Portman-Shaheen Energy Efficiency Bill Includes Bennet’s SAVE Act, Better Buildings Act

Measures would Promote Energy Efficient Construction in Homes, Commercial Buildings

Washington, DC - A bipartisan energy bill introduced in the Senate today includes two bipartisan measures authored by Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet designed to promote energy efficiency in homes and commercial buildings.

The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness (ESIC) Act, introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and cosponsored by Bennet, includes the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (SAVE) Act and the Better Buildings Act.

"The SAVE Act and Better Buildings Act are commonsense approaches to reducing our energy usage, cutting costs for consumers, and protecting our planet," Bennet said. "Home builders are embracing energy efficient technologies, and the SAVE Act will ensure mortgage lenders are taking those future savings into account. It will help homeowners save thousands of dollars and create thousands of jobs along the way.

"Most new commercial buildings are taking advantage of energy efficient construction," Bennet added. "With tenants consuming roughly half of the energy in these buildings, the Better Buildings Act provides incentives to encourage the use of energy efficient technology within their space. It will reduce energy usage and save them money."

The SAVE Act, which Bennet first introduced with Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), would help establish more practical mortgage lending processes by allowing federal mortgage loan agencies to consider a home's energy efficiency and expected monthly energy bills when determining the homeowner's ability to pay monthly mortgage payments. On average, homeowners spend about $2,500 a year on home energy costs, and that adds up to more than $70,000 over the life of a 30-year mortgage. But, while mortgage lenders typically take into account the cost of real estate taxes and homeowner's insurance when determining the cost of a home loan, they do not take into account home energy costs, even those these costs are, in many cases, more than taxes and insurance. The SAVE Act would address this blind spot, encouraging investments in energy efficient homebuilding and creating tens of thousands of construction jobs in the process.

The Better Buildings Act, cosponsored by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), encourages tenants of commercial buildings to implement cost-effective measures that will help reduce energy consumption and ultimately utility costs for businesses. As building owners across the country strive to distinguish their buildings with the voluntary ENERGY STAR label to help attract tenants and satisfy investors, this bill creates a new voluntary "Tenant Star" certification to reward and recognize tenants that design and construct high-performance leased spaces.

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