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PA Bills to ‘Green Up’ Businesses, Manufacturing
June 23, 2014- Tom Joseph
HARRISBURG - Businesses that focus on green building and high performance would reap the benefits of a package of bills being introduced at the state Capitol - legislation that sponsors say could help the state environmentally as well.

Sen. Matt Smith, D-Mount Lebanon, cited eight measures in all, with four in the Senate and a companion bills in the House. Speaking at a news conference this week, he predicted they would jump-start the 21st-Century economy he says Pennsylvania currently lacks.

"Our green-growth bills specifically focus on incentivizing sustainable development in manufacturing with tax credits of up to $10 million that individuals and the business sector can utilize to make investments with proven returns and long-term operational cost savings," Smith said.

Specifically, the bills would provide tax credits for companies that construct green buildings or retrofit existing buildings with "green" modifications. They include money for using "Energy Star" products and windows, and for establishing and maintaining a green roof on a business.

Tim McDonald, head of Onion Flats, a green architecture and construction firm in Philadelphia, said he's been waiting a long time for what he calls "responsible" legislation like this.

"Bills that both create jobs for this Commonwealth, as well as create an environment in Pennsylvania which makes it what Philadelphia is trying to be - the greenest city and state in the country," he said.

The bills' sponsors say not only can energy use be dramatically reduced in buildings across the state, but so could massive amounts of carbon monoxide emissions from those buildings, if their owners were encouraged to modernize them.

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