The Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association recently announced its support of President Obama’s Better Buildings Initiative. The initiative is part of the president’s 2012 budget, and would provide tax incentives and “cash upfront” to those in the private sector looking to make energy saving improvements in their buildings.

There are five key areas part of the Better Buildings Initiative. First, there will be more tax deductions for commercial buildings that invest in energy retrofits. Next, the government will provide financing to companies interested in energy upgrades. The Department of Energy would provide loans for energy improvements at hospitals, schools and commercial buildings.

The president’s plan also includes something called “Race to Green.” This program would provide grants to states and municipalities that adopt green standards. A similar program will be available to universities and businesses. The government will provide a series of benefits for those institutions that take a leadership role in making their buildings more efficient.

Finally, the Better Buildings Initiative includes workforce training in areas such as energy auditing and operations to help reduce energy consumption in buildings.

According to SMACNA and the Obama administration, these initiatives would save the United States over $40 billion in utility costs over the next ten years. The goal is to make the country’s buildings more energy efficient while also providing an economic boon to HVAC manufacturers and contractors. So what do you think? President Obama gets a lot of criticism from fiscal conservatives for spending too much money. Is this a good use of resources? Let us know what you think.