Capitol Hill

Out of energy

Reliable and affordable energy sources are fundamental to U.S. economic growth—and the roofing industry's in particular. Unfortunately, trend lines for domestic energy production and usage show the gap widening even when efficiency increases are taken into account.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports U.S. energy production has grown only 13 percent since 1973 while consumption has increased 30 percent. Also, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) predicts Americans will use 28 percent more energy by 2030. But the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects less than 10 percent of U.S. energy use will be supplied by renewable sources at that time.

The implications for the roofing industry are great because construction is an energy-intensive activity that requires trucks and motorized equipment. Additionally, this issue is an important factor for asphalt and most other roofing materials, which include natural resources as part of their chemical compositions.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 that passed under Republican majorities in the previous Congress recognized this problem by incorporating tax incentives for renewable source and efficiency programs, as well as incentives to spur more oil and gas production. Republicans passed another energy bill Dec. 9, 2006, that opened up 8.3 million acres of the Outer Continental Shelf in the Gulf of Mexico to drilling.