SMACNA enthusiastically endorses H.R. 873, The Better Buildings Act of 2015, introduced by Representatives McKinley and Welch. In the Senate an identical bill, S. 128, was introduced by Senators Portman and Shaheen. Senators Hoeven, Franken, Ayotte, Collins and Bennet have joined S. 128 as cosponsors. Similar legislation was introduced in the 113th Congress and it enjoyed broad, bipartisan support, passing the House and reaching the Senate suspension calendar the last days of the session before a single objection blocked its passage.
This bill would create a voluntary, market-based program to encourage commercial and multifamily landlords and tenants to align themselves around complicated and expensive energy efficiency improvements in buildings. H.R. 873 does not depend on a subsidy or costly government program. The bill provides no tax or other financial incentive. The bill creates no new regulations. But it does give a boost and powerful “branding” opportunities for real estate owners and managers to market their buildings to tenants, investors, and other key audiences. It will also spur job growth in contracting and manufacturing, by encouraging more energy efficiency assessments, retrofit projects and installation of high performance buildings.
SMACNA and a large coalition of industry groups have supported this bill as an important alternative to onerous and complicated efficiency regulations intended to achieve the same ends. Energy efficiency is real dollars and cents for the construction, efficiency retrofit contractors, real estate, product manufacturing, and general contracting sector across the U.S. Millions of square feet of real estate space in our nation have been branded as energy efficient.
A list of energy-efficient facilities throughout the nation can be found at www.energystar.gov. H.R. 873 will take these marketing opportunities to the next level by allowing tenants and building occupants to participate in this voluntary program.
SMACNA, an international trade association representing 4,500 contributing contractor firms, is a leader in promoting quality and excellence in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry. SMACNA has national offices in Chantilly, Va., outside of Washington, D.C., and on Capitol Hill. Visit www.smacna.org.