Anticipating the scheduled mark-up of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on May 8, more than 350 associations and companies have signed a letter voicing opposition to special interests that are lobbying to reduce or cut energy conservation requirements for federal buildings. The legislation up for discussion was introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and promotes greater use of energy efficiency technology in commercial and residential buildings and by manufacturers.

In a letter released by the AIA and addressed to Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the signatories voice concern over efforts to weaken or repeal Section 433(a) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which requires federal agencies to phase out the consumption of energy from greenhouse gas-emitting sources in new or renovated federal buildings by 2030. Currently a waiver exists for buildings that can show that such reductions are not technically feasible. However, the letter notes, "some have argued that these requirements, in Sec. 433(a) of the 2007 law, are not achieveable, but the facts tell a different story." To further support this, the AIA also released a "Myth vs. Fact" document on Section 433.

The letter states "weakening or repealing federal building energy policies will dramatically harm the federal government's ability to design and build facilities that use less energy, save taxpayers money, and protect the environment."

Click here for the full letter and list of signatories, which includes organizations such as the AIA, Architecture 2030, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the New Buildings Institute and the Rocky Mountain Institute; and architecture firms HOK, DLR Group, Gensler, Perkins + Will, SmithGroup, SOM, and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects.