Wide-ranging energy legislation was
considered this week by lawmakers on Capitol Hill. This included several key priorities for multifamily
building owners and managers nationwide.
Specifically, a House committee hearing on energy efficiency was held on April 30. The hearing included discussions about the “Energy Savings and Building Efficiency Act” that offers items long supported by our industry. The hearing also examined a solution to newly proposed furnace efficiency standards that could pose significant retrofit barriers in properties.
NMHC/NAA have long-supported efforts to help apartment owners improve the energy performance of their properties. In addition, we continue to oppose legislation that would boost apartment efficiency through burdensome building codes or other regulatory mandates.
Specifically, the House bill would better define the Department of Energy’s (DOE) role in building code development. Additionally, it would ensure that DOE-supported proposals are cost-effective and reinforce the department’s role as a technical advisor.
Broader energy legislation was also considered
in a Senate committee hearing this week, including building code legislation of
interest. That bill dropped provisions
that the multifamily industry objected to in earlier versions. But it does not
include the transparency, cost-benefit or other code process improvements in
the House bill.
The timing for action on both the House and Senate legislation is uncertain.
This week, President Barack Obama signed into law the “Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015," sponsored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), which directs federal efforts to increase energy and water efficiency in commercial buildings. This is the first energy bill to be signed into law in the 114th Congress and gives a glimmer of hope that lawmakers on Capitol Hill and the Administration might actually be serious about working together to get something done in this Congress.
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