Toward the middle of July, the U.S. Senate voted almost unanimously on an important measure on overall energy modernization in the United States. Per the vote, members of both the Senate and House of Representatives will convene with the purpose of working together to pass a working energy bill.

And they say Congress can’t agree on anything these days.

That bill, known as S. 2012 or the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016, expands the authority of the Department of Energy (DOE) to improve energy-related infrastructure throughout the country. I, and others in our industry, have kept a close eye on the bill since it was introduced last year, as it has significant potential to impact our business.

Specifically, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) has been working to ensure that two key elements make it into the final bill: a role for the DOE in building code development and an amendment that instructs the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to set guidelines that improve the accuracy of mortgage underwriting used by federal mortgage agencies. It requires including a home’s expected energy cost savings when determining the value and affordability of energy-efficient homes.

That second part is important. Residential energy efficiency is a big part of modernizing the energy infrastructure in our country, and unless homeowners see the financial incentive to invest in things like efficient windows and doors, the needle won’t move much.

That’s why it’s encouraging to see things like this energy bill and the Property Assessed Clean Energy program (PACE) gain greater traction. It helps emphasize the importance of appraisal values reflecting energy-saving upgrades and the associated cost savings—it is, after all, significant when considering the total value of a home.

The View From Here is that legislation incentivizing more widespread investment in energy-efficient technology makes it more likely for homeowners to invest in energy-efficient windows and doors—and that’s only a good thing for our industry. Make sure to check out the roll-call vote to see how your senator voted.

What’s your View? Email me directly at eric.jackson@quanex.com.

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