In the nearly 18 months I’ve been writing this blog, this is the first time I get to report that a bill has become a law.

I wasn’t the only one happy to see the Energy Improvement Act of 2015 (S. 535) get enacted on April 30. The list of supporters reads as a virtual who’s who of the building and construction industry, including National Association of Home Builders, American Institute of Architects, Building Owners and Management Association, National Association of Realtors, the National Fenestration Rating Council and others.

In its final format, the bipartisan S.535 primarily focuses on the Tenant Star program. You can read the full text here but, in summary, the law gives the EPA and DOE authority to recognize landlord and tenant teams who design and operate sustainable, energy-efficient leased commercial spaces, much like how Energy Star works for residential applications.

Job creation, billions of dollars in energy savings and significant reductions in greenhouse gases are among the many merits of the law that encourages landlords to make smart, cost-effective upgrades. Of note, the bill included direction to GSA not to focus on just one green building certification program, like they have done in the past with LEED®. This should open some opportunities for Green Globes, which many believe is much less expensive and simpler to use.

The View from Here remains that this is a positive example of bipartisan politics at a time when little progress has been made—at least until now. But like anything else, the results will not be immediate. Federal agencies now need to conduct studies, gather data and create the guidelines for the program. In short, it could be a few years before the program is fully developed, but at least we are on our way.

How much of a business opportunity this will yield for our industry remains to be seen, but it should draw more attention to energy efficiency in commercial buildings.

What’s your View? Email me directly at

Update: My May 18 blog cited that modified appraisal rules might be part of the Tenant Star program, but they did not make the final bill. Hopefully they will be part of the reintroduced S.2024.

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