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by Ric Jackson
March 17th, 2014

Why the Shaheen Bill S.2074 is Important

The Shaheen Bill, otherwise known as the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2014 (ESIC), has had some starts and stops in the past, but has regained some momentum after its reintroduction on February 28. The renewed effort on the parts of Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) includes some modifications to the original bill that make it even more important to our industry.

This bipartisan measure promises to reduce pollution, save consumers money on their energy bills and create jobs. It was the first major energy bill to be introduced in six years and was lauded as “… a shining example of how the world’s greatest deliberative body should operate,” according to a previous joint news release from the senators.

Further, a study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that S.2074 will create more than 190,000 jobs, save consumers $16.2 billion a year, and cut CO2 emissions and other air pollutants by the equivalent of taking 22 million cars off the road—all by 2030.

If that’s not reason enough to keep an eye on this bill, here are two more compelling reasons for you to monitor this one closely:

  1. It rules out USGBC’s material de-selection portion of LEED® v4. As previously discussed in my blog post ‘Ohio Takes the Lead on LEED v4 Material Biases,’ LEED v4 rewards building material specifications that avoid “chemicals of concern,” including vinyl. This de-selection credit, as it’s called, could have negative impacts on our industry.
    The revised S.2074 Bill includes a clause that would exclude LEED v4 as a rating system for GSA projects, mandating that “… the green building ratings systems used by GSA do not unfairly exclude certain building materials.”
  2. It includes an energy efficiency requirement for federally insured mortgages. Item nine in the revision includes a requirement to include energy efficiency criteria for federally insured mortgages. This is a big plus for the fenestration industry because the requirement should encourage energy-efficient retrofits.

The View from Here is that, overall, this legislation is good for our industry as a demonstration of the continued importance of energy efficiency. Although there are no direct financial incentives for consumers and businesses, there are many aspects that encourage renovation to improve energy efficiency. What’s your view? Leave a comment or drop me a line at eric.jackson@quanex.com.

ADVOCACY UPDATES

Breaking News: Bill H.R.3950 Could Extend 25C Tax Credit

Another one to watch is Bill H.R.3950, which was very recently sent to the House of Representatives, sponsored by Congressman Alan Grayson, Democrat from Florida District 9. Essentially, this bill could extend the 25C tax credit until Dec. 31, 2014. More to come on this hot topic.

SCR25 Adopted by Ohio Senate

The Ohio Senate adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 25 by a 22-10 vote in February. The resolution was put into place, “To urge, for Ohio state agencies and other government entities, the use of green building rating systems, codes, or standards that are consistent with state energy efficiency and environmental performance objectives and policies and that meet American National Standards Institute voluntary consensus standard procedures,” according to the Web page.

This measure effectively takes LEED v4 off the table as a green building rating system until the state determines whether it will unfairly hurt products and materials produced there. Read more.

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