H.R. 5396 Would Add Jobs, Strengthen National Energy Policy

The US House of Representatives is looking up—literally—for solutions to stimulate the economy. The recently introduced Green Energy Efficient Roofs and Job Creation Act will stimulate job creation and accelerate the acknowledged role high performance roof systems play in reducing carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency.

The Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) has endorsed the introduction of the Green Energy Efficient Roofs and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 5396), a bill designed to create 40,000 “green” jobs and strengthen the national energy policy. Introduced by Reps. Pascrell, Larson, Herger, and Heller, this powerful legislation combines accelerated depreciation for commercial roofs with robust new energy efficiency standards, which will reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, and put Americans back to work.

Even though the average life of a commercial roof is 17-20 years, the current Internal Revenue Code requires that commercial roofs be depreciated over 39 years. This disconnect results in building owners delaying the replacement of older roofs with newer, more energy-efficient roofs that reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

The Green Energy Efficient Roofs and Job Creation Act of 2010 would lower the current 39-year depreciation standard to 20 years. In doing so, the legislation improves the energy performance of the commercial building sector, which is currently responsible for 18% of U.S. energy use and carbon emissions. The legislation could also decrease the 25% unemployment rate in the construction industry by virtue of the “green” roofing manufacturing and contracting workers needed to construct new energy-efficient roofs.

“This bill insures that federal tax policy recognizes the real world life span of roofing systems while encouraging upgraded roof thermal performance,” said Jared O. Blum, president of PIMA. “ Since most commercial buildings have low rise roofs, the bill will dramatically impact the energy efficiency of the nation’s commercial building stock.”

In one year the legislation would:

  • Create 40,000 new “green” jobs in the roofing industry;
  • Add $1 billion of taxable annual revenue from the roofing industry;
  • Reduce U.S. energy consumption by 11. 4 trillion Btu and save small businesses and consumers $86 million in energy costs; and
  • Reduce U.S. carbon emissions by approximately 800,000 million metric tons.

Applied only to low slope roofs upgraded in 2010 and 2011 where insulation is installed entirely above deck, the targeted proposal is limited to energy-efficient upgrades of existing roofs and not new construction.

This bill is endorsed by the following organizations:

  • Alliance to Save Energy (ASE)
  • American Chemistry Council (ACC)
  • American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
  • Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association
  • Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing (CEIR)
  • Joint Roofing Industry Labor and Management Committee
  • National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA)
  • Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA)
  • Real Estate Roundtable
  • Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance
  • United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers