The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved a bill to authorize $25 million over five years and mandate steps aimed at stimulating growth of "green buildings."

The bill, which the panel cleared Sept. 13., includes $15 million for a proposed General Services Administration "office of high-perfomance green buildings."The office would coordinate federal agencies' work on environmentally friendly buildings and do research.

The bill provides $5 million for Environmental Protection Agency grants to help schools deal with environmental issues. It also calls for rules directing agencies to use "green"principles in site selection, design, water use and energy. Authorized funds are subject to appropriations. There has been no action yet on a similar House bill.