Sen. Carper’s Bipartisan Bill to Save Energy, Taxpayer Money Signed into Law by President Obama

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

WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama signed into law bipartisan legislation authored by Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Reps. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) and Judy Biggert (R-IL), the 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.

“I want to thank the President and my Congressional colleagues, particularly Sen. Collins, Reps. Carnahan and Biggert for supporting this important measure,” said Sen. Carper, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on federal financial management. “This law will provide the federal government with another key 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 and I will continue to push for measures that use taxpayer dollars as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

The bipartisan legislation 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.