ConstructionPro Week, Volume: 1 - Issue: 12 - 07/23/2012

Recent Steps ‘Bode Well’ for Passage of Congressional Smart Energy Legislation; CPW Profiles 35 Other Proposals Addressing Green Buildings

By Steve Rizer

 

Recent steps that congressional lawmakers have taken in support of Smart Energy legislation “bode well” for the proposal’s chances of being approved this year, Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) President Kateri Callahan told ConstructionPro Week (CPW). Among other things, the latest version of the plan is designed to place the federal government in a leadership role in the use of energy-savings performance contracts (ESPCs), advanced metering infrastructure, and demand-response programs. The draft bill also seeks to reduce barriers to deployment of industrial energy-efficiency technologies. Here are more details and comments that she provided about the proposal during an email interview as well as summaries of 35 other green-building-related bills currently undergoing congressional consideration:
 

CPW: What information can you provide about the new version of the Smart Energy Act in terms of what the bill number is, the number of cosponsors it has, whether there is a companion bill in the Senate, etc.?

 

Callahan: A proposed discussion draft of the Smart Energy [bill] was recently the subject of a hearing on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Our organization’s president, Kateri Callahan, appeared as a witness during an Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing on July 12 to offer testimony on the measure, which has yet to be formally introduced.

 

The discussion draft is nearly identical to the previously introduced version of the Smart Energy [bill] (H.R.4017). Sponsored by Reps. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah), H.R. 4017 has [11] cosponsors. The key difference between the proposals is the loan-guarantee provision. As introduced, H.R. 4017 would expand the U.S. Department of Energy’s Title XVII loan-guarantee program to provide credit guarantees to reduce financing risk for commercial, residential, and institutional buildings’ energy-efficiency projects. The discussion draft would replace the loan-guarantee provisions with a requirement that [DOE] complete a study within one year, outlining the ‘legal, regulatory and economic barriers’ to the deployment of industrial-efficiency measures in all electricity markets.

 

The Smart Energy [bill] was modeled after the bipartisan Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness [bill] (S.1000). Introduced by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), S. 1000 was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by an 18-3 vote. A summary of Shaheen-Portman can be accessed at http://ase.org/sites/default/files/ESICA%20Section-By-Section%20-%20Revised.pdf.

 

CPW: What are the specific key provisions in the bill?

 

Callahan: H.R. 4017 would reduce barriers for the federal government and businesses seeking to adopt off-the-shelf energy-efficiency technologies that will save money. It includes several provisions to reduce energy waste in federal buildings and help improve industrial efficiency.

 

Specifically, Section 101 under Title I of the discussion draft would expand the federal government’s use of ESPCs to meet existing energy-management requirements, support the deployment of electric vehicles or electric vehicle supply equipment, and increase the scope of ESPCs to include electric vehicles and their charging infrastructure.

 

Other provisions under Title I would require the federal government to participate in demand-response programs (Section 102); consolidate data centers (Section 103); adopt energy-saving techniques via computers (Section 104); implement advanced metering (Section 105) and publish energy use (Section 106).

 

Reps. Bass and Matheson have drafted a measure that will move our country significantly closer toward enactment of energy-efficiency legislation this year that can create jobs and benefit the nation’s economy.

 

CPW: In your opinion, what are the realistic chances of this bill passing so late in the congressional session? Could it be attached to a larger, more comprehensive bill to boost its chances of passage?

 

Callahan: The fact that steps have been taken by the committees of jurisdiction in both chambers on bipartisan energy-efficiency proposals bodes well for the prospects of enacting such an initiative into law this year.

 

CPW: What is your organization doing to boost the bill's chances of passage? Has your organization launched a grass-roots lobbying campaign toward this end?

 

Callahan: We have been actively engaged with the offices of the sponsors and a broad range of stakeholders of small and large businesses, energy-efficiency and environmental organizations, and public-interest and faith-based groups to garner additional support for the legislation.

 

The Smart Energy [bill] stands as testament to the dictum that energy efficiency is an issue that draws support across political boundaries and all regions and quarters of the economy. Moreover, this legislation is supported by scores of businesses and organizations, many of which do not often agree. For example, H.R. 4017 has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

 

Earlier this year, we spearheaded several advocacy efforts on behalf of the Smart Energy [bill], including a letter of endorsement that was signed by nearly 60 businesses and organizations, several meetings with potential cosponsors of the legislation, and communications with the staffs of the committee of jurisdiction and House leadership.

 

CPW: What estimates, if any, have been made regarding the number of buildings this legislation would affect, the projected amount of energy that could be reduced by implementing the measure, etc.?

 

Callahan: While there have been no comprehensive savings calculations run on the potential implementation of the Smart Energy Act, the following statements – which are referenced in Ms. Callahan’s written testimony can attest to the significant potential of energy efficiency, in general, to save energy and money as well as bolster national security and create domestic jobs.

 

Without the numerous energy-efficiency improvements made since 1973, the U.S. would require an additional 50 percent more energy to power the current economy. Besides lowering energy expenses for those who implement efficiency measures, energy efficiency reduces energy price pressure across the board, creates jobs, lessens dependence on imported energy sources, reduces pollution and its health and environmental impacts, improves America’s global competitiveness, and alleviates stress to the electric grid and water infrastructure.

 

A 2009 report by McKinsey & Company estimated that -- with government assistance -- a $500-billion investment in energy efficiency could result in savings of $1.2 trillion and a 23 percent reduction in projected non-transportation energy use by 2020. And the Brookings Institute released an assessment last year indicating that in 2010 the energy- and resource-efficiency segment of the economy accounted for more than 830,000 jobs nationwide.

 

As the nation’s greatest energy consumer, the federal government -- which spends in excess of $7 billion annually to heat, cool, and operate its more than 500,000 buildings and facilities -- should play a unique role in promoting energy efficiency.

 

According to the studies reported by the National Research Council in 2009, the potential for improved energy efficiency in industry is large. Of the 34.3 quads [quadrillion British thermal units] of energy forecast by the U.S. Energy Information Administration to be consumed by American industries in 2020, 14-22 percent could be saved through cost-effective energy-efficiency improvements.

 

CPW: What other major energy-efficiency legislation are you tracking that stands the best chance of passage? What details about these bills can you provide in terms of bill numbers, key provisions, prospects for passage, etc.?

 

Callahan: We are also advocating for the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness [bill] (S.1000). Provisions in the bill would apply to commercial, residential, and industrial sectors of the economy. Detailed provisions in the bill can be found on our website under the section-by-section summary (http://ase.org/resources/energy-savings-and-industrial-competitiveness-act-2011-section-section-summary).

 

Over the past year, we have led a broad coalition of energy- and environmental-, business, and industry organizations in support of the bill. The most recent example is a letter sent to Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.) and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urging a floor vote on S. 1000. This missive and others that preceded it were endorsed by more than 80 organizations. These actions spurred the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry groups to draft similar letters to Senate Leadership.

 

In addition, we have organized grass-roots advocacy action alerts that have garnered more than 2,600 constituent communications urging their senators to call upon Reid and McConnell to the Senate Floor.

 

Finally, Ms. Callahan recently appeared on E&E TV’s OnPoint to discuss the prospects for the Shaheen-Portman bill in the coming months and conducted an interview with Platts Energy Week TV to discuss S. 1000 and the House counterpart.

 

CPW: Other comments?

 

Callahan: Currently, H.R. 4017/S.1000 has bipartisan support as well as the backing of industry and energy-efficiency stakeholders. The challenge ahead is the leadership of both chambers reaching an agreement on the best path forward. Time also remains a hurdle, but the momentum generated thus far has bolstered our ongoing efforts to enact bipartisan energy-efficiency legislation this year.

 

CPW Profiles 35 Other Green-Building Bills

 

Here is a list of other bills at least partially addressing green buildings that Congress is considering:

 

H.R. 12 -- Rep. John Larson’s (D-Conn.) American Jobs bill would require states to give sub-grant priority to projects that comply with certain green-building standards. The bill, which has 105 cosponsors, is undergoing consideration in 11 House committees.

 

H.R. 91 (related bills: H.R. 2417; S. 395) -- Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-Texas) Better Use of Light Bulbs bill would repeal provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 concerning lighting energy efficiency, including provisions that would do the following: prescribe energy-efficiency standards for general-service incandescent lamps, rough service lamps, and other designated lamps; direct the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct and report to the Federal Trade Commission on an annual assessment of the market for general-service lamps and compact-fluorescent lamps; direct DOE to carry out a proactive national program of consumer awareness, information, and education about lamp labels and energy-efficient lighting choices; prohibit a manufacturer, distributor, retailer, or private labeler from distributing in commerce specified adapters for incandescent lamps; authorize DOE to carry out a lighting-technology research and development program; set forth minimum energy-efficiency standards for incandescent reflector lamps; set forth requirements for the use of energy-efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs in public-building construction, alteration, and acquisition; and require metal-halide lamp fixtures and energy-efficiency labeling for designated consumer electronic products to be included within the Energy Policy and Conservation Act’s regulatory oversight. The bill, which is undergoing review in the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee, has 69 cosponsors.

 

S. 156 (related bills: H.R. 482, S. 398) -– The Water Heater Rating Improvement bill would amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to require the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to publish a rule that establishes a uniform efficiency descriptor and accompanying test methods for water heaters, storage water heaters, instantaneous water heaters, and unfired water-storage tanks (covered heaters) no later than 180 days after bill enactment. The legislation would require that the descriptor and accompanying test method apply to all water-heating technologies in use and to future water-heating technologies, and the efficiency standard be denominated according to the efficiency descriptor. The bill would set forth provisions concerning a mathematical conversion factor for converting the measurement of efficiency for covered heaters from the test procedures in effect on the date of enactment to the new energy descriptor. The measure would authorize the rule to exclude a specific category of covered water heaters from the uniform efficiency descriptor if the category of water heaters does not have a residential use and can be clearly described and are rated effectively using the thermal efficiency and standby loss descriptors applied to the category. In establishing the rule, DOE would contract with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to conduct testing and simulation of alternative descriptors identified for consideration. The bill considers a covered water heater to be in compliance with the rule and with any revised labeling requirements established by the Federal Trade Commission to implement the rule if the covered water heater was manufactured prior to the effective date of the rule and complied with the efficiency standards and labeling requirements in effect prior to the rule. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is reviewing Sen. Herb Kohl’s (D-Wis.) legislation, which has six cosponsors.

 

H.R. 301 -- Among other things, the New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence bill would require the president to convene a summit to review the progress and promise of, the interrelationship of, and the additional funding needed to accelerate the progress of developing and building energy-efficient buildings that use no more than 50 percent of the energy of buildings of similar size and type. Rep. Randy Forbes’ (R-Va.) bill is undergoing consideration in the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Environment and has two cosponsors.

 

S. 397 (related bill: H.R. 739) -- Sen. Michael Enzi’s (R-Wyo.) legislation would provide that no federal or state requirement to increase energy-efficient lighting in public buildings require a hospital, school, day care center, mental health facility, or nursing home to install or use energy-efficient lighting if that lighting contains mercury. The bill, which has three cosponsors, is undergoing Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee consideration.

 

S. 398 (related bills: H.R. 482, H.R. 5710, S. 156, S. 1000) -– The Implementation of National Consensus Appliance Agreements bill would amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to expand the definition of “energy conservation standard” to mean one or more performance or design requirements relating to energy and water efficiency. The bill would establish energy-conservation standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps, through-the-wall central air conditioners, through-the-wall central air-conditioning heat pumps, small-duct and high-velocity systems and non-weatherized furnaces. The bill would create energy-conservation standards for heat pump pool heaters as well as GU-24 lamps, lamp sockets, and adaptors. The legislation would require the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to publish amended test procedures for refrigerators and freezers, residential clothes washers, and clothes dryers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would determine whether to update the Energy Star criteria for residential refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers, and room air conditioners to incorporate smart-grid and demand-response features. Section 10 of the bill would revise energy-conservation standards for refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers manufactured as of Jan. 1, 2014. The bill would establish energy-conservation standards for room air conditioners manufactured on or after June 1, 2014. Section 12 would require DOE to publish a final rule that establishes a uniform energy descriptor and test methods for covered water heaters (i.e., a water heater, a storage water heater, an instantaneous water heater, or an unfired water storage tank). The legislation additionally would establish energy-conservation standards for the following: clothes dryers manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2015; clothes washers manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2015, and on or after Jan. 1, 2018; and residential dishwashers manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2013. Section 16 would compel DOE, in conducting rulemakings for reflector lamps after Jan. 1, 2014, to consider incandescent and non-incandescent technologies and a new energy-related measure other than lumens per watt. Section 19 would define and establish energy-conservation standards for the following: high light output double-ended quartz halogen lamps and general-purpose mercury vapor lamps; gas-fired and oil-fired warm air furnaces; and service over the counter, self-contained, medium-temperature commercial refrigerators. Section 23 would direct DOE to study and report on the degree of compliance with energy standards for appliances as well as the costs and benefits of requiring high-quality, direct-current electricity supply in buildings and the role of the federal government in imposing such requirements. Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s (D-N.M.) bill, which has 31 cosponsors, was placed on the legislative calendar (Sen. Rpt. 112-18) in May of last year.

 

H.R.438 -– The Energy Star Improvements bill would amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) to revise the Energy Star program by requiring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to do the following: require inclusion of developmental products planned for sale within two years in the testing or evaluation of products proposed for purposes of establishing and revising an Energy Star product category, specification, or criterion; within two years, establish and implement a ratings system for Energy Star products to provide consumers with the most helpful information on the relative energy efficiency of those products, unless EPA and DOE communicate to Congress that establishing such a system would diminish the value of the Energy Star brand; at least once every three years, to review the Energy Star product criteria for the 10 products in each product category with the greatest energy consumption; update and publish the Energy Star product criteria for each category based on such review; before permitting a product to be identified as an Energy Star product, require the manufacturer to prove the compliance of the product with Energy Star criteria through testing at a certified independent laboratory; and periodically verify, at the expense of the manufacturer of the product, compliance by products identified as Energy Star products with Energy Star criteria. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-N.Y.) bill, which does not have a cosponsor, is undergoing review in the House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

 

H.R. 627 -- This bill, introduced by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), would prohibit a seller of housing that will be purchased with the assistance of a federally related housing loan from selling such housing unless the following actions are taken: no less than five years before the sale of such housing, an energy audit is conducted; the seller provides the purchaser a copy of audit results; and such results are submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The bill, which is undergoing consideration in the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity, has no cosponsors.

 

H.R. 706 -– Rep. Eliot Engel’s (D-N.Y.) Hospital Energy Independence bill would direct the U.S. Department of Energy to establish a pilot program to award grants and loan guarantees to up to six hospitals, including academic facilities that specialize in scientific research, provide patient care, and serve as health and medical education centers to carry out energy-conservation projects for “significantly improving energy efficiency” and encouraging onsite power generation and energy storage, capable of operating independent of the grid and providing sufficient onsite emergency backup power for essential hospital functions. The measure, which has seven cosponsors, is undergoing consideration in the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee and House Appropriations Committee.

 

H.R.849 -– Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) Light Bulb Freedom of Choice bill would amend the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to repeal provisions concerning energy-efficiency standards for general service incandescent lamps, rough service lamps, other designated lamps, and incandescent reflector lamps unless the comptroller general has submitted to Congress within six months after enactment a report that finds the following: consumers will obtain a net savings, in terms of dollars spent on monthly electric bills and expenses for new light fixtures to accommodate the use of the light bulbs required by such provisions, compared to dollars spent before their enactment; the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs required by such provisions will reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent in the United States by 2025; and such phase-out will not pose any health risks, including risks associated with mercury containment in certain light bulbs, to consumers or the general public, including health risks regarding hospitals, schools, day-care centers, mental-health facilities, and nursing homes. The bill would require the report to include monthly and yearly projections of expenses for electric bills and new light fixtures for Jan. 1, 2012, through Dec. 31, 2017. The measure, which has 12 cosponsors, is undergoing review in the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee.

 

H.R. 1611 -- Rep. Michael Grimm’s (R-N.Y.) legislation, which has one cosponsor, would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow the following: the U.S. Department of Treasury to designate 40 clean-energy business zones between 2011 and 2014; an increased tax credit for wages paid in such a zone; a work opportunity tax credit for wages paid to an employee in such a zone; financing of any qualified green-building or clean-energy facility with clean renewable energy bonds; increased expensing of property in such a zone; and an exclusion from gross income of gain from the sale or exchange or any clean-energy business zone asset held for more than five years. The bill would amend the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act to waive loan fees for qualified green-building and clean-energy-facility loans made before 2022. The bill, which has one cosponsor, is undergoing consideration in the House Ways and Means Committee and the Small Business Committee.

 

H.R. 1881 -- Rep. Ben Ray Lujan’s (D-N.M.) Community College Energy Training bill would direct the U.S. Department of Energy, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Labor, to create a program awarding grants to community colleges to provide workforce training and education in sustainable-energy industries and practices, such as alternative energy; high-performance green-building construction, design, and redevelopment; sustainable energy technologies; water, energy, and resource conservation; recycling and waste reduction; and sustainable agriculture and farming. The House Education and the Workforce Training Committee’s Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee is considering the measure, which has 35 cosponsors.

 

H.R.1967 -– The Water Advanced Technologies for Efficient Resource Use bill would establish within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a WaterSense program to identify and promote water-efficient products, buildings, and landscapes as well as services to reduce water use, conserve energy, and preserve water resources. The legislation would set forth the duties of EPA for promoting, publicizing, and administering the WaterSense program. The bill would require federal agencies to purchase WaterSense products or services or a Federal Energy Management Program-designated product through their procurement process. The measure would establish a program to provide financial incentives for consumer purchase and installation of residential water-efficient products and services. Rep. Rush Holt’s (D-N.J.) bill, which has seven cosponsors, is undergoing review in various subcommittees of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and House Armed Services Committee.

 

S.1978 -- The Community College Innovation bill would direct the U.S. Department of Education to award grants to states for projects to modernize, renovate, or repair existing community college facilities and consider the extent to which the community college’s project meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, Energy Star standards, Collaborative for High Performance Schools criteria, Green Building Initiative environmental design and rating standards, or an equivalent program adopted by the state or the state higher education agency. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee is considering Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s (D-Conn.) bill, which has two cosponsors.

 

H.R.2599 -– The PACE Assessment Protection bill would require the Federal Housing Agency (FHA) to direct the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) to issue guidance providing that the levy of a PACE (property assessed clean energy) assessment and the creation of a PACE lien do not constitute a default on any loan secured by one of its uniform instruments, and do not trigger the exercise of remedies with respect to any provision of the instrument, if the PACE assessment and the PACE lien meet specified requirements. The bill lists as PACE improvements any qualified clean-energy improvements, energy-conservation and -efficiency improvements, and water-conservation and -efficiency improvements. The legislation would prohibit FHA, the comptroller of the currency, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and all federal agencies and entities chartered or otherwise established under federal law from discriminating in any manner against state or local governments implementing or participating in a PACE program, or against any property that is obligated to pay a PACE assessment or is subject to a PACE lien. The bill would specify requirements that a PACE program and any related PACE assessment and PACE lien must meet to be entitled to the protections of the bill. The legislation would detail obligations of property owners with respect to PACE assessments and requires the local government to disclose to the participating property owner the costs and risk associated with participating in the PACE program. The measure prescribes requirements for non-residential properties and qualifying PACE improvements, qualifying contractors, and financing terms for residential properties. The bill would limit the total amount of PACE assessments for a property to 10 percent of its estimated value. The legislation would require the property owner to have equity in the property of at least 15 percent. The House Financial Services Committee’s Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity Subcommittee as well as Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee are reviewing Rep. Nan A.S. Hayworth’s (R-N.Y.) proposal, which has 54 cosponsors.

 

H.R.2738 (related bill: S. 1669) -- The Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability bill would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish the Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Program to provide grants to owners or operators of water systems for programs or projects to increase the resiliency or adaptability of the systems to any ongoing or forecasted changes to the hydrologic conditions of a U.S. region. EPA would give priority to owners or operators of water systems that are deemed to be at the greatest and most immediate risk of facing significant negative impacts due to changing hydrologic conditions. EPA would ensure that the list of grant applications funded includes a “substantial number” that propose to use innovative approaches that do the following: promote more efficient water use, water conservation, water reuse, or recycling; use decentralized, low-impact development technologies and nonstructural approaches, including practices that use, enhance, or mimic the natural hydrological cycle or protect natural flows; reduce stormwater runoff or flooding by protecting or enhancing natural ecosystem functions; modify, upgrade, enhance, or replace existing water-system infrastructure in response to changing hydrologic conditions; improve water quality or quantity for agricultural and municipal uses, including through salinity reduction; and provide multiple benefits, including to water supply enhancement or demand reduction, water-quality protection or improvement, increased flood protection, and ecosystem protection or improvement. Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) introduced the bill, which has 22 cosponsors and is undergoing review in various subcommittees of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, House Energy and Commerce Committee, and House Natural Resources Committee.

 

H.R.2866 -– The Mechanical Insulation Installation Incentive bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow an additional tax deduction for the cost of installing mechanical insulation property. The bill would limit the amount of such deduction to the lesser of 30 percent or the reduction in energy loss from the installed mechanical insulation property compared to property that meets the minimum requirements of American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 90.1-2007. The bill would allow the cost of replacing mechanical insulation property to be treated as a deductible business expense in the current taxable year. The legislation would define “mechanical insulation property” as insulation materials, facings, and accessory products that are placed in service in connection with a mechanical system that is located in the United States and is of a character subject to an allowance for depreciation and that are used for thermal, acoustical, and personnel-safety requirements for mechanical piping and equipment, hot and cold applications, and heating, venting and air conditioning applications that can be used in various facilities. The bill would allow a tax deduction for capital expenditures related to mechanical insulation property. Rep. Donald Manzullo’s (R-Ill.) bill, which has 64 cosponsors, is undergoing House Ways and Means Committee consideration.

 

H.R. 2914 (related bills: S. 902; S. 1597: H.R. 2948; H.R. 3490; H.R. 3638) -- Rep. Janice Schakowsky’s (D-Ill.) bill would allocate grant funds among states on the basis of the relative portion of school improvement funds provided to local educational agencies (LEAs) in each state under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. The measure would direct LEA grantees to use their grants for public school modernization, renovation, repairs, construction, or maintenance that meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, Energy Star standards, Collaborative for High Performance Schools criteria, Green Building Initiative environmental design and rating standards, or equivalent standards adopted by the entities that have jurisdiction over such LEAs. The bill, which is undergoing consideration in six House committees, has 50 cosponsors.

 

H.R.2962 -- The Roofing Efficiency Jobs bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to classify any qualified energy-efficient cool roof replacement property as 20-year property for depreciation purposes. The legislation would define “qualified energy-efficient cool roof replacement property” as any roof system that is placed in service above conditioned or semi-heated space on an eligible commercial building, replaces an existing roof system, is a low-slope roof, and includes insulation meeting specified standards and a primary roof covering that has a cool roof surface. The House Ways and Means Committee is considering Rep. Tom Reed’s (R-N.Y.) bill, which has 69 cosponsors.

 

H.R.3111 (related bills: H.R. 1739, H.R. 3062, S. 685, S. 1626, S. 1658, S. 2216) -- The Rural Economic Farm and Ranch Sustainability and Hunger bill would amend the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act to, among other things, provide for agreements with qualifying entities for energy-efficiency loan demonstration projects and provide interest-free loans to eligible entities for loans to consumers to implement energy-efficiency measures. The measure would extend the Rural Energy Savings Program. The House Agriculture Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee are considering Rep. Marlin Stutzman’s (R-Ind.) bill, which does not have a cosponsor.

 

H.R.3221 (related bill: S. 1000) -- The Job Creation and Energy Efficiency bill would amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to authorize the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to provide credit support to ameliorate risks for a debt or repayment obligation incurred in connection with financing the installation and implementation of efficiency, advanced-metering, distributed-generation, or renewable-energy technologies and measures that are expected to increase the energy efficiency of at least one building (including fixtures). The bill would make commercial, multifamily residential, industrial, municipal, government institutions of higher education, school, and hospital facilities eligible for such support. The measure includes, among financing mechanisms that qualify as efficiency obligations, loans, power purchase agreements, energy-services agreements, property assessed clean energy bonds and other tax assessment-based financing mechanisms, and aggregate on-meter agreements that finance retrofit projects. DOE would be required to prioritize the following: the maximization of energy savings with the available credit support funding; the establishment of a clear application and approval process that allows private building owners, lenders, and investors to reasonably expect to receive credit support for projects that conform to guidelines; the distribution of projects receiving credit support across states or geographical regions; and projects designed to achieve whole-building retrofits. The bill would prohibit DOE from issuing credit support that exceeds 90 percent of the principal amount of the obligation that is the subject of the support or $25 million for any project. The bill would require DOE to report on such support. The legislation would authorize DOE to charge reasonable fees for such support. The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee is reviewing Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s (D-Conn.) bill, which has 16 cosponsors.

 

H.R.3296 -– The Small Business Energy Improvements Financing bill would amend the Public Works and Economic Development bill to authorize the U.S. Department of Commerce to make economic-adjustment grants to support “innovative, utility-administered” energy-efficiency programs for small business concerns. Rep. Russ Carnahan’s (D-Mo.) bill, which has two cosponsors, is undergoing consideration in the House Financial Services Committee’s Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity Subcommittee and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee.

 

H.R.3325 (related bill: S. 1621) -– The Livable Communities bill would create an Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities (OSHC) within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The bill would compel OSHC to establish a program to make comprehensive planning grants to eligible entities (partnerships between a consortium of units of general local government and an eligible partner or an Indian tribe that meets specified requirements). The legislation would define “eligible partner” as a metropolitan planning organization, a rural planning organization, or a regional council, or one of these and a state, an Indian tribe, a state and an Indian tribe, or an institution of higher education. The measure would require the use of a comprehensive planning grant to carry out a project to do the following: coordinate locally defined planning processes, across jurisdictions and agencies; identify regional partnerships for developing and implementing a comprehensive regional plan; conduct or update assessments to determine regional needs and promote economic and community development; develop or update a comprehensive regional plan or goals and strategies to implement an existing comprehensive regional plan and other related activities; and identify local zoning and other code changes necessary to implement a comprehensive regional plan and promote sustainable development. The bill would require the use of a community challenge grant to promote integrated planning and investments across policy and governmental jurisdictions as well as implement projects identified in a comprehensive regional plan. The measure would authorize HUD to make or guarantee (up to 75 percent of) loans to eligible governmental, corporate, or partnership borrowers for infrastructure development projects used to support transit-oriented development. The bill would require the Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control to lead the federal initiative to support healthy housing and eradicate housing-related health hazards. Additionally, HUD would study how sustainable building features in housing, such as energy efficiency, affect the quality of the indoor environment, the prevalence of housing-related health hazards, and the health of such occupants. States that no housing assisted using a grant under the bill could be made available to an individual who is not lawfully present in the U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s (D-Colo.) bill, which has 17 cosponsors, is undergoing review in various subcommittees of the House Financial Services Committee, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and House Energy and Commerce Committee.

 

H.R. 3371 -– Rep. Russ Carnahan’s (D-Mo.) High-Performance Federal Buildings bill would require federal agency heads involved in the construction of new federal buildings for which estimated construction costs exceed $1 million and are comprised by federal funding of greater than 50 percent to ensure that the life-cycle cost (i.e., the sum of investment, capital, installation, energy, operating, maintenance, and replacement costs) of such buildings are considered during design. The U.S. General Services Administration would issue regulations establishing federal building-commissioning standards modeled on existing private-sector standards and guidelines for the commissioning process generally, the commissioning of individual building systems, and the use of building automation systems. The bill would define “commissioning” as a process for examining and evaluating a building or building system to verify and deliver a building or system that meets the building owner’s requirements for use. The measure would compel the comptroller general to study and report on the use of integrated design processes and building information modeling for the design and construction of federal buildings. A director of the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings would assist federal agencies regarding the use of building information modeling, commissioning, and integrated design processes. The bill would amend the National Energy Conservation Policy Act to require reporting on commissioning and energy- and water-savings measures. The U.S. Department of Energy would establish and update energy- and water-efficiency standards for federal buildings. The bill is undergoing review in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee as well as the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee. The bill has 18 cosponsors.

 

H.R.3441 -– The Stop Green Initiative Abuse bill would amend the Energy Conservation and Production Act to repeal provisions concerning the U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program for low-income persons to increase the energy efficiency of dwellings. Rep. Charles Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) introduced the bill, which has 17 cosponsors. The measure is undergoing review in the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee.

 

H.R.3714 -– The School Building Enhancement bill would authorize the U.S. Department of Education to provide grants to the following: states and local educational agencies (LEAs) for providing technical assistance for, and assisting the implementation of, the EnergySmart Schools Program of the Department of Energy and the Energy Star for K-12 School Districts program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); LEAs that become partners through the Energy Star program; and states for use in the development, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, of state-level school energy-efficiency-quality plans. The bill would require the U.S. Department of Education to give priority to projects to provide assistance to state and local educational agencies with a demonstrated need for energy-efficiency improvement. The House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee is considering Rep. Rush Holt’s (D-N.J.) bill, which has 10 cosponsors.

 

H.R.3727 -- The Enabling Energy Saving Innovations bill would amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to exempt a walk-in cooler or walk-in freezer component manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2009, from the requirement that it contain wall, ceiling, and door insulation of at least R-25 for coolers and R-32 for freezers, if the manufacturer has demonstrated to the U.S. Department of Energy that such component model reduces energy consumption at least as much as if such requirement were to apply. The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee is considering Rep. Robert Aderholt’s (R-Ala.) bill, which does not have a cosponsor.

 

H.R.3793 -- The Investing for Tomorrow’s Schools bill would authorize the U.S. Department of Treasury to enter into cooperative agreements with states to establish state and multi-state infrastructure banks that make loans to local educational agencies, public libraries, and charter schools or their developers to construct or renovate public elementary or secondary schools and public libraries. The bill would require borrowers to use, “to the maximum extent practicable,” green construction or renovation practices that are consistent with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, Energy Star standards, Collaborative for High Performance Schools criteria, Green Building Initiative environmental design and rating standards, or equivalent standards adopted by the entities that have jurisdiction over them. The House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee and Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee are reviewing Rep. Health Shuler’s (D-N.C.) bill, which does not have a cosponsor.

 

H.R.3817 -– Rep. James Himes’ (D-Conn.) bill would amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) to improve the energy efficiency of electric instantaneous water heaters and for other purposes. The revised EPCA would include within the meaning of “water heater” an electric instantaneous water heater with an input of 25 kilowatts or less. Current law includes an electric instantaneous water heater with an input of 12 kilowatts or less within the meaning of “water heater.” The bill would establish the minimum required energy factor for such water heaters manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2012. The legislation, which is undergoing House Energy and Commerce Committee review and has no cosponsors, would require the U.S. Department of Energy to prescribe test procedures for such water heaters.

 

H.R.4017 (related bill: S. 1000) -- The bill would amend the National Energy Conservation Policy Act (NECPA) to direct each federal agency to implement requirements for the use of energy- and water-efficiency measures in federal buildings through private financing instead of appropriations unless to do so conflicts with the primary mission of the agency or facility or if greater cost savings can be generated under a different program. The bill would require a federal agency, in carrying out energy-management requirements, to participate in demand-response programs offered by electric utilities, independent system operators, regional transmission organizations, and demand-response aggregators, where such programs are available, in order to support electric grid reliability and security and reduce energy bills for the agency or facility. The White House Office of Management and Budget would direct the federal chief information officer to require the following: agencies, when updating their federal data center inventories in the third quarter of each fiscal year, to state what actions have been taken to verify the inventories; the agencies to complete the missing elements in their respective federal data center consolidation plans and submit them; and the Data Center Consolidation Task Force to assess such plans to ensure they are complete and to monitor their implementation. The U.S. Department of Energy would issue guidelines for federal agencies to employ advanced tools allowing energy savings through the use of computer hardware, energy-efficiency software, and power-management tools. The bill would amend NECPA to require federal agencies to create an implementation plan for achieving requirements for advanced metering of energy use in federal facilities, buildings, and equipment. Rep. Charles Bass’ (R-N.H.) bill, which has 12 cosponsors, is undergoing consideration in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

 

H.R.4351 -- The Let’s Grow bill would direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide grants to schools, museums, and libraries to increase energy efficiency. The House Agriculture Committee and House Education and the Workforce Committee are reviewing Rep. Marcia Fudge’s (D-Ohio) bill, which has 28 cosponsors.

 

H.R.4850 (related bill: H.R. 3727) -- The Enabling Saving Innovations bill would amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) to exempt a walk-in cooler or walk-in freezer component manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2009, from the requirement that it contain wall, ceiling, and door insulation of at least R-25 for coolers and R-32 for freezers, if the manufacturer has demonstrated to the U.S. Department of Energy that such component reduces energy consumption at least as much as if such requirement were to apply. Rep. Robert Aderholt’s (R-Ala.) measure has passed the House and is undergoing consideration in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

 

H.R.5187 -– The Investing to Modernize the Production of American Clean Energy and Technology bill would extend through 2012 the tax credit for energy-efficient new homes and the tax credit for energy-efficient household appliances. Rep. Edward Markey’s (D-Mass.) bill, which has six cosponsors, is undergoing consideration in the House Ways and Means Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee.

 

H.R. 5325 -– Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill would prohibit the use of funds to be used by the U.S. Department of Energy to require grant recipients to replace any lighting that does not meet or exceed the energy-efficiency standard set forth in Section 325 of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. The bill also would prohibit the use of funds to be used to fund any portion of the international program activities at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy with the exception of the activities authorized in Section 917 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The bill passed the House in June and is undergoing consideration in the Senate.

 

H.R.5727 (related bills: H.R. 1876, H.R. 3313, H.R. 3903, H.R. 4016, H.R. 4123, H.R. 5333, S. 984, S. 2252) -- The Rebuild America bill would establish grant programs for investment in projects to, among other things, renovate energy systems, including planning and assessment activities and implementation of energy-efficiency and renewable-energy projects. Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s (D-Conn.) legislation is undergoing consideration in 12 House committees and has three cosponsors.

 

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