We are at a turning point in our modern societies. Environmental issues have become an increasingly important issue for all of us, whether we consider ourselves part of the "green" movement or not. Degradation of the environment and the inadequacy of aging city infrastructures are huge concerns for our urban and suburban communities. As we replace old buildings and construct new ones, there must be emphasis on sustainability and increasing the number of green and LEED certified structures. There is some movement in that direction even now, but it is not enough. This paper argues that mandatory regulations must be implemented because voluntary incentive programs will not prove to be long-term solutions. Programs such as state and federal rebates will become less effective and impossible to fund as more people take advantage of them. This will create a huge obstacle for incentives that will transform the demand market "green". Therefore, governments must mandate this change, and implement and enforce it as they do other building codes. There is a real need for mandating sustainability and greener building practices. Voluntary efforts will not take us as far as we need to go. Mandates will ensure that developers comply with green codes and build sustainably.
Green Building Energy / Codes
In 1987, the United Nations declared that development is sustainable only if it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generation to meet their own needs. Sustainability means using fewer resources and less energy in the building of and day to day operations of buildings. When we plan to build new construction or renovate old structures, we are given an incredible opportunity to create positive change by significantly lowering energy usage, essential resources, and pollution. Sustainable building practices go beyond mere energy savings; these efforts offer a real solution to lessen a building's impact on city infrastructure and the environment. Additionally, and most importantly, sustainable building practices are shown to improve the occupants' health and welfare. Mandating green building codes is a necessary and future-forward improvement to existing building codes. Traditionally, building codes are enacted to ensure the stability of structures and safety of citizens. Green building codes will go a step further, and protect the safety and health of citizens with minimal standards of design. Although many consumers are interested in going green, we cannot wait for this trend to become the majority. We need our legislators in local, state, and federal government to do more than simply encourage green building; they must work to make it the standard. It is not too soon to begin this process; we must start with the densest parts of our cities and find ways to not only improve the quality of life for residents but to also reduce their impact on the environment, and in turn on the cities' infrastructure. It is with these goals that original building codes were developed; we must merely bring them into the twenty-first century.
There has been considerable private sector opposition to greener building practices being mandated through incorporation into existing building codes. This is the reason that many localities are offering voluntary incentives to promote more sustainable practices. However, there is too much at stake. Voluntary incentives alone will not overcome the myriad of problems faced by our nation. We already suffer energy shortages, inadequate water supply, and aging sewage and utility infrastructures. If we are to take seriously the recent barrage of legislation directing state and federal agencies to meet energy policy plan's like California's 2030 net-zero energy plan , faster progress must be made.
Small scale voluntary incentives often work for consumers because they can see the long-term benefits to themselves. Buying an energy efficient light bulb costs more money up front, but homeowners understand that their energy bill will be reduced over time, making the initial investment pay off over time. Market forces that promote wise energy use that translates into a recoupment of initial capital over a longer time won't work as effectively when the owners don't occupy these buildings themselves. This removes some of the economic incentives such as lower utility and maintenance costs, which can help offset the large initial capital investment. If developers will not be paying those long-term energy bills, they may seek the less costly way to build. This is one reason why the commercial buildings markets are less likely to be affected by these incentive approaches. Speculative builders, who account for a large portion of commercial construction in the U.S., take a shorter term view than owner-occupants. They seek to minimize development and construction costs in order to keep prices competitive and profits up in the short term.
Demand for green buildings is growing, yet developers still perceive green buildings to be significantly more expensive to construct than traditional buildings. A 2007 study found that respondents estimated that the additional cost of constructing a green building would be 17% higher than conventional construction; however, the average premium on green buildings is closer to 2%. Mandating more sustainable building practices in the commercial sector will cost more for developers and owners; we can predict this, and can predict their reluctance to change the way they do business. However, it will not cost nearly as much as developers fear it will. Mandating green building codes in this arena will net huge benefits of both health safety and cost savings to tenants, as well as providing urban areas with much-needed long-term sustainability. As an example, consider the fact that the commercial office building industry spends approximately $24 billion annually on energy, and contributes 18% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. Energy represents the single-largest operating expense for office buildings, typically a third of variable expenses. If we know we can lower costs by building green, it is irresponsible to do otherwise.
We are recognizing that America's citizens and workers must be protected from more than just fire and obvious safety hazards. Green building codes will offer a new standard, one that will improve health and working conditions for all inhabitants. Commercial builders have the sophistication and expertise to implement these mandatory plans earlier than other markets. Mandatory regulations and building codes for the commercial sector could lead to a real market transformation. Government action is needed to ensure that we make these changes quickly to maximize benefits.
Definition of Green Building Codes
One aspect of greener building codes is certainly the idea that the building will use far less energy over time. As our fossil fuel resources dwindle, this is an important consideration for new buildings. But green building codes will do more than promote energy efficiency. They can change the way buildings are designed and created, and can keep hazardous materials far away from our families and workers. Green building codes ensure that less waste ends up in ever-expanding landfills, and that natural environments are not degraded for the sake of an office building.
Why should we care about green buildings? The construction industry plays an indispensable role in providing dwellings and structures to meet growing societal needs. But before the past decade, few people were aware of the tremendous impact of buildings on the environment and on their inhabitants. Current and past construction practices can bring about damaging effects, such as various forms of environmental pollution and inefficient use of dwindling resources. The U.S. Green Building Council notes that buildings nationwide account for 72% of electricity consumption, 39% of energy usage, 12% of potable water consumption, 40% of raw materials usage, and 30% of waste output. These buildings contribute to 45-65% of waste output to landfills, 31% of mercury in solid waste, and 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the energy and resource use of conventional buildings, other impacts include indoor levels of pollution that are significantly higher than outdoor pollution levels and more than 12 million homes that still contain lead-based paint on their premises.
In stark contrast, many green buildings are designed to use 25-40% less energy than current codes require, and some achieve even higher efficiency levels. If we know that the standard operating cost of a building for electricity use is $1.60 to $2.50 per square foot, this energy savings can reduce utility operating costs by 40 cents to $1 per square foot per year. In many cases, these savings can be realized for an added construction investment of $1-3 per square foot. With building costs reaching $150 to $300 per square foot, we can see that the decision to increase initial investment can have substantial long term savings.
The good news is that while current building practices contribute to major challenges like climate change and energy dependence, changing them is one of our best solutions to these problems. The building sector in the U.S. is enormous, and is expected to continue to expand. There are currently more than 82 million residential buildings and approximately 75 billion square feet of commercial floor space in the U.S. The nation is projected to add over 15 million households and 11 billion square feet of commercial space by the year 2015. Green buildings use an average of 36% less energy than conventional buildings, with corresponding reductions in CO2 emissions. The possible impact is tremendous. It would exponentially reduce the carbon footprint of our nation. Scientists have already told us that if every U.S. family replaced one regular incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent, the nation could decrease CO2 emissions by more than 90 billion pounds annually—that is the equivalent of taking 7.5 million cars off the road." If we could go from making tiny changes to huge ones, we will be taking huge strides toward sustainability. Imagine the difference we'll make going from one energy-efficient light bulb in every house to energy efficient light bulbs in all new buildings. This sort of change is within our financial reach. Limited research has shown that buildings which have been certified under the baseline standard developed by LEED's Green Building Rating System, cost only 1-2% more than conventional construction. Depending on the level of certification, this "green premium" could pay itself back in less than 5 years. Using the previously quoted figures of building costs ranging from $150 to $300 per square foot, the owner of an 80,000 square foot building could see payback in three years, and ultimately save $32,000 to $80,000 in energy costs annually after that. The savings can be as much as 10 times the initial investment over the 20 year life span of a building. But in the last decade, only 2500 buildings have been LEED certified . What is holding us back?
LEED is the term we use for a building that is built green. It is a comprehensive scheme that measures sustainability and the environmental impact of construction projects. LEED stands for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System, and it is currently considered the leading global standard on sustainable green building and design practices. The U.S. Green Building Council created the LEED certification process to provide building owners and operators with a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. Prior to LEED, most evaluation systems, such as the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program, had focused exclusively on energy use. With LEED, many additional factors are graded, including the project's effect on the municipal infrastructure, transportation energy use, land use, and indoor environmental quality.
Since its inception in 2000, LEED has become the standard U.S. rating system for commercial, institutional, and high-rise buildings. The LEED rating system addresses six major areas of construction: sustainable sites; water efficiency; energy and atmosphere; materials and resources; indoor environmental quality; innovation and design process. LEED certification is known as a menu-based system. Each building designer can choose from a list of projects and items to implement in the construction or renovation of a building. These options might include insulation improvements or installing on-site renewable energy facilities. The building is then awarded points for each of these projects and items. In awarding these points, LEED takes into account key measurements when evaluating new construction, such as those mentioned above: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. Bonus points may be obtained through innovation in design and regional priority. Depending on the number of points a building receives, varying levels of LEED certification are possible, signifying increasing levels of sustainability design. Once a building is complete, a representative from the Green Building Council reviews the documentation of the project, including plans and engineers' calculations. The representative then awards the building points out of a possible 69. There are four progressive levels of certification: Certified, requiring 26-32 points; Silver, requiring 33-38 points; Gold, requiring 39-51 points; and Platinum, which requires 52-69 points.
One of the criticisms of the LEED has been the inequity of the one-point-per-strategy system. For example, cleaning up a "brownfield" site (a property on which redevelopment is compromised by the presence of a hazardous substance or contaminant) involves far more effort and resources than using a low-emitting carpet. However, either effort will earn just one point under the current rating system. In an effort to quash these criticisms, a new certification system was introduced—LEED Version 3, also known as LEED 2009. In this updated version, credits are weighted to reflect a set of environmental and health priorities.
Green Building Codes are Needed to Regulate Safety and Health
Our modern building codes evolved in an effort to improve the health and safety of all building occupants. Fire exits and sprinkler systems were introduced as a direct result of dangerous accidents that cost lives. It was universally recognized that mandatory building codes were needed to protect citizens from new and evolving dangers, even at the expense of builders and developers. Legislators and activists recognized that our profit-driven market system would not encourage builders to expend additional money to invest in health and safety issues. The major driving force of mandated building codes has always been to increase the health and safety of citizens, even if that is in opposition to the mindset of our profit-oriented market system. I argue that mandating green building codes for health reasons is the strongest justification for new legislation, even more so than environmental conservancy. We need to be clear that environmentally friendly building materials are necessary for the continued health of our citizens. For this reason, local regulations and building codes must adopt greener and healthier practices to protect its citizens instead of waiting for market forces to make these changes. Current building codes are built on the experiences of the past. These codes embrace many aspects of building construction— fire, structural, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems. They provide reasonable requirements to safeguard life and property by regulating the design, construction, repair and use of new and existing building structures. As we learn more about the dangerous effects of hazardous materials, the natural progression of these codes is to now do more to incorporate greener building techniques and materials to meet evolving standards of what we consider a healthier environment.
The regulation of building construction is not a recent trend. One of the first building codes was developed by the Fire Underwriters Association in 1895. These codes were originally designed to protect structures and mitigate property risk rather than address the safety of the people in the structure. It soon became clear that building codes had some real value. Building codes then began to evolve and became directed toward the safety of the occupants. Organizations such as the National Housing Association (NHA) and American Public Health Association (APHA) pushed for increased regulation of health and sanitation standards along with current fire protection regulations. These regulations were incorporated into the 1905 national building code out of concern for the visibly unhealthy housing that existed in the tenements of New York City. Eventually, building codes evolved to incorporate practices beyond health and safety. For example, the energy crises of the 1970s prompted several states, led by California in 1978, to enact building energy codes . Modern building codes shifted from outlining the punishment for poor construction to mandating requirements that would make building safe, sanitary, and energy efficient to inhabit.
Builders and landlords have an obligation to provide safe and habitable environments for inhabitants. There is significant legal justification for this standard. In the case of Hilder v. St. Peter, the Supreme Court of Vermont found in favor of the defendant when the plaintiff's landlord failed to provide "premises that are safe, clean and fit for human habitation." The court found that building defects that have an impact on the safety and health of the tenant must be resolved. Now that we know the effects of hazardous building materials on human health, surely we have a responsibility to ensure that developers do everything in their power to work toward healthier, greener materials in building construction and maintenance. It is time to raise the level of health and safety mandated in building codes to meet the demands of the twenty-first century. We must work to reduce threats to occupants' health and the avoidable increasing drain on city infrastructures.
There is a significant level of resistance to updating current building practices and codes to meet new standards of health and welfare for citizens. This is not surprising when we consider that it is most likely a result of developers' unwillingness to spend additional capital for what they consider intangible benefits. Officials should realize that this resistance to governmental mandates is nothing new, and there are excellent reasons to make the change quickly. The current flaw with existing mandatory energy codes are that they tend to focus on installation of specific components rather than the building as a holistic system. The next step in the proposed evolutionary progression of building codes must be to build upon existing energy codes and incorporate sustainable, healthful practices like those offered by LEED.
Building codes that incorporate LEED certification processes will do more than provide much-needed sustainability. These codes will also address air quality issues and the overall health of the indoor space. A majority of workers spend their work weeks in aging buildings that have been built with toxic chemicals and may have poor ventilation systems. Improving conditions inside these communally leased spaces will benefit owners, residents and employees. The correlation between indoor air quality and improved worker productivity has been observed and reported in some green projects. A recent survey by Gensler, the largest architecture firm in the U.S. supports early findings that the quality of the work environment is important to job satisfaction and production. Statistics have shown that views to the outdoors, daylighting, underfloor air systems and improved fresh-air ventilation have huge impacts on productivity and overall health. However, it can be difficult to measure and prove to developers the value of these types of benefits to justify the increased capital costs associated with greener building.
We know that there are problems with our current buildings, though. There is an illness called "sick building syndrome," which is a term used to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that are linked to time spent in a building or home, but no specific illness or cause can be identified. This is not a new illness. Researchers in the U.K. published findings in 1987 describing the experiences of more than 4000 workers in more than 40 office buildings. Symptoms like lethargy, dry throat, and headaches were reported twice as frequently in buildings with older central induction or fan coil ventilation units than buildings that were naturally ventilated and offered windows that could be opened. Complaints like these have become more common as builders increasingly use synthetic building products such as acrylic latex paint and other materials that emit chemical vapors. The goal of cities and states should be to keep up to date with the use of these new materials and practices for the health and welfare of its citizens.
Holistic models of building design as exemplified by LEED must be the next evolutionary step of current building codes. This will improve the overall air quality in our buildings. Under LEED, indoor environmental quality can rate highly if a project provides "adequate ventilation and carbon dioxide monitoring; uses low-emissions carpets, composite woods, and paint; provides day lighting and views for most interior spaces; and monitors thermal comfort, indoor chemicals, and pollutants" . Yudelson shows that green buildings using modern air circulation techniques and low-toxicity finishes and furniture are able to reduce occupants' symptoms of sick building syndrome by 41.5% annually. I would argue that these new standards are not that different from current fire and safety regulations. Rather, they are the next step in the evolution of smart and safe building practices. We already have some federally mandated regulations for sustainability. For example, the 1992 Energy Policy and Conservation Act mandated minimal conservation standards for major home appliances, including the rule that household toilets use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. If we can agree that this is for the good of our society, mandating green revisions to other items covered by building and maintenance codes will do so much more.
Current Incentives and Their Flaws
Whether a building is owned or leased, one of the major barriers to greening office space is economic market forces. For existing buildings, while studies have shown that the cost premium is declining significantly as green becomes the new standard, owners are still reluctant to move beyond current practices. While incentives have played an important role during the initial stages of the recent green building revolution, and will continue to play an important role in striving for higher standards of sustainability, a voluntary approach to sustainable building is inevitably limited in reach and scope. Constraints on funds appropriated by governments to promote greener buildings will and has limited the number and extent of incentives as the financial troubles of states and cities doesn't appear to end any time soon. Most significantly, slower voluntary approaches also cannot account for the speed in which we are polluting our environment. Nor can these voluntary solutions even come close to creating an effective means for approaching energy and pollution caps that legislators have been enacting in the last decade.
Current incentives for green buildings include the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 2005, passed by Congress to increase incentives for solar and wind power in new buildings. The same act contained increased tax incentives for homebuilders of $2,000 per energy-efficient homes. New Mexico passed a major green building tax credit in 2007, and Oregon offers a 35% tax credit for solar energy systems. These incentives can go only so far, however, and do not address the larger issue of huge commercial projects.
It is impractical to rely on the assumption that governments can finance the green building revolution through subsidies and incentives beyond the initial stages of experimentation. No one can deny that current voluntary incentive programs have played an important role in the initial stages of the green building shift. They have allowed initial adaptors to experiment with new sustainable building techniques on a smaller scale allowing for less financial risk while gaining experience for practices that are cost efficient and practical. As more buildings take advantage of these incentives, governments feeling the pinch of the economic crisis of years past will be unable to continue to support these programs.
The inability of governments to fund current incentive programs has already stalled green development in some regions. For example, in 2005, the Nevada Legislature passed a poorly conceived green building incentive package in an effort to encourage private developers in the state. This law required the state to construct two LEED Silver or higher structures during each two year budget cycle. In return, the state provided a sales tax reduction down to 2% for all materials and fitting used in construction and a 50% reduction on all property taxes for 10 years to the owners of private constructed buildings. As a result of the legislation, LEED projects in Nevada jumped from 14 in 2005 to 97 in 2007. But at that time, state economists began to calculate that the loss of revenue from just seven projects looking to go green and avail themselves of the tax breaks would be result in approximate $940 million of lost revenue to the state in 10 to 15 years. The tax breaks were exurbanite in this case, but this situation does underscore the problem facing governments that wish to solely use a strategy of tax breaks and subsidy incentives to promote greener building. This legislation was untenable, and in addition to the substantial costs that could not be met, the state government let the builders down. The builders of these 97 projected buildings were using the tax break projections to justify their new developments; unfortunately, the projects turned out to be unfunded, and their plans were scrapped. Situations like these create real uncertainty for banks and underwriters that finance large commercial developments. The catch-22 is that as more people take advantage of the monetary incentives, the less likely they will be available. We can see that this will not be a very sustainable financing practice, and will not help promote sustainable buildings in the long run.
We know that there are limits to the amount of subsidies and incentives a government can implement. These incentives must be used, as mostly they have been, to promote the use of experimental sustainability practices in building and retrofitting buildings during the initial stage of moving towards more uniform greener building codes in differing regions. And once mandatory green building codes are implemented, these voluntary incentives should play an important role in fostering higher sustainability standards for those who go beyond the baseline standards set for each locality. The point is that mandatory greener building codes should raise the standard for all, while incentive based programs should strive to encourage those willing to experiment with new building and efficiency techniques that raises the standard in the future..
Mandates for Greener Commercial Buildings
Commercial building owners and developers are not ignorant to the advantages of building green, but many argue that green building on a large scale is just not economically justified yet. This economic reluctance is because in most multi-tenant commercial buildings, the building owner-developer will bear the cost of the improvements, while the building tenants will benefit from the resulting energy cost savings. This problem has come to be known as the "split incentive" problem. This lack of economic motivation is particularly problematic in the densest urban population centers. For example, in California 90% of all commercial space is leased, and not owner-occupied. Under many of these lease transactions, owners are not economically motivated to invest in building retrofits because the benefits of such retrofits flow to the tenants (net leases). In other lease structures, tenants are less motivated to adopt conservation measures because the financial benefits of their actions and investments can accrue to other tenants and/or the building owner (gross leases). This split incentive makes it difficult for developers and landlords to realize many of the economic benefits that is currently driving the private sector to go green.
Principal market drivers for commercial leases include significant increases in federal, state and local green building policies, goals, and mandates; increased attention and awareness by corporate leaders; reduced costs of green technologies and measures; growing expertise within the construction and architectural design industries; and reduced operating costs. However these market drivers have failed to promote sustainability practices over increased costs associated with green building in the commercial sector. Of the 1.3 billion square feet of California commercial office space, today only 10% is presently Energy Star rated, and less than 1% is LEED certified." While these greener buildings are expected to continue to increase in the next few decades, the realization that progress will be too slow to meet even modest environmental and energy use protection plans is forcing the largest cities in America to implement mandatory greener building codes in incremental steps. The commercial real estate sector should be the first to be required to conform to the new greener standard since they are the least likely to adopt them through market force.
The National Association of Realtors has introduced a new green designation to help homebuyers and sellers who care about energy efficiency and environmentally sound building practices. About 40% of realtors report that green building is important to their business and clients, and 80% believe it will be of more interest in the coming years. The market will demand green buildings, and legislation mandating green construction will help our real estate market thrive in the future.
Mandates at Work
An increasing number of state and local governments are seeking to adopt mandatory green building requirements into their land development regulations and procurement processes. Some federal agencies and many state jurisdictions already require LEED certification or other green building requirements for their public and institutional buildings, and others are following suit. Washington state has passed a law requiring all major public agency facilities with a floor area exceeding 5,000 square feet (including state-funded school buildings) and any remodeling over 5,000 square feet to meet or exceed the silver rating established by LEED. Additionally, in May 2007, Minnesota passed a bill entitled the "Next Generation Energy Act of 2007," which sets a state goal of certifying 100 commercial buildings as meeting LEED certification by December 2010. New York offers a tax incentive program for developers and builders of environmentally friendly buildings through its Green Building Tax Credit program.
Most legislation affecting green buildings has occurred at the local and state levels. However, the federal government has begun to enact legislation that addresses energy efficiency in buildings. The most recent example is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which contains unprecedented federal government support for green buildings and related energy initiatives. We're also seeing that government buildings are among the early adopters of greener building techniques. All around the country, government bodies are deciding to build LEED for new construction projects. In the first six years of the LEED program (2000-2005), the federal government registered 8% of all projects. Through September 2006, 31% of all LEED-certified projects were government projects. The government has been working to model green building techniques for the private sector; now they need to enact the legislation that mandates these codes to make our buildings healthy and energy efficient. But restricting these mandates to public buildings is not enough; sustainability in construction projects ultimately requires that the private sector fully adopt green building standards.
There are some true success stories in mandating green structures. Boston's Logan International Airport earned LEED certification for its Terminal A, which opened in March 2005. The certification reflected a number of structural achievements, including window glass that minimizes heat loss in winter and heat gain during summer. The port authority has instituted a recycling program and the use of special storm-water filtration devices that lower the levels of suspended solids and phosphorus in the site's runoff. Logan is not the only airport to see the benefits of green building; India's Chennai International Airport has employed American architects and builders to assist them in getting LEED certification. They are aiming for growth and sustainability. Upon completion, it will be the first airport in India with LEED certification.
The city of Toronto has recently mandated green roofs for new buildings. The city council voted almost unanimously in May 2009 to adopt mandatory green roof requirements for new buildings over 21,500 square feet. The bylaw calls for at least 10% of a roof's area to be planted with vegetation, and the percentage (up to 60) varies according to building size and type. In addition to changing codes for new buildings, the city has established a financial incentive of up to $5 per square foot to retro-fit existing buildings. Though Toronto may soon have the most green roof installations in North America, Chicago currently holds that distinction. Chicago is home to over 200 green roofs covering 2.5 million square feet, many of them open to the public. Chicago started a program in 2005 which awards grants of $5000 to twenty promising residential and small commercial projects every year.
Perhaps the strongest business case for commercial green buildings is simply stated. According to Yudelson, "(I)f your next project is not a green building, one that's certified by a national third-party rating system, it will be functionally outdated the day it's completed and very likely to underperform the market as time passes." He predicts that the value of commercial property around the world will soon drop in value, because when green buildings to mainstream, those properties will become obsolete. Green buildings will increase in value as energy costs rise. Imagine a building that saves over $37,000 per year in energy costs versus a comparable building built to current code. The green building will grow in value as the years pass, just as conventional buildings will become less and less attractive invest in. By mandating greener building codes, governments will also be ensuring the continuing investment of urban infrastructures, and creating buildings that will grow in value over time.
A combination of market forces and regulation is driving real estate to be green, but at too slow a pace. Over the past several years, concern for the environment has been elevated from a marginal political movement to a major force that is shaping the attitudes and behaviors of businesses and government. We have seen how volatile the energy markets have been these past few years, and should be ready for similar events in the future. We cannot leave the decision to implement more efficient buildings in the hands of for-profit developers. As building codes have evolved in the past, so it is time for a new evolution. We need to see mandates that enforce the production of green buildings. It will be an investment in the financial future of the country, as well as an investment in the health of our citizens and environment.
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