At the end of September, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) announced The Energy-Efficient Cool Roof Jobs Act, a bill projected to create up to 40,000 jobs nationwide, aid the construction industry and increase energy-efficiency.
In addition to creating thousands of jobs, the bill is expected to add $1 billion of taxable annual revenue in the construction sector and annually reduce carbon emissions by 800,000 metric tons. The bill will also provide economic incentives to speed up the adoption of energy-efficient roofs by removing obstacles in the tax code that hinder roof upgrades.
This is exactly the kind of legislation our country needs. Legislation that creates jobs, improves energy efficiency and lowers operating costs. As a supporting organization of the bill, PIMA believes this is the type of economic stimulus effort that has the potential to pay off in many ways.
The act reduces the depreciation schedule for commercial roof retrofits, lowering the current 39-year depreciation in the tax code to a 20-year depreciation schedule for energy-efficient cool roof systems. To qualify, roofs must include systems with insulation that meets or exceeds ASHRAE 189.1-2009 standards and primary cool roof surfaces in climate zones one through five.
A significant opportunity to increase building energy efficiency lies within the commercial roofing sector, where over 50 billion square feet of flat roofs are currently available for retrofit, four billion of which are retrofit each year. If the insulation levels in these commercial roofs are upgraded from their current R-value to the high performance levels embodied in a High R Roof – 50% above the minimum required values – annual energy savings would exceed $2 billion.
Co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), the bipartisan bill has the support of PIMA, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Associated Buildings & Contractors (ABC), Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA), Environmental and Energy Study Institute, United Union of Roofers and several construction industry associations.