President Calls on Congress to Build a Greener America

Justin Sumner
Jan. 27, 2012

As the nation tuned in to the President’s State of The Union address on January 24th, many American’s watched the President, listening for those buzzwords that interest them most. For instance, the word job was spoken 42 times in the 90 minute speech, and oil 10 times. The President mentioned energy a total of 23 times, built 12, and clean 9.

The ideas presented in the annual address to congress are summarized in an eight-page action plan titled Blueprint for an America Built to Last. How appropriate that the President use the image of buildings in America, with the Green Building movement already shaping an America built to last by promoting a sustainable environment and reducing waste and pollution in commercial and residential buildings.

“Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last — an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.”

President Obama couldn’t have said it better when he added, “Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy. So here’s another proposal: Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings. Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, and more jobs for construction workers who need them. Send me a bill that creates these jobs.”

Anyone watching the speech would know it focused on jobs and the economy, but the environment was not far from President Obama’s mind during the address. Here are a few take-aways from the speech alluding to the current administration’s dedication to the green building movement and its benefits to the American people:

“Building this new energy future should be just one part of a broader agenda to repair America’s infrastructure. So much of America needs to be rebuilt. We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges. A power grid that wastes too much energy.”

“In the next few weeks, I will sign an Executive Order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects. But you need to fund these projects. Take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation building right here at home.”

“There’s never been a better time to build, especially since the construction industry was one of the hardest-hit when the housing bubble burst.”

“I’m directing my Administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power three million homes. And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history — with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.”