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July 16, 2009 - ASCE Statement - High Performance Buildings

Statement of the
American Society of Civil Engineers
to the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings,
and Emergency Management
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
U.S. House of Representatives
Green Buildings Offer Multiple Benefits: Costs Savings, Clean Environment,
and Jobs

July 15, 2009

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports efforts by the federal government to promote and expand the development of technologies for highperformance building that conserve energy and provide a safer and more sustainable future. ASCE is ready to work with Congress and the Administration to further the understanding, use and benefits for green or smart buildings, both in the public and private sectors.

ASCE was founded in 1852 and is the country's oldest national civil engineering organization. It represents more than 146,000 civil engineers individually in private practice, government, industry, and academia who are dedicated to the advancement of the science and profession of civil engineering. ASCE is a non-profit educational and professional society organized under Part 1.501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Civil engineers have a leading role in planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining the built environment and understand the significant benefits to society of highperformance buildings. In their role, ASCE members contribute to energy efficiency through the design of energy-efficient buildings and facilities, use of materials that contribute to sustainability, reuse of facilities through rehabilitation that eliminates one deconstruct/construct cycle, and design for disaster resilience that minimizes maintenance costs and premature replacement.

High-performance buildings are defined by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-058) as a building that integrates and optimizes on a life-cycle basis all major highperformance attributes including energy conservation, environment, safety, security, durability, accessibility, cost-benefit, productivity, sustainability, functionality, and operational considerations.

From the materials produced to construct and maintain buildings and the energy used to operate them, buildings consume vast amounts of resources over their lifetimes and are responsible for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions. High-performance buildings, which address human, environmental, economic and total societal impact, are the result of the application of the highest level design, construction, operation and maintenance principles—a paradigm change for the built environment.

The American Society of Civil Engineers thanks you for the opportunity to share our views. We look forward to working with the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in efforts to address this important issue. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Martin Hight, ASCE’s Senior Manager of Government Relations, at 202-789-7843 or