Bipartisan Bill To Save Energy, Taxpayer Money Heads To President for Signature

Legislation authored by Sens. Carper, Collins; Reps. Carnahan and Biggert

WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives passed legislation authored by Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Reps. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) and Judy Biggert (R-IL), Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act of 2010. This bill is designed to ensure those who operate and maintain federal facilities have the training and resources they need to safeguard the significant investment we’ve made in energy efficient buildings. The bill will now go to the President’s desk for his signature.


"I want to thank Sen. Collins, Reps. Carnahan and Biggert and my colleagues in both the Senate and the House for supporting this important bill," said Sen. Carper, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on federal financial management. "This bipartisan legislation will ensure that the federal government has one more tool to ensure that federal buildings are properly maintained and operated at their highest performance levels.  You wouldn’t give a race car to an inexperienced driver and expect them to win the Indy 500.  In the same way, we can’t expect our federal buildings to run at peak efficiency if we don’t provide our personnel with the training required to make that happen.  This is just a first step to managing our nation’s federal property and buildings in a more practical and cost-efficient manner I look forward to seeing the President sign our effort into law."  


"Targeted training will enable us to stress core competencies such as building operation and maintenance, energy management, safety and design functions," said Sen. Susan Collins, ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. "Right now, the General Services Administration says that contractors, who operated 97 percent of the federal facility management, lack qualified, well-trained people to manage the building in the most effective manner.  The result is a decline in the expected lifecycle of federal buildings and equipment.


"We need to ensure that we have the best trained, most qualified workforce operating this vast portfolio of federal assets, totaling more than 500,00 buildings, structures and associated infrastructure worldwide," continued Sen. Collins. "Training is vital to helping guarantee that taxpayer dollars – used to operate and invest in these facilities – are being spent as efficiently and effectively as possible."


"Sustainability and energy conservation isn’t just about the air we breathe or the water we drink.  It’s about saving money for families, businesses and taxpayers," said Rep. Russ Carnahan, House sponsor of the legislation and co-chair of the Congressional High-Performance Building Caucus.  "Saving energy and taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be a partisan issue. It is always gratifying to work with people who are willing to set politics aside in order to do what’s right for the people we represent."


"What the American people want right now are spending cuts and jobs," said Rep. Judy Biggert, co-chair of the Congressional High-Performance Building Caucus.  "This bipartisan bill will help deliver both by cutting federal energy costs and helping train our workforce for good paying jobs utilizing cutting-edge, green technologies.  The Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act is a smart investment in human energy that will benefit our environment and allow the federal government to lead by example in the rapidly-developing field of high-performance building design and maintenance.  I’d like to thank my Caucus co-chair, Russ Carnahan, and Senators Tom Carper and Susan Collins for working with me to push this bill over the finish line despite a tough legislative calendar and send it to the President."


The bipartisan legislation passed today received broad support from over 50 business, advocacy, trade and building safety organizations, including the U.S. Green Building Council, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, the National Institute of Building Sciences, the American Institute of Architects, and manufacturers such as Siemens, DuPont and Johnson Controls.  


"I commend the Senators and Representatives who have led on the Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act, showing vision and leadership in introducing and passing this much needed legislation, which was included in USGBC’s Top 10 Pieces of Green Building Legislation," said Bryan Howard, Legislative Director at U.S. Green Building Council. "Federal buildings have and should serve as leading examples of sustainability and high performance- and use taxpayer dollars responsibly by ensuring these buildings perform at peak efficiency. This legislation helps ensure continued federal leadership in green building by providing personnel who are engaged in the operation and maintenance of federal buildings with the necessary skills and training they need."


The federal government is the single largest energy user in the nation. In fiscal year 2008, the total energy consumption of federal government buildings and operations was roughly 1.5 percent of all energy consumption in the United States.  The energy bill for the federal government that year was $24.5 billion or about 0.8 percent of total federal expenditures.  Of that $24.5 billion, over $7 billion was spent on energy to operate federal buildings.  The Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act of 2010 will require the General Services Administration (GSA), commonly referred to as the government’s "landlord", to identify competencies that federal buildings personnel should possess and require that they demonstrate them. GSA will work with private industry and institutions of higher learning to create comprehensive continuing education courses to ensure that federal employees have the training to maintain federal buildings in a manner consistent with industry best practices.