Bennet, Ayotte Introduce Better Buildings Act Amendment

Bipartisan Amendment Aims to Boost Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings

U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) late last night filed their bipartisan Better Buildings Act as an amendment to the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013 (S.1392), a bill the Senate began considering yesterday. The amendment encourages tenants of commercial buildings to implement cost-effective measures that will help reduce energy consumption and ultimately utility costs for businesses.

“Commercial building tenants can play an important role in reducing energy consumption and costs associated with it,” Bennet said. “The Better Buildings Act will recognize the efforts tenants make to build upon the energy-efficient designs of their buildings to help save money for themselves and buildings owners.”

“Our bipartisan legislation is a common sense, no-cost proposal that would promote greater energy efficiency in commercial buildings,” said Ayotte, who is a cosponsor of S. 1392. “I urge my colleagues to support our amendment when the Senate begins debate on this legislation in September.”

The bipartisan amendment 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 in 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 amendment 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 arena 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.