The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently developed a set of recommendations for the allocation of funds in President Barack Obama's draft economic recovery plan—the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009—to the planning, design, and construction of energy-efficient, sustainable buildings and healthy communities. "Rebuild and Renew: The AIA Plan" urges Congress and the new administration to revitalize the building industry by providing nearly $100 billion for building projects across 24 months, which would create 1.6 million jobs in design and construction.

"Rebuild and Renew" addresses five key policy areas that the AIA believes require immediate attention: 21st-century schools; green commercial, residential, and institutional buildings; historic preservation projects; transit-oriented, mixed-use development and complete streets projects; and tax relief for businesses.

The AIA's plan encourages more funding and more incentives for greening commercial buildings than the current bill before Congress, which allocates only $6 billion for energy-efficient upgrades to 75 percent of all federal buildings. Part of the plan also calls for longer planning and design periods for projects to ensure the most effective and cost-efficient progress and prevent wasted funding. To download complete details of the AIA's "Rebuild and Renew" plan in PDF, click here; for a summary click here.

"While optimistic that the proposed stimulus bill is going to help accelerate the greening of our nation's homes, buildings, and communities, we strongly urge Congress to ensure that the plan provides for long-term projects in addition to "shovel-ready" projects," said Paul Mendelsohn, AIA vice president of government and community relations, in a statement about the stimulus bill.

The AIA is encouraging its members to take action by contacting members of Congress and by sending a video message to President Obama via YouTube. Click here to watch the AIA Board members' YouTube messages to the newly elected President.