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Stimulus Act - Impact on Green Building

Timothy W. Martin
Geoffrey M. White
Erik Lattig
Frost Brown Todd LLC - Office

March 20, 2009

Previously published on March 3, 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “Recovery Act”) offers multiple opportunities for property owners, developers and other stakeholders in the commercial real estate arena.  This advisory specifically focuses on green building, as there are tens of billions of dollars in funding initiatives for green building in the Recovery Act.  Many of the provisions are complex and some of the details have yet to be fully provided, so it is impossible to accurately summarize the details of each item.

Some of these beneficial changes are:

  • Federal Building Efficiency:  $4.5 billion in funds are allocated to the U.S. General Services Administration (the “GSA”) to convert GSA facilities to “High-Performance Green buildings”, thus making federal buildings more energy efficient.  The GSA has adopted the U.S. Green Building Council’s (“USGBC”) LEED certification system and has set a goal that new construction or substantial renovation of a building or leased space over 10,000 rentable square feet receive at least LEED Silver certification. 
  • Establishment of Office of Federal High Performance Green Buildings:  $4 million in funds were set aside for the establishment of the Office of Federal High Performance Green Buildings within the GSA, which office was created by the 2007 Act.  The Office of Federal High Performance Green Buildings may have the longest lasting impact on the green building movement based upon the future actions it will take regarding federal government office space and buildings overseen by the GSA.
  • Renovation of Department of Defense (the “DOD”) Buildings: A portion of the $4.2 billion in funds to modernize various DOD facilities will go toward green building related improvements.
  • Local Government Energy Efficiency and Conservation: $6.3 billion in grants to help state and local governments make investments that make them more energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions.
  • ENERGY STAR Appliances: $300 million to provide consumers with rebates for buying energy efficient ENERGY STAR products to replace old appliances.
  • Public Housing Capital Fund:  $4 billion is allocated for the Public Housing Capital Fund to retrofit the public housing projects to make them more energy efficient.
  • Internet Resources: A multitude of websites are being increasingly utilized and/or created in order to provide up-to-date information as to the available Recovery Act projects.  The website www.fedbizopps.gov is an excellent resource for federal projects.  As of March 1, 2009, conducting a “Quick Search” using the term “LEED” results in 313 specific federal opportunities.  Another useful site is www.recovery.gov, which provides specific detail regarding the Recovery Act, including a useful tool that contains links to each of the individual state websites that have been created in connection with the Recovery Act.


The views expressed in this document are solely the views of the author and not Martindale-Hubbell. This document is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.

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