Rosslyn, Va.-based National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and Washington, D.C.-based American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently renewed its call on Congress to support increasing 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. More than 80 organizations in the manufacturing, construction, and environmental arenas have now co-signed a letter to Congressional members asking for an increase in this particular tax deduction. This represents an increase of more than 40% in the number of signatures since December 2009.

A copy of the letter is available on the NEMA Web site.

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. 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 December 8, 2009," says Gaddis.

"The entire construction industry accounts for billions of dollars nationwide yet continues to suffer at near historic proportions," says AIA Executive VP and CEO Christine McEntee. "Congress could have an immediate impact that will stimulate building design, construction and renovation across the country by increasing the deduction to $3 per square foot. This will help spur much needed job creation in every state and region, while enhancing our energy independence and improving our nation's infrastructure for the 21st century."