Senate Energy Bill Could Boost Fenestration Industry

April 20th, 2016 by Editor

The Senate approved a comprehensive energy bill on Wednesday that includes an amendment directing the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to incorporate energy efficiency savings from doors, windows and skylights when evaluating financial eligibility for an FHA-insured mortgage.

The Energy Policy Modernization Act (S. 2012) is “the first ambitious energy bill approved by the Senate in nearly a decade,” according to the Associated Press.

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) had pushed to get the legislation passed.

“WDMA member involvement and engagement with their lawmakers proved to be crucial in this effort,” said Michael O’Brien, WDMA president and CEO. “When the industry works together, we can achieve progress in the policymaking arena, even when faced with congressional gridlock. We would like to thank the sponsors of the legislation and all the industry representatives who contacted their senators.”

Wednesday’s vote came after the House of Representatives passed an energy bill last December (H.R. 8).  That bill contains an amendment, which was not voted on by the Senate but is contained in the House version of the bill, that WDMA also supported. It defines what technical assistance the Department of Energy (DOE) can provide in developing new model energy codes and guarantees that certain products and technologies are not given preferential treatment. The legislation promotes the development of efficiency targets for buildings that strike the proper cost-benefit balance, ensuring that home owners and builders are not burdened by unreasonable regulations. It also would prevent DOE from supporting any code or standard change proposal that results in a payback period of more than ten years.

A conference committee will soon get to work on reconciling the House and Senate bills.  Since the Senate did not include the building code language and the House did not include the FHA language, WDMA says it will continue to work with lawmakers to ensure both are included in the final version of the legislation.

During the WDMA Legislative Conference in Washington this week, WDMA members met with elected officials and discussed these issues in detail and successfully pushed the Senate to pass the amendment on energy efficiency in mortgage underwriting.


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