The “Civilian Property Realignment Act,” (CPRA) H.R. 1734, a bill to reduce the size of the federal government’s footprint and save taxpayers billions of dollars through realignment and consolidation of the federal real estate portfolio was just passed (February 7, 2012) by the U.S. House of Representatives and is headed for the U.S. Senate.
The bill was introduced by Representative Jeff Denham, R-A, chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, and had thirty-one (31) House member co-sponsors.
The White House Office of Management and Budget estimates that the benefit to taxpayers from passage of the proposed legislation will be at least US$15 billion. A one-time appropriation of US$88 million is called for, after which proceeds from the sale of excess federal properties would be used to repay the treasury and provide taxpayers a 60% windfall on any property sold.
“I believe the potential to save billions of dollars is real,” said Denham. “Given our trillion dollar deficit and skyrocketing debt, we must examine every area of government and look for ways to cut spending. My bill establishes a nine person Civilian Property Realignment Commission to take politics out of the process, increase transparency and save billions of taxpayer dollars.”
Life-cycle costs are also a component of the legislation via arequirement that federal agencies conduct a full life cycle cost analysis of any building design, construction, or operations and maintenance projects.
The federal government is the largest single property owner in the United States and has the opportunity and resources to lead the way in the development and implementation of integrated building operation, maintenance, and space utilization practices.
Why Focus on High-Performance Buildings?
From the materials produced to construct buildings and the energy used to operate them, buildings consume vast amounts of resources and are responsible for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions. High-performance buildings, which address human, environmental, economic and total societal impact, are the result of the application of the highest level design, construction, operation and maintenance principles—a paradigm change for the built environment.
- Our homes, offices, schools, and other buildings consume 40% of the primary energy and 70% of the electricity in the U.S. annually.
- Buildings consume about 12% of the potable water in this country.
- The construction of buildings and their related infrastructure consume approximately 60% of all raw materials used in the U.S. economy.
- Buildings account for 39% of U.S. CO2 emissions a year. This approximately equals the combined carbon emissions of Japan, France, and the United Kingdom.
- Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors.
- Poor indoor environmental quality is detrimental to the health of all Americans, especially our children and elderly.
- Residential and commercial building design and construction should effectively guard against natural and human caused events and disasters (fire, water, wind, noise, crime and terrorism).
- The U.S. should continue to improve the features of new buildings, and adapt and maintain existing buildings, to changing balances in our needs and responsibilities for health, safety, energy efficiency and usability by all segments of society.