The Consolidated Forensic Laboratory in Washington, D.C.
(Photo credit: Department of General Services, City of D.C.)
The High Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition (HPBCCC) is holding a series of briefings and meetings on high performance buildings and the policies that support them from May 14-17.

High-performance buildings are a key component of a sustainable future. Buildings consume 40 percent of the primary energy and 70 percent of the electricity in the United States, as well as 12 percent of the country's potable water. Building construction accounts for 60 percent of raw material use in the U.S. economy and releases 39 percent of total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions each year. High-performance buildings provide multiple benefits with low environmental impact.

At a briefing on May 14, the National Institute of Building Sciences will release its recommendations to Congress for improving America's built environment, and a reception that evening will honor the two new Caucus co-chairs, Reps. Welch (D-NH) and McKinley (R-WV). The HPBCCC will meet on May 16, for a presentation on "Private-Sector Financing for High-Performance Buildings."

Local tours are scheduled on May 15, including a tour of the D.C. Metro region’s first “Passive House” in Bethesda, Maryland . Homes and buildings that meet the Passive House standard for energy efficiency use about 90 percent less energy than those built to code, often with off-the-shelf building materials. A tour of the Consolidated Forensic Laboratory will show features that earned the state-of-the-art building a LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, such as natural lighting to reduce the need for electric lighting and a glazed solar shading system. The American Society of Landscape Architects will host a green roof tour and reception on May 16, and closing the week, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will host a luncheon briefing on how high-performance homes can save money, save resources, and create jobs.

All the events are free and open to the public . For more information, visit .

Author: Laura Small