billion square feet of office, industrial, municipal, hospital, university, community college and school buildings.
During the Dec. 2 announcement, former President Clinton joined President Obama along with representatives from more than 60 organizations as part of the Better Buildings Challenge. The Challenge is part of the Better Buildings Initiative to support job creation by catalyzing private sector investment in commercial and industrial building energy upgrades to make America's buildings 20% more efficient during the next decade, reducing energy costs for American businesses by nearly $40 billion. Last year, commercial buildings consumed roughly 20% of all the energy used by the U.S. economy.
"Investments in building retrofits and energy efficiency can make a real difference in the American economy, by creating jobs, growing our industries, improving businesses' bottom lines, reducing our energy bills and consumption and preserving our planet for future generations," said President Clinton.
More information about AAMA's communication with policymakers can be found on its website at aamanet.org <http://www.aamanet.org> .