Rosslyn, Va.-based National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA), New York, have called on Congress to support enlarging the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction from $1.80 per square foot to $3 per square foot in order to help stimulate immediate job creation. A letter to Congressional members was co-signed by more than 50 organizations in the construction and environmental arenas. A copy of the letter is available at www.efficentbuildings.org.

In 2005, NEMA and AIA advocated a tax deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for the design and installation of qualified energy efficient building systems in new building construction or in the renovation of existing buildings. Although the deduction, which was enacted that year, has been successfully used to build and retrofit energy-efficient buildings, the current economic crisis has reduced the amount of building design, construction, and renovations nationwide. In addition, because some energy-efficient systems are more expensive to design, build, and install than their less efficient counterparts, the initial increased capital costs often dissuade owners from installing these systems.

According to NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis, the increase would provide a valuable job-stimulating incentive to retrofit and renovate existing commercial buildings. "This tax incentive has a proven record of success in supporting thousands of construction, electrical, design, contractor, and manufacturing jobs prior to the recession," says Gaddis. "An increase is needed to address tight capital and other financing issues facing building owners. This is the type of measure that fits with the outlines of President Obama’s jobs stimulus announcement on Dec. 8, 2009."

“By increasing the deduction to $3 per square foot, Congress could immediately stimulate building design, construction, and renovation across the country, spurring job creation in every state and region, while enhancing our energy independence and improving our nation’s infrastructure for the 21st century,” says AIA Executive VP/CEO Christine McEntee.