Earlier this week, a broad-based coalition of more than 100 groups-including major building products manufacturers such as DuPont, Whirlpool Corp., and Owens Corning-called on the U.S. Senate to pass legislation that would extend the renewable energy and efficiency tax credits that expire at the end of this year. Passing such a bill, the groups contend, will promote the construction of more energy-efficient homes.

"Our nation's buildings account for 70 percent of our nation's electricity use, and that's why these incentives are vitally important to deploy energy-efficient designs, technologies, and equipment," said RK Stewart, former president of the American Institute of Architects. The result, he said, would be more energy-conserving buildings.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers said incentives for manufacturers would facilitate the availability of super-efficient "white goods" such as clothes washers and dishwashers, saving consumers $33 million per year in electricity, gas, and water costs and $360 million over the life of those appliances.

While all involve agree there is a vast amount of monetary savings for consumers and job creation that would result from investment in renewable energy, members of the coalition also said an energy bill would simply be better for the environment.

"We don't have to choose between the economy and the environment," said Marchant Wentworth, a clean energy advocate at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Extending these tax credits will help stimulate the economy and protect public health and the planet at the same time."

The coalition's plea comes a week after the House passed a bill that ends tax incentives for oil and natural gas producers but extends $17 billion in tax credits and other incentives to encourage the production of energy from solar, wind, and other renewable sources. President Bush has said that he would veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.

Other coalition members include The Home Depot, Lowe's, and the NAHB.