U.S. Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL-13th) today joined area leaders for a fact-finding tour of one local police station and several homes that have been designed and constructed using the latest in energy-saving, green technologies and techniques. Joining Biggert at the Orland Park Police Headquarters - a gold-certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) facility -- were Orland Park Mayor Daniel McLaughlin, Police Chief Tim McCarthy, Deputy Chief of Police Jerry Hughes, as well as several green building experts. Later, Biggert toured the Illinois Homebuilders Association's annual home show in Plainfield, featuring eight custom-built, green homes. Joining Biggert there were Scott Eckstein, President of the Illinois Home Builders Association, and representatives from six local architectural firms.
"It's not just cars. Homes, offices, schools - they all consume surprisingly large amounts of energy," said Biggert, a senior member of the House Science and Technology Committee. "New technologies and innovative designs can substantially reduce energy consumption, but they haven't yet been adopted on a broad scale. We aim to change that."
U.S. buildings - housing, offices, schools, factories, etc. - consume approximately 40% of the primary energy and 70% of the electricity in the nation annually. They also account for 39% of U.S. Carbon Dioxide emissions per year - approximately the same amount of total carbon emissions produced by Japan, France, and the United Kingdom combined. In order to better address this issue, Biggert recently teamed with Representative Russ Carnahan (D-MO-3rd) to found the Congressional High Performance Buildings Caucus. The purpose of Caucus is to raise awareness of green building techniques and advance policies that will encourage the adoption of green building innovations like geothermal heating and cooling, high-efficiency insulation, tankless water heaters, and recycled construction materials.
"Some of the most efficient and environmentally-friendly building techniques are on display right here in our community," said Biggert. "Unfortunately, today's high performance buildings are the exception; not the rule."
Biggert already has introduced one proposal to jump-start the green building industry, H.R. 84 - the Energy Efficient Buildings Act. The bill would provide competitive grants to offset some of the added costs associated with the initial design and construction of high performance buildings.