High-Performance Buildings Go to Washington
The High-Performance Commercial Green Building Partnership and the High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition have similar names and some of the same members, but the two groups have different agendas.
The partnership, chaired by ASHRAE, was formed to advise the DOE about high-performance buildings in response to a DOE request for such an organization. The partnership was formed earlier this year and requested formal recognition by the DOE in February, but the department has yet to grant that recognition. Members of the partnership, which isn't a lobbying group, include professional organizations, trade associations and manufacturers.
"We would come together and serve strictly in an advisory role to the DOE as it devises programs and other initiatives to advance energy efficiency in commercial buildings," says Jason Hartke, director of advocacy and public policy for the U.S. Green Building Council, which is a member of the partnership.
It's important for DOE to take the step of providing formal recognition of the partnership, says Jeff Harris, the Alliance to Save Energy's vice president for programs. "They have to be players and be constructive and bring everyone together," he says. "Also, there is a need for resources to seed a new area like this because you want to have a broad cross-section of participants."
The caucus coalition is almost two organizations, with the caucus comprised of Congressional members and the coalition comprised of ASHRAE, the USGBC, BOMA, the Alliance to Save Energy and other trade groups and associations.
Caucus members focus on the major impacts that buildings have on health, safety and welfare and what the opportunities exist to design, construct and operate high-performance buildings. Coalition members then advise Congressional members on these topics.
The caucus coalition doesn't just focus on the green aspects of buildings, instead taking a broader approach to include cost-effectiveness, sustainability, historic preservation and aesthetics.
"It informs members about the benefits of high-performance green buildings, including the environmental, economic and safety/security aspects," Hartke says. "It was formed to be there as a support group and to give guidance."
— Desiree J. Hanford