What’s going on with federal green building policy?

June 3, 2010

A green building news update from Capitol Hill, by GreenHomeNYC volunteer Adam Szlachetka. Despite trouble with the larger energy policy overhaul on Capitol Hill, on May 6 the House and Senate advanced bills to improve energy efficiency in homes and other products nationwide. First, the House passed H.R. 5019, the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010.  Among the provisions, the “Silver Star” component would provide up to $3,000 in rebates to homeowners for installation of specific energy-saving technologies, and the “Gold Star” component would cover half the cost, up to $3,000, for conducting comprehensive energy audits that specify measures to reduce energy usage by 20%, and up to $8,000 when those savings are achieved. Further information and a listing of supporters (including the Alliance to Save Energy, National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the US Chamber of Commerce) is available on the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s website. Efficiency First‘s website also features a thorough analysis of the legislation.  Home Star is expected to result in three million home renovations for $9.2 billion in consumer energy savings savings over the next 10 years, and create 168,000 new jobs. The Senate’s National Energy Efficiency Enhancement Act of 2010 (S. 3059) provides for minimum efficiency standards on a range of products, including residential air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps, and street lights.  The ACEEE estimates that full implementation of these standards would result in savings equal to the annual energy usage of the state of Nebraska. USGBC’s Top 10 Green Bills Earlier this spring, the USGBC released a useful reference of their “Top 10” federal green building bills.  Check out the pdf link on the Public Policy & Advocacy portion of their website.  It is a good resource.