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PennFuture heralds State House passage of green buildings legislation

Bill will save taxpayers money, reduce energy use and cut pollution

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture) commended the Pennsylvania State House for today's passage, by a vote of 163-32, of House Bill 34, sponsored by Rep. Kate Harper, R- Montgomery, which will provide clear high-performance building standards for most construction projects involving buildings owned or substantially leased by the Commonwealth.

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"This smart legislation is a major win for taxpayers, the environment, and the economy," said Steve Stroman, policy director for PennFuture. "Building our government facilities to these standards will save taxpayers money by cutting energy costs drastically; it will protect our families and businesses from harmful air pollution; and it will make our public workers more productive. This is a terrific move forward for everyone.

"We commend Rep. Harper for her wise leadership in crafting and moving this bill to passage in the House," continued Stroman. "And we are pleased that House Republican leaders moved this bill forward so expeditiously in the new session."  Stroman also thanked House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Majority Chair Ron Miller, R-York, and Minority Chair Greg Vitali, D-Delaware, for their work on behalf of this important legislation. 

"PennFuture was pleased to work with the Commonwealth's green buildings advocates and organizations to make this legislation move forward," continued Stroman. "We look forward to working to pass this bill in the State Senate, where Sen. John Rafferty, R-Montgomery, has been a strong champion of green building legislation."

Buildings account for approximately 41 percent of energy use, 71 percent of electricity consumption, and 14 percent of water use. Studies show that the high-performance buildings in House Bill 34 would lead to substantial savings in operating costs over the life of the buildings, saving taxpayers money on energy and water bills. High-performance buildings cause less pollution, generate less solid waste, and contribute to a healthier, more productive work environment for their occupants.

House Bill 34 would enable Pennsylvania state government, including the State System of Higher Education, to serve as a model and leader for the rest of the state in smartly promoting the use of green buildings, using (and reusing) Pennsylvania products and building materials. A variety of green building rating systems would be acceptable under the bill.

PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization founded in 1998, with staff in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Wilkes-Barre. Working from the premise that "Every environmental victory grows the economy," PennFuture has successfully advocated for landmark environmental legislation, including passage of the largest-ever environmental funding bond, public investment in green energy and energy savings programs, passage of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act, adoption of the Clean Vehicles Program, and adoption of a regulation to protect Pennsylvania's babies by restricting mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants. The Philadelphia Inquirer called PennFuture the "state's leading environmental advocacy organization," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named the organization "one of the ten most influential groups on the issue of natural gas drilling," and StateImpact Pennsylvania, an online collaboration of NPR stations across the state, called PennFuture "the commonwealth's main environmental advocate."

Contact: Elaine Labalme
email: [email protected]

SOURCE Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture)

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