Promotes Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings
Washington, DC - The Senate passed an energy efficiency bill yesterday that includes a bipartisan bill introduced by Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet to boost the use of energy efficient technology by tenants in commercial buildings. Bennet originally introduced the bill with Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) in 2013.
"Promoting energy efficiency needs to be part of our larger strategy to combat climate change and boost our economic and national security," Bennet said. "The Better Buildings Act is a commonsense bill to encourage commercial building tenants to reduce their energy usage and costs. In many cases, buildings are already designed for increased energy efficiency. Increasing efficiency within offices complements those designs and further helps reduce our overall energy consumption and protects the planet in the process."
The Better Buildings Act 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.
To date, the focus has been on how real estate owners and developers may lower energy consumption at the "whole-building" level. However, office tenants like data centers, law firms, banks, trading floors, restaurants, and retail stores use a lot of energy - especially in areas experiencing large growth and development. The Better Buildings Act takes a holistic approach by considering office tenants' impact on energy consumption and behaviors.
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 sector, construction industry and environmental advocacy, among others have endorsed the bill, including the Real Estate Roundtable, the Natural Resources Defense Council, 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.