‘The Green Picture’ with Erika Schnitzer: The Legislative Impact of Clean Energy and Security

 The House of Representatives recently passed energy and climate legislation that would include a number of provisions for green building incentives. The Waxman-Markey bill, otherwise known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454), would include such things as:

-A building retrofit program, which would include standards for both residential and nonresidential buildings;
-A building energy performance labeling program, which would encourage both owners and occupants to learn about building energy performance;
-Established percentage targets for energy use reductions in new residential and commercial buildings;
-The GREEN (Green Resources for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods) Act, which includes provisions related to residential energy efficiency.

For a detailed summary of the legislation, as established by the USGBC, click here.

NMHC has analyzed the apartment-related provisions in the bill, noting “unrealistic code mandates,” “federal cause of action against property owners,” ‘building energy usage labeling requirements,” and “renewable energy requirements” as just some of the potential problems multifamily firms could face if the bill is passed into law.

In the analysis, NMHC points out, “code-based conservation proposals put extreme pressure on apartment firms to invest in expensive upgrades without significantly improving overall building energy performance.” As the Council observes, most of the energy used in multi-housing is not covered by the legislation, so meeting the levels would require not only upgrades to the building envelope and HVAC systems but also lighting, appliances, etc.

Click here for NMHC’s full analysis.

What do you think? Does this appear to be a “one size fits all” legislation that, once again, does not take multifamily buildings into account as a special case? Or is it a start in the right direction?

Share your thoughts. Email me at Erika.Schnitzer@nielsen.com.