Perlmutter Introduces Legislation to Create Jobs, Encourage Energy Efficiency in Housing

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Washington, D.C.-, August 11, 2020 | comments

Lakewood, Colo. – Today U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) introduced new legislation to encourage greater energy efficiency and sustainability in the nation’s housing supply while creating new jobs in the green economy.

The Green Neighborhoods Act of 2020 would require the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to implement energy efficiency standards and incentives for new and existing housing structures. Specifically, new single family or multifamily residences, existing single family or multifamily structures, and nonresidential structures would be eligible for incentives based on their ability to meet basic HUD energy efficiency standards or enhanced HUD energy efficiency standards for additional credit. The legislation also ensures energy cost savings from efficient homes are accounted for in the underwriting process for federally connected mortgages.

“Supporting job growth by promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency has been one of my top priorities since being elected to Congress. This bill encourages the development of greener, more sustainable neighborhoods and communities while creating new jobs in the green economy, unleashing technological innovation, and strengthening our energy independence,” said Perlmutter.

The Green Neighborhoods Act requires a report to Congress detailing the current state of energy and water usage in the multifamily property sector as well as estimates of potential energy and cost savings of energy efficiency programs implemented at HUD-assisted properties. The legislation would also require HUD to collect and analyze utility benchmarking data from HUD-assisted properties and develop energy savings targets. In addition, the legislation establishes a workforce development grant program to train employees through apprenticeship programs in energy efficient retrofits, construction, deconstruction, building maintenance and management, and manufacturing of sustainable processes and materials.

“At a time when it’s needed most, this bill is a win-win-win for families, workers and our environment,” continued Perlmutter. “By prioritizing energy conservation and sustainable development, we can make energy efficiency practices more affordable and accessible and create new opportunities for workers.”

“The Green Neighborhoods Act aims to usher in a new era of energy efficient, sustainable housing by establishing a new framework for action within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD),” said Elizabeth Beardsley, Senior Policy Counsel, U.S. Green Building Council. “Federally assisted housing needs upgrades to provide healthier homes that increase green space and save residents and taxpayers money. The bill's inclusion of the SAVE Act to incorporate energy efficiency into underwriting, as well as its support for benchmarking and a greener workforce, create opportunities for broad impacts. We appreciate Congressman Perlmutter’s efforts to advance these important goals in the Green Neighborhoods Act, and look forward to working on this bill to enable transformative progress to benefit all.” 

“We applaud Congressman Perlmutter for including enhanced energy efficiency underwriting criteria in this important legislation,” said Cynthia Adams, CEO of Pearl Certification. “With no new government spending or mandates, this provision will bring transparency, accuracy, and security to the home appraisal and mortgage underwriting processes, help homeowners save money and increase the energy efficiency of their homes, and create vitally needed jobs in local markets.”

In 2008, Perlmutter introduced similar legislation as chair of the Financial Services Committee Energy Efficiency Task Force, an effort focused on how to incorporate energy efficiency into the financial services sector. The G.R.E.E.N. (Green Resources for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods) Act passed the full House of Representatives as part of H.R. 6899, the Comprehensive Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act.

Perlmutter’s district is home to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), the world’s premier lab on the forefront of energy efficiency and developing clean and renewable energy technologies.  The bill is cosponsored by Rep. Sean Casten (IL-06).

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