Recent action in the House of Representatives made some significant strides in advancing proposals for energy efficiency policy. Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) released a their bill, called the American Clean Energy and Security Act, containing climate change legislation and a variety of energy efficiency provisions, but most notably for the commercial real estate industry:
(1) A new Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program to promote comprehensive efficiency retrofits to commercial buildings (and also to homes), reducing energy consumption by an average of 20% or more.
(2) A provision directing that building codes be strengthened to reduce energy use in new buildings by 30% starting in 2010 and 50% starting in 2016.
(3) A provision establishing a building labeling program so that owners and prospective purchasers and tenants can compare energy use of a particular building to similar buildings in their local area.
With building energy performance disclosure already underway in California (required under AB 1103), and Ohio, Minnesota, Denver and New York City considering similar measures, the "train clearly has left the station." You have to be blind not to see the handwriting on the wall! There can be no question now that energy efficient buildings will have a competitive advantage in the commercial real estate market.