The Senate fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance a popular, bipartisan energy-efficiency bill (S. 2262) authored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio on May 12, likely ending the legislation’s chances of passage this year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-N.V., agreed to give Republicans a vote to approve or disapprove the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico in exchange for allowing the bill to move forward.
However, negotiations broke down when Reid objected to several politically-charged, GOP amendments to the bill reportedly ranging from liquefied natural gas exports, to a prohibition against a carbon tax and new greenhouse gas emissions regulations. Many have pointed to a pent-up demand on energy matters as the justification for refusing to advance this bill without amendments, while other political observers note that the bill’s failure denies an important policy win to several vulnerable Democrats leading into the mid-term elections.
The House has taken a different approach to energy legislation, choosing to take-up individual proposals in lieu of a larger package. One bill, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014 (H.R. 2126) passed by an overwhelming majority on March 5 with a vote of 375-36. The bill would extend the Energy Star rating to commercial buildings within mixed use properties through a Tenant Star energy program even if the building itself does not meet the Energy Star requirements.
NMHC/NAA have long-opposed building energy provisions that would focus on apartment efficiency through increased building codes or mandatory performance benchmarking programs. The most objectionable energy code provisions for the multifamily industry were not included in the Senate measure or in the House bill, but we continue to advocate for transparency, and for improvements to the existing codes development and adoption process.
- Real Estate Industry Letter Supporting ENERGY STAR Funding in EPA’s FY’18 Budget
- HUD Flips Switch on Utility Benchmarking for Assisted Properties
- Energy Efficiency in Multifamily Rental Homes: An Analysis of Residential Energy Consumption Data
- Multifamily Resource: Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives
- Congress Gives Energy Bill the Green Light