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AIA Grassroots – Taking It To The Hill

On February 7-10th, members from the AIA Orlando board attended the AIA Grassroots 2007 conference in Washington D.C. Representatives from Orlando included Karen Jones, Executive Director; Carl Shea, President-Elect; Mike Lingerfelt, State Director and Bob Miller, Director Government Affairs. The purpose of the AIA Grassroots annual meeting is to educate new local chapter board members and to advocate change on a Federal level by presenting the issues to members of Congress.

AIA Orlando board members spent an entire day meeting individually with Congressman John Mica, Ric Keller and representatives from Corrine Brown and Tom Feeney’s offices. The Advocacy Day was a tremendous success. AIA Orlando presented the primary issues affecting architects and the clients we represent. This year, the primary issues were threefold:

Federal Building Energy Efficiency*
The AIA believes that the federal government should encourage energy efficiency, especially as it relates to the built environment. Congress, with its authroity over federal buildings, can promote energy efficient practices by establishing energy efficiency requirements for newly constructed or significantly renovated federal buildings.

Sustainable Design & Water Quality*
Buildings make significant contributions of contaminants to water bodies by diverting rainfall from reaching permeable soil and channeling it to storm water runoff. The AIA advocates strengthening federal regulatory requirements to better ontrol these sources of pollution. Thus the AIA supports legislation that would provide incentives to construct and retrofit buildings and their surrounding landscape that minimize their contribution to water quality degradation. However the first step in this endeavor is to introduce the reauthorization of the Clean Water Act that would require localities who receive funding from the State Revolving Fund (of the Clean Water Act) to consider the use of green infrastructure in water projects.

Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction*
The 109th Congress approved legislation that provides a tax deduction (26 US Code ยง179D), for construction energy efficient commercial buildings and for installing energy efficient systems in existing buildings. This deduction, however, expires on December 31, 2008; the AIA believes this deduction should be extended until at least 2013 and that Congress should increase the size of the deduction to make it more effective.

Congressman Mica & Keller along with representatives from Congresswoman Brown and Congressman Feeney’s offices concurred with the AIA issues and expressed their support.

In addition to the Federal issues, the important local issue of transportation was addressed at each congressional visit. As the senior ranking member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Congressman Mica share his vision for transportation opportunities throughout Central Florida. Congressman Mica, represents Florida’s 7th Congressional District, covering 6 counties from Winter Park to Jacksonville.

For more information on AIA congressional issues or Grassroots please visit www.aia.org.

*Excerpts taken from the AIA Congressional Issue Agenda.

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