As the US Senate Energy Package (S. 2657) moves to the floor this week, more than 200 architects, engineers, and contractors from across the country have sent a letter to all senators urging them to include the Kennedy-Carper amendment that would transition the US away from hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by adding the AIM Act (S. 2754) to the package. The letter was organized by the national nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs).
Building energy usage accounts for nearly 40% of global energy consumption, according to E2, and buildings play a key role in high HFC emissions. As the building professionals point out, HFCs—which pound for pound have hundreds to thousands of times the heat-trapping impact of carbon dioxide—leak into the atmosphere from air conditioners and industrial refrigeration units during the lifetime of equipment and at the time of replacement and disposal. Phasing out HFCs and replacing them with more climate-friendly materials would drive innovation, investment and jobs, according to the business leaders.
“By transitioning away from HFCs, Congress has the chance to not only address a critical environmental need but also grow the U.S. economy for the long term,” says Mark Stenftenagel, E2 member and CEO of Whitney Architects in Chicago. “As an architect and business owner, I know now is a key opportunity for American companies to lead the worldwide transition away from HFCs, and the sooner we can make this change the more our economy and customers will benefit.”
Other key points in the letter argue that the amendment would:
- Create 33,000 new manufacturing jobs and help sustain 138,400 existing jobs
- Increase direct manufacturing output by $12.5 billion and total manufacturing output by $38.8 billion
- Improve the U.S. trade balance in equipment and chemicals by $12.5 billion
- Increase the U.S. share of the global export market by 25%
“Leading the global transition away from HFCs would create tens of thousands of new American jobs while also adding billions to America’s manufacturing output,” says Sandra Purohit, E2 federal advocacy director. “We look forward to working with Congress to ensure these key provisions are included in the new energy package this year.”