This week, both Houses of Congress took steps to advance the energy debate on Capitol Hill, incluidng energy efficiency. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released a draft energy bill, with one out of the four titles focusing on energy efficiency. In addition, the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved an energy bill, including several energy efficiency provisions.
The Senate bill incorporates many efficiency provisions, including one to assist states and voluntary code organizations to improve building energy codes. Other provisions encourage smart buildings and smart manufacturing, and reauthorization and updating of the federal Weatherization Assistance Program and State Energy Program.
The energy efficiency portion of the House bill includes provisions on energy-saving information technologies, energy-efficient data centers, and a provision to add information to appliance Energy Guide labels for products that have smart grid capabilities.
Despite all the activity this week, the path for both bills is uncertain. The Senate Energy Committee will consider amendments to its bill next week, and the full House Energy and Commerce Committee will likely consider amendments in September. NAR will continue to engage in this legislative process to ensure the voice of the real estate industry and property owners is considered.