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Congress Hears Industry Testimony on Green Building

On Tuesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing entitled “Green Buildings: Benefits to Health, the Environment, and the Bottom Line.” You should be able to access an archived webcast of the hearing here, as well as hard copies of the testimony provided by each witness.

The Committee heard testimony from Robert Fox of Cook + Fox Architects, Peter Templeton from USGBC, Claire Barnett of the Healthy Schools Network, Ray Tonjes, Chairman of the NAHB Green Building Subcommittee, and Ward Hubbell, President of the Green Building Initiative. I haven’t read through the testimony yet but I’d like to point out some comments made by NAHB’s Tonjes, who “noted that the recent strength and growth of green building is due in large part to its voluntary nature, which provides builders and developers the flexibility that is essential for incorporating the principles of sustainable design.”

Voluntary, market-driven green building standards are preferable to mandates, which can reduce the incentive and the market pressure to adapt and to change,” said Tonjes. “NAHB members have proven that a voluntary, region-specific, flexible program can be both truly green and also allow for innovation.”

Tonjes also called on Congress to assist in keeping the market free from green building mandates and extending and increasing federal tax credits that are offered under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The article in A to Z of Building is the only one I’ve been able to identify so far discussing the hearing (there is a press release on the GBI site, linked above); if you come across anything else, please feel free to leave a link in the comments.

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