The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which was passed at the beginning of October, includes provisions for the extension of expired and expiring tax incentives for renewable energy, energy-efficient building upgrades and appliance and equipment purchases. The federal solar-investment tax credit was extended for eight years. Regulated electric utilities looking to diversify their energy mix with solar-electric generation now can take advantage of tax incentives because the legislation includes the removal of a prohibition that previously prevented them from doing so. Another key provision is the extension of the Commercial Building Tax Deduction through 2013, which allows building owners to claim a deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for HVAC, lighting or envelope upgrades resulting in 50 percent savings over the Atlanta-based American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers Inc.’s Standard 90.1-2001, “Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-rise Residential Buildings.” The legislation also creates new credits for combined heat-and-power-system property, small wind-energy property and geothermal heat-pump systems through 2016. Other key provisions include authorization of $800 million for clean-energy bonds for renewable-energy generation facilities; elimination of the $2,000 monetary cap for residential solar-electric installations for property placed in service after Dec. 31, 2008; establishment of provisions for Energy Conservation Bonds issued by states or localities to conduct energy-conservation projects; and extension of a program providing tax-exempt bond status to designated green-building projects on brownfields


The Washington, D.C.-based National Academies of Sciences’ Federal Facilities Council and International Facility Management Association, Houston, hosted a joint policy forum at the U.S. Capitol in September about efficient energy use in buildings. The third-annual Public Policy Forum presented legislators with emerging issues and best practices relating to sustainability in facility management. Discussion topics included energy-efficient solutions for the built environment, the regulation of greenhouse-gas emissions from commercial buildings, and challenges related to creating and supporting sustainable initiatives. For more information, visit