New Analysis Says Better Buildings Initiative Would Create More Than 114,000 New Jobs

June 14th, 2011 by DWM Magazine

More than 114,000 new jobs, many which would come from the construction industry, would be created through the Better Buildings Initiative (BBI), a White House plan to make existing commercial and multifamily buildings more energy-efficient, according to a new analysis released yesterday by The Real Estate Roundtable (RER), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). NRDC, RER and USGBC retained the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to conduct the analysis.

The BBI, announced by President Obama in February, combines financial and other incentives to improve energy efficiency in the nation’s commercial and multi-family buildings stock.

The biggest job driver in the BBI, which accounts for more than 77,000 of the new jobs, is a redesigned tax deduction for energy efficiency upgrades of buildings. The joint analysis also shows how the initiative would have a rippling effect throughout the economy to generate more manufacturing, production, and service jobs – and demonstrating how public funds can leverage significant private investments to expand the benefits to the economy.

According to Heidi Garrett-Peltier from PERI, “We don’t have a timeframe on the jobs that are mentioned in the report; a lot are construction jobs a lot are manufacturing jobs so…as long as the funding continues the jobs are there.”

“This Obama Initiative works for our economy in two important ways: it helps create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs while making us more energy-efficient,” says Jeffrey D. DeBoer, chief executive officer and president of RER. “Unemployment in the construction sector continues to hover above 16 percent. Lending is still difficult to come by in many markets, so financial incentives like these proposed by the White House will leverage private investment to help propel our cities and suburbs forward into a new energy economy.” He adds, “This is one federal initiative we think will put people back to work.”

“The BBI will achieve multiple benefits with an amplifying effect – first and foremost, the initiative will create green jobs,” adds Roger Platt, senior vice president of global policy & law with USGBC. “This program will also lower energy consumption, reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and allow America to retain its competitive edge in the international marketplace as a leader in constructing, retrofitting and operating high-performing buildings.”

Platt expects the BBI will allow jobs to be created by the entire supply chain of companies that produce the product “for this next generation of building.”

“[This] has the potential to accelerate what is already a nascent retrofitting building revolution,” Platt says.

“The BBI helps fill the country’s need for targeted programs with well-defined jobs creation goals,” says Ashok Gupta, senior energy economist with the NRDC. “This plan will help bring lenders into the retrofit market to provide financing for commercial building efficiency projects.”

Duane Desiderio, vice president of RER, notes, “No pay source has been identified for this particular program,” but adds, “we know that leaders from both parties are looking for creative ideas to generate jobs.”

Desiderio notes that the analysis was brought to President Obama’s attention yesterday.



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  1. BBI would certainly help. A lot of multifamily projects are already seeing the advantages of building efficiently with better doors and windows from the start of the construction process. Good post on the topic here: http://blog.southern-energy.com/index.php/sem-energy-efficiency/a-growing-trend-energy-efficiency-multifamily-housing/

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