New legislation recently introduced in Congress could mean thousands of new jobs and energy savings nationwide. U.S. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland and Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho are co-sponsoring the Energy-Efficient Cool Roof Jobs Act.
The proposed legislation offers incentives that encourage the adoption of energy-efficient, cool roofs. Specifically, the bill allows commercial roofs that meet certain energy efficiency standards and that are place into service over the next two years to be depreciated over 20 years. An average lifespan of a commercial roof is typically only 17 years. The legislation corrects an inequity in the tax code by aligning lifespan and depreciation.
Sponsors of the legislation say the bill’s passage could mean the creation of as many as 40,000 construction jobs. In July, a report by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation found that 14.1 percent of the 2010 unemployment insurance claims were from the construction industry, making the construction industry the largest source of unemployment insurance claims in the state. Nationwide, the construction industry lost 2.2 million jobs because of the economic downturn.
The bill has the support of a variety of groups, including the National Roofing Contractors Association, Alliance to Save Energy, American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy and the U.S. Green Building Council, among others.