On July 8, bipartisan legislation (H.R. 5027) was
introduced in the House that would lead to the development of practical and
cost-effective building energy codes. The bill offers an alternative to NMHC/NAA-opposed
policy initiatives that called for the multifamily industry’s mandatory
adoption of codes that meet unrealistic building energy-efficiency
Overall, the bill promotes transparency in the code development process and requires the Department of Energy (DOE) to provide data, and the opportunity to comment, on the agency’s proposed amendments to national model codes. The bill also includes multifamily industry-specific language that would require DOE to establish a methodology for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of energy code changes in multifamily buildings versus the single-family economic framework they are currently using.
The following are additional NMHC/NAA supported provisions in the bill:
- Oversight language requiring a Government Accountability Office report to Congress on the impacts on properties, including clearly outlining costs and related consumer savings of building code updates;
- A study of best practices for energy data collection in multifamily buildings; and
- Language specifically limiting DOE energy rating and asset labeling programs to voluntary, non-regulatory purposes.
Although the bill is supported by a coalition of real estate and
building product industries, future legislative action is uncertain given
election year political pressures and the limited time remaining before
upcoming congressional recesses.
While the House is focused on a number of smaller bills, the Senate is still considering the larger Shaheen-Portman bill that is focused on increasing energy-efficiency in commercial and residential buildings.