Cap + Trade = Green Building?

National
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
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The House’s passage of new Energy and Climate legislation (HR 2454: the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009) on Friday means more than just the possible institution of a new cap and trade system for the U.S. According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the act includes several elements that should spur green building as well. These include: •The Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program, which supports the creation of retrofitting initiatives throughout the country for residential and nonresidential buildings that may offer a variety of incentives, including credit enhancements, interest rate subsidies, and initial capital for public revolving loan funds.

•The GREEN (Green Resources for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods) Act (H.R. 2336), which provides incentives to lenders and financial institutions to provide lower interest loans and other benefits to consumers who build, buy or remodel their homes in ways that improve energy efficiency. The bill also increases energy efficiency standards for Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) owned and assisted housing.

•The Building Energy Performance Labeling Program, which directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create model building energy performance labels for new construction, establishing a meaningful and consistent basis for evaluating the energy performance of residential and commercial buildings.

•EPA’s WaterSense program, which receives permanent authorization to designate products as water efficient, as well as funding for state incentive programs for use of water-efficient products.

•Extension of power purchasing authority for federal agencies, which allows the federal government to enter contracts for the purchase of renewable power for a period of up to 20 years.

The USGBC’s complete summary of the bill can be found here. The bill must now pass the Senate and be signed by the President before becoming law. Not an easy task, but we’ll be tracking!

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