Policy Issues

Building Energy Codes - Portman-Shaheen Legislation

ISSUE

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) reintroduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness (ESIC) Act (S. 2137) on July 17, 2019.  S. 2137 is a revived version of bipartisan, comprehensive energy efficiency legislation introduced in prior sessions of Congress.  (Bill summary and text.)

The ESIC Act includes provisions for open government procedures, and consideration of economic impacts and effects on small businesses, when the U.S. Department of Energy participates in the process to develop model building energy codes.  Such codes, when adopted at the state and local level, drive energy efficiency standards for new construction and major retrofits of U.S. buildings.

The ESIC Act also includes pro-real estate provisions to foster better consideration of buildings’ energy efficiency attributes into the real estate appraisal process.  S. 2137 further encourages federal financing guidelines to account for utility bill savings when home buyers apply for mortgages for new energy efficient residences.  

Significantly, the latest version of the ESIC Act also includes new section 103, to direct federal agencies to better coordinate and share information on the key data they separately collect regarding energy used by U.S. commercial buildings.  [See “Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS)”]  

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Position

The Roundtable has been a long-time supporter of The ESIC Act. 

Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey D. DeBoer joined other industry and environmental group leaders at a press conference to speak in favor of S. 2137 upon its introduction.  (Video of DeBoer's statement and entire press event)

Background

The ESIC Act (S. 2137) contains no mandatory federal building or climate-related regulations.  It aims to improve energy efficiency across U.S. buildings by:  

  • Importing new economic and cost effectiveness considerations into the process by which the U.S. Department of Energy ("DOE") proposes revisions to "model" building energy codes, that state and local bodies may ultimately adopt;  
  • Providing stakeholders with opportunities to comment on code revisions suggested by DOE – to correct the currently closed process by which federal code proposals are developed without industry input;
  • Directing DOE to consider impacts on small businesses when developing its energy code submissions;  
  • Clarifying standards for real estate appraisers and banks to consider energy efficiency capital investments when determining an asset's market value; and
  • Creating a voluntary program that can lead to lower interest rates and greater qualifications for buyers seeking mortgages on new energy efficient homes.

ESIC Act links:


 

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