In a joint letter to the U.S. Senate, The Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association (SMACNA) and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Rail and Transportation (SMART) Workers expressed their enthusiastic support for S. 3591, The Commercial Building Modernization Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Snowe (R-Maine) and Bingaman (D-N.M.) with the co-sponsorship of Senators Cardin (D-Md.) and Feinstein (D-Calif.).
The letter said:
“S. 3591 would expand upon an efficiency-based energy initiative represented by the Better Buildings Initiative (BBI). The BBI is a balanced policy featuring tax and program investment incentives producing greater efficiency in residential, commercial, and public facilities. All of these initiatives have created construction activity, skilled jobs, economic growth and energy savings with improvement to environmental quality. This bill especially its reformed IRS Section 179D provision, would increase energy efficiency retrofits as well as offer deep and lasting cuts to the energy bills for business and public facilities.
“While there has been a far greater interest in new and existing building energy efficiency retrofits in recent years, SMART, formerly the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association, and SMACNA joined with a coalition of construction allies including real estate developers and commercial property owners supporting greater tax initiatives similar to the reformed Section 179D in S. 3591. By expanding incentives for whole ($3.00/square foot) and partial ($2.20/square foot) building renovations, S. 3591 would encourage a far wider variety of energy efficiency retrofit projects. In addition, by including Real Estate Investment Trust properties (REITs) in the pool of projects eligible for allocation of the 179D incentive, the reform of 179D as featured in S. 3591 would also jump start many projects long sidelined while industry economic activity and employment suffered.
“Enhancing facility energy efficiency is a key factor in driving down the operating expenses of public spaces while boosting the productivity and commercial competitiveness of rental properties. We speak from vast experience as thousands of our members have retrofitted commercial office buildings, warehouses, schools, and multi-unit residential facilities for high efficiency impact. Our experience convinces us that the reforms to IRS Section 179D would enhance commercial efficiency retrofits and spur building quality in new construction projects as well. We are exceptionally well-prepared for the increased building activity predicted to result from enacting the reform to 179D. Our skilled workers and contractors are continually trained, retrained and educated on the latest innovations and technologies involved in energy retrofits. Our unparalleled focus on innovative developments is a core part of our joint labor – management directed apprenticeship programs and contractor energy management education.
“We believe Senators Snowe and Bingaman have produced a balanced and bipartisan reform in this bill that will invigorate energy efficiency construction activity across the United States. When coupled with existing energy efficiency tax and program initiatives driving the private sector toward greater energy efficiency in residential and commercial building markets, S. 3591 would quickly benefit skilled jobs, energy efficiency and the construction economy.
“Both SMART and SMACNA urge the quick passage of S. 3591, The Commercial Building Modernization Act, this year during the post-election session of Congress.”
The International Association of Sheet Metal, Rail and Transportation (SMART) Workers represents more than 200,000 skilled men and women employed in the construction, manufacturing, service, railroad, and shipyard industries. The Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association (SMACNA) is supported by more than 4,500 construction firms engaged in industrial, commercial, residential, architectural, and specialty sheet metal and air conditioning construction in public and private markets throughout the United States.
SMART / SMACNA members can be found on a wide variety of commercial, industrial and residential projects across the nation in urban and suburban areas, most advancing energy efficiency outcomes. We specialize in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; architectural sheet metal; industrial sheet metal; kitchen equipment; specialty stainless steel work; manufacturing; siding and decking; testing and balancing; service; and energy management and maintenance.
SMACNA, an international trade association representing 4,500 contributing contractor firms, is dedicated to promoting quality and excellence in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry. SMACNA has national offices in Chantilly, Va., outside of Washington, D.C., as well as on Capitol Hill. Visit smacna.org