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July 3, 2010 9:00 AM CDT

AGC Details Measures to Improve Buildings, Infrastructure

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The nation’s buildings and infrastructure will become more efficient, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting energy consumption, according to a new green construction plan released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). The plan outlines measures designed to stimulate demand for green construction projects, boost infrastructure capacity, and improve building efficiency and green construction practices.

The plan, called Building a Green Future, identifies measures public officials, developers, and the construction community must take to lessen the impact of our built environment on our natural environment. Measures in the plan include doubling existing energy-efficiency tax credits for commercial buildings; passing the Building Star program that invests $6 billion in improving the efficiency of commercial buildings this year; and speeding reviews and boosting local tax credits for green building projects.

The plan calls for public building projects to incorporate state of the art environmental solutions and for the federal government to make pragmatic investments in research and technology. It makes it easier to launch new transit projects, shifts cargo traffic to energy-efficient barges and accelerates federal approval for new transportation projects in congested corridors. And it calls for making the level of transportation investments virtually every expert agrees are needed to improve capacity and reduce traffic.

The plan also calls for faster approval for new sustainable forms of power generation, including nuclear, wind and geothermal power facilities. It tackles the environmental and health threats posed by aging and leaky clean and waste water systems. And it urges contractors to recycle more building materials and cut waste, while making it easier for construction firms and building owners to green their day-to-day operations.

The plan was needed to reduce the impact the nation’s built environment has on the natural environment. By taking advantage of new green building components, infrastructure management technology and environmentally building practices, the environmental performance of the nation’s built structures could be significantly improved. He noted that researchers estimate that CO2 emissions from the transportation sector, alone, could be cut by 30 percent with the right combination of new technology and capacity.

Nationwide, 310 metro areas lost construction jobs, while only 16 managed to remain stable and just 11 added construction jobs. Chicago lost the most construction jobs (25,000, 19 percent) and Monroe, Mich., lost the highest percentage (39 percent, 900 jobs.) Meanwhile, Eau Claire, Wis., experienced both the largest percentage and total increase in construction jobs (40 percent, 800 jobs).


About the Author

With over 33,000 member firms, AGC of America is the leading association for the construction industry. AGC provides a full range of services satisfying the needs and concerns of its members, thereby improving the quality of construction and protecting the public interest. Learn More at www.agc.org.

 

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