Administration Unveils “Better Buildings Initiative”
In February, President Obama unveiled a “Better Buildings
Initiative” with a goal of making commercial buildings 20-percent more
energy-efficient by 2020 through a series of incentives to upgrade offices,
stores, schools and other municipal buildings, universities, hospitals,
and other commercial buildings.
This new commercial component initiative builds on investments through
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the proposed HOMESTAR
legislation that encourages energy saving upgrades in homes.
During a speech at Penn State University, the President proposed a plan
to make American businesses more energy-efficient through a series of
five new initiatives:
• New tax incentives for building efficiency: A redesign of the
current tax deduction is proposed for commercial building upgrades, changing
the current deduction to a credit that is more generous and that will
encourage building owners and real estate investment trusts to retrofit
their properties. These changes could result in a ten-fold increase in
commercial retrofit take up, leveraging job-creating investments.
• More financing opportunities for commercial retrofits: To address
gaps in access to financing, the Small Business Administration is working
to encourage existing lenders to take advantage of recently increased
loan size limits to promote new energy efficiency retrofit loans for small
businesses. The President’s budget will also propose a new pilot program
through the Department of Energy to guarantee loans for energy-efficiency
upgrades at hospitals, schools and other commercial buildings.
• “Race to Green” for state and municipal governments that streamline
regulations and attract private investment for retrofit projects: The
budget will propose new competitive grants to states and/or local governments
that streamline standards, encouraging upgrades and attracting private
• The Better Buildings Challenge: The President is challenging
CEOs and university presidents to make their organizations leaders in
saving energy, which will save them money and improve productivity. Partners
will commit to a series of actions to make their facilities more efficient.
They will, in turn, become eligible for benefits including public recognition,
technical assistance and best-practices sharing through a network of peers.
• Training the next generation of commercial building technology workers:
Using existing authorities, the administration is working to implement
a number of reforms, including improving transparency around energy efficiency
performance, launching a Building Construction Technology Extension Partnership
modeled on the Manufacturing Extension Partnership at Commerce and providing
more workforce training in areas such as energy auditing and building
Virginia House Bill Could Change Tinting Laws and Inspection
A bill introduced to the Virginia House of Representatives could alter
Virginia’s current tint laws and allow for vehicles with tint to be charge
a higher fee for their state inspection. The bill, Virginia HB 1728 2011,
would increase the allowed amount of tint on the front side windows to
decrease permitted light transmittance. Currently the minimum permitted
light transmittance is 50%, but this bill would change that to 35%.
In addition to changing the current tinting laws the bill also would increase
the cost of a Virginia safety inspection by $4 for all vehicles with any
type of aftermarket window tint on the front side, rear side and rear
“We do not object to a reasonable inspection charge being levied against
window film, if standard practice dictates an inspection charge for all
other after-market products which require inspection,” said Darrell Smith,
executive director of the International Window Film Association (IWFA).
“We would object to window film being treated differently or subject to
additional charges that are not incurred across regulated automotive retrofit
products as a category.”
The bill has made its way through house committees and was passed to the
Senate on February 1. At the time of press, the bill was passed by indefinitely
in the Committee on Transportation with a letter, which was sent to the
Secretary of Public Safety and Virginia State Police.
Steve Phillips: “I’m Here to Stay.”
In August 2010, SunTek Holding Co. (Commonwealth Laminating & Coating
Inc. [CLC]) brought in new financial investors leading to rumors that
staff changes would soon be forthcoming. Cleveland-based Riverside Co.
sold its interest in the company to two new investors, Fenway Partners
and Transportation Resource Partners. Fenway Partners is associated with
the Penske Automotive Group.
CLC president and CEO Steve Phillips spoke with Window Film magazine in
an exclusive interview to address these rumors.
“Those rumors are absolutely not true. There is no change either for me
or for any of the management team nor is there a plan for any change,”
he says. “ You can say with any luck that I hope to be with the company
for the next
“My ownership of the company is approximately the same as it has been
for the last 12 years. That hasn’t changed,” says Phillips. “I continue
to be president and chief executive officer. I continue to be a board
member and a principal investor. That did not change when Riverside invested
nor does it change now.”
According to Phillips, the transition has been completed and CLC is moving
forward with its future plans.
“Riverside did an excellent job supporting us over the last four years
in terms of capital expansion and building the company. The record speaks
for itself,” comments Phillips.
“In looking at the next five years, we wanted to be in a position to continue
to support the company’s growth and plans for expansion. By having Fenway
Partners and the Penske Group investing it puts us in position to take
the next step,” says Phillips. “It’s part of our overall growth plan and
as we continue to grow and expand we need different financial partners
at different stages.” wf
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