Military to Incorporate Sustainable Construction
Former President George W. Bush signed the U.S. Department of Defense authorization bill last year that contains legislation directing the DOD to incorporate principles of sustainable design and life-cycle-cost-effective practices in military construction. All projects within the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force will be affected, particularly in the way building materials are selected. Although some military-service branches favor the use of building materials that provide long-term sustainability and low maintenance costs, other branches have sacrificed long-term cost effectiveness and performance in the interest of achieving short-term objectives. To learn more, visit www.defenselink.mil.
Stimulus Bill Passes President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law on Feb. 17, at a cost of $787 billion. The bill includes several components related to green building. Renewable-energy grants are equal to 30 percent of the cost of solar property. To be eligible, the project must commence construction in 2009 or 2010 and be placed in service by Jan. 1, 2017. The repeals penalty for financing solar projects allows businesses and individuals to qualify for the full amount of the solar tax credit even if projects are financed with local development bonds or other subsidized energy financing. A loan guarantee program established a temporary U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C., loan guarantee program for renewable-energy and electric-power-transmission projects.
The bill also repeals the $2,000 monetary cap on solar-water heating to make it property eligible for the full 30 percent tax credit. The manufacturing investment credit provides up to $2 billion to fund 30 percent investment tax credit for facilities engaged in the manufacture of advanced energy property. “Now that the economic stimulus bill is finalized, architects and design and construction professionals are ready to work closely with state and local officials to help them use these resources effectively,” says Marvin Malecha, FAIA, president of the Washington-based American Institute of Architects. “The bill funds infrastructure projects to create thousands of jobs in industries devastated by the economic crisis. And, if executed smartly, the benefits of the investment will last for decades. However, we urge our federal-government leaders to consider this bill’s funding a modest start. With a $2.2 trillion shortfall in infrastructure investment, including a $300 billion need to repair and modernize schools, the work of Congress and the administration is far from over.” For more information about AIA's support of the bill, visit www.aia.org/walkthewalk.
Survey Reveals Increase in Green Building
Architects and building owners increasingly are implementing sustainable- design practices, according to the 2008 Autodesk/AIA Green Index, an annual survey from Autodesk Inc., San Rafael, Calif., and the American Institute of Architects, Washington, D.C. The index shows a doubling in the market demand for green buildings during the past year, as well as positive shifts in architects’ attitudes toward their ability to positively impact climate change. About 42 percent of architects reported clients asking for greenbuilding elements on a majority of their projects with 47 percent of clients actually implementing green-building elements, an increase of 15 percent from 2007. Client demand remains the leading driver for green building with 66 percent of surveyed architects citing it as the primary influence on their practice of green building.
Architects believe the primary reasons their clients are asking for green buildings are reduced operating costs, marketing and market demand. Thirty-four percent of architects now are implementing energy-efficient or vegetated roof coverings on more than half of their new projects compared with 7 percent in 2007. “The results of the Autodesk/AIA Green Index survey are encouraging because [the survey] shows that clients and the market are realizing the bottom-line benefits of sustainable design,” says Christine McEntee, AIA’s executive vice president and chief executive officer. The full report is available at www.autodesk.com/green.