When the Democratic Party gained control of Congress two years ago, House Democrats created the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. The committee’s mission is clear from its URL alone—globalwarming.house.gov—and over the course of its tenure, the committee has heard testimony from scientists, environmentalists, politicians, professors, and business leaders. Yesterday it added green building experts to that list.
At a hearing entitled “Building Green, Saving Green: Constructing Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Buildings,” five stars in the field, including one from Hollywood, spoke about how Congress should push for laws that would require more sustainable building practices nationwide.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom spoke about, among other things, his proposal to require large-scale private developments to adhere to LEED standards. (As we reported last year, mayor Newsom is in a race with Los Angeles to see which city can push their plan through first.) Michelle Moore, a senior vice president at the U.S. Green Building Council, testified about the considerable impact of buildings on the environment and how they can be mitigated through smart building and, equally if not more importantly, retrofitting practices.
Kent Peterson, president of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, spoke about the importance of implementing tough energy standards within local building codes. Tony Stall, vice president for marketing at Dryvit, testified to the importance of cladding systems, like those his company produces, in reducing the energy requirements of a building.
But the darling of the day was no doubt Edward Norton, environmentalist, friend of the High Line, and grandson of a famed developer. Norton was speaking in his capacity as a trustee of Enterprise Community Partners, the community development non-profit his grandfather, James Rouse, founded. He urged Congress to ensure that sustainability reaches all Americans, not just those who can afford it.
The committee is due to post a video of the proceedings on its website soon, and the testimony of the five speakers is already there. In the meantime, check out The San Francisco Chronicle for a story focusing on Newsom’s testimony and his initiative, which AN’s California bureau says is due out in the near future.