Energy Independence mirrors "green" industry

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued the following news release:

During a keynote address today at the Pennsylvania Green Growth Partnership Forum, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty said Governor Edward G. Rendell's goals of helping consumers conserve energy, reducing pollution, and spurring innovation and economic growth through his Energy Independence Strategy mirror the tenets of the growing "green" building industry.

"The cleanest and cheapest energy available is that which we don't use," said McGinty. "Green builders understand that and Governor Rendell is committed to supporting growth and innovation in those industries that promote conservation, efficiency, a cleaner environment, and a stronger economy. "Our state is facing an economic train wreck in less than two-and-a-half years. Once the caps that have held electricity rates in place for the last decade expire, our families and businesses are going to open their monthly bills to find double- or triple-digit increases. Under the Governor's Energy Independence Strategy, we'll invest $850 million to expand the development of clean and alternative energy solutions, help consumers cut their energy consumption, and strengthen our national security and economy by reducing our dependence on foreign oil while using more homegrown energy sources.

"That will help everyone save money-to the tune of $1 billion a year," added McGinty. "It will also help us avoid building costly new generation facilities that pollute the environment, or stringing high-voltage transmission lines through our backyards that deliver dirtier power from other states to Pennsylvania."

The secretary said the Energy Independence Strategy allocates up to $500 million in grants and low-interest loans for clean energy projects, including the development LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified buildings. Funds may be used for acquisition, renovation and construction. Pennsylvania has been in the forefront of developing high-performance buildings, second only to California in the number of LEED certified projects.

McGinty said there are clear environmental reasons to develop more green buildings.

"America's buildings consume more energy than any other sector of the U.S. economy, including transportation and industry," said McGinty, who added that U.S. buildings consume 71 percent of the nation's electricity and generate 36 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions. "Green building is the right choice for businesses and the right choice for our environment."

Governor Rendell announced a $2 million investment last year to help establish the Pennsylvania Green Growth Partnership. It is a coordinated statewide effort that includes the University Pennsylvania's Center for Technology and Sustainability, and the Green Building Alliance in Pittsburgh. The Pennsylvania Green Growth Partnership is dedicated to:

* Conducting industry-led applied research for commercialization opportunities and evaluating existing green materials to identify possible improvements without sacrificing performance or functionality. Additionally, the group works to locate the investment capital companies need to grow and bring new products to the market.

* Providing green design assistance architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms on ways to integrate energy-efficient technologies and design principles into new buildings, while seeking to link Pennsylvania-based manufacturers with AEC companies.

* Performing community outreach to educate the AEC community through workshops, and assist homeowners in construction and rehabilitation For more information on green buildings, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: GGGC. There, you can click on the "Fueling Energy Savings" icon to learn more about the Energy Independence Strategy.

Contact: Neil Weaver, 717/787-1323.


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