HOUSE SENDS WELCH ENERGY EFFICIENCY BILL TO PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR SIGNATURE

Bipartisan initiative will improve efficiency of commercial buildings, water heaters, and federal buildings

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 22, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — This afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives approved bipartisan energy efficiency legislation authored by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rep. David McKinley (R-WV).  President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.

The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act (H.R.1802/S.535) certifies the energy performance of commercial rental properties, removes a regulatory barrier to the use of large scale water heaters, and encourages energy efficiency improvements in federal buildings.

“I have long believed that energy efficiency is an issue that lends itself to looking past partisan differences to find common ground in Congress,” said Welch.  “We may disagree on the causes of climate change and the best fuel mix to meet America’s energy needs, but we can all agree that using less is more.  We can all agree that creating demand for American-made energy efficient products will create good jobs.  And we can all agree that cutting the energy bills of homeowners, businesses and the federal government is a good thing.”

The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act:

  • establishes energy efficiency best practices for tenants renting space in commercial buildings and creates a new TENANT STAR certification program modeled after the successful ENERGY STAR program;
  • removes a regulatory barrier to the manufacturing of large scale water heaters which act as residential energy storage devices and allow utilities to curb energy demand during peak hours; and
  • establishes a benchmarking and disclosure process for energy consumed in federally leased buildings.

The bill has been endorsed by a diverse number of organizations including the Real Estate Roundtable, National Association of Homebuilders, the Alliance to Save Energy, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Senate version of the Welch-McKinley bill, sponsored by Senators Shaheen (D-NH) and Portman (R-OH), passed the Senate on March 27.

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