Bennet Praises House Passage of Better Buildings Act

Bipartisan Bill Aims to Boost Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings

Included in Comprehensive Energy Efficiency Bill

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet praised yesterday’s passage of the Better Buildings Act in the House of Representatives. The bill was included in H.R.2126, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act, a comprehensive energy efficiency bill that passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 375-36. Bennet and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced the Senate's version of the Better Buildings Act last June.

The Bennet-Ayotte bill is included as part of S.2074, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act that was reintroduced in the Senate last week. Both senators are cosponsors of that bill as well.

“There are several different ways tenants in commercial building can build more efficient spaces that will reduce their energy costs and help protect the environment in the process,” Bennet said. “This bill is a commonsense approach to encourage tenants to utilize these technologies. Now that the House has recognized the importance of this bill, it’s time for the Senate to pass its energy efficiency bill so we can put these best practices to work.”

The bipartisan bill seeks to increase energy efficiency in commercial buildings by encouraging tenants to voluntarily implement cost-effective measures to reduce energy consumption and utility costs. The Better Building Act, which received a hearing last June by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy, creates a new voluntary “Tenant Star” certification, similar to the ENERGY STAR certification for building owners, which recognizes tenants that operate energy efficient leased spaces. It’s estimated that tenants use 50 percent or more of the energy in all office buildings.

In addition to the “Tenant Star” designation, the bill asks the Department of Energy to study and learn from private sector “best practices” of how commercially-leased spaces are designed to achieve high performance and help reduce utility costs for businesses.

Dozens of organizations from the real estate, construction, and environmental sectors have endorsed the bill, including the American Institute of Architects, the National Association of Home Builders, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the Real Estate Roundtable, and the U.S. Green Building Council.