MarchApril 2008
Industry News

AIA Urges Congress to Consider Green Stimulus Proposals

As Congress and the Administration discuss additional proposals to stimulate the nation’s economy, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is advocating green incentives for homeowners, building owners, small businesses, retail establishments and education facilities. Details of the provisions where sent to Congress in a letter dated Jan. 24, 2008.

In 2005 the AIA adopted position statements to promote sustainable design and resource conservation to achieve a minimum reduction of 50 percent of the current consumption level of fossil fuels used to construct and operate buildings by the year 2010.

AIA senior director, federal affairs, Andrew Goldberg, Assoc. AIA, said, “Because the design and construction industry accounts for nearly one in ten dollars of United States GDP and creates millions of jobs while supporting millions of small businesses, the AIA believes that Congress and the president should help this vital sector put people back to work and provide solutions lower energy costs.”
In particular, the AIA supports provisions to:

Extend and deepen tax incentives for green commercial and residential buildings. The AIA supports extending existing tax incentives that are set to expire or have expired; deepening these incentives will spur more homeowners and developers to invest in green technologies and designs, which will create more green-collar jobs. In particular, the AIA supports extending the energy-efficient commercial buildings deduction for five years (through Dec. 31, 2013) and deepen it from $1.80/sf to $2.25/sf; and extending the credit for energy-efficiency improvements to existing homes to 2009, while increasing the cap to $1,000 from the current $500.

Provide for accelerated depreciation of energy-efficient business equipment. The AIA supports providing accelerated depreciation of equipment, which will create an immediate incentive for purchasing new technologies. In addition, the AIA supports provisions that provide additional incentives for small businesses that invest in new equipment, such as expanding the Section 179 deduction; and for all businesses that invest in energy-efficient products, such as energy-efficient windows and HVAC systems.

Give homeowners a “Green Tax Credit.” The AIA supports providing a tax credit of $2,500 for the purchase of a new or significantly refurbished energy-efficient home. This will help increase demand in the housing market and create an incentive for builders and homeowners to invest in green technologies.

Extend the 15-year recovery for retail improvement, restaurant and leasehold property. The AIA backs extending the 15-year depreciation period for changes to existing restaurant and leasehold properties and including new construction, which would provide an immediate incentive for retailers and restaurateurs to invest in sustainable design and construction, creating jobs in the construction industry.

Fund the construction and modernization of green schools. Providing grants to local educational agencies to build or renovate schools that are more energy-efficient will achieve three goals simultaneously: it will create jobs in the construction industry; it will help create better schools for students in which to learn; and it will help save energy and lower energy bills for school districts. MD