Langevin Introduces Bill to Encourage Energy Efficiency

Jun 28, 2013 Issues: Energy, Energy & Environment, Housing

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) introduced legislation today with Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to encourage energy efficient construction and retrofits. The Building Efficiently Act amends the depreciation life for residential and commercial properties, incentivizing developers to build and retrofit properties in ways that improve energy efficiency by at least 40 percent.

“We have the tools to become more energy efficient, but they are often viewed by developers as not being cost-effective,” Langevin said. “In turn, high energy costs are often incurred by property owners or renters, creating a significant disconnect between developers and users. By offering incentives for energy efficient construction and renovations, this bill will help bridge the disconnect between developers and end-users, create jobs in Rhode Island’s construction sector and decrease energy use and pollution for our consumers and businesses.”

Under the Building Efficiently Act, the depreciation life for commercial property would be lowered from 39 to 25 years for a building that improves energy efficiency by at least 40 percent. For residential property, the depreciation life would be lowered from 27.5 to 20 years for buildings that meet or exceed the 40 percent efficiency mark. The incentive is also available for existing properties whose owners engage in retrofits that improve efficiency by 40 percent over the building’s current energy use.

“As a founding member of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, I know how important it is to empower Americans to make energy efficient choices,” Rep. Langevin continued. “Energy efficiency is a critical step towards energy independence, which is good for the economy and for national security.”

This legislation, supported by the American Institute of Architects, aims to create stronger market forces for the construction and purchase of energy efficient property. As every building is different, this approach will allow owners to choose the most sensible and cost-effective option for saving energy.

“Approximately 43 percent of U.S. carbon emissions result from the energy services required by residential, commercial and industrial buildings,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “Anything we can do to reduce this number while, at the same time, creating jobs and prompting small growth and planning is clearly the road we want to go down.”

“Encouraging energy efficiency in the private sector is a win-win-win, as it saves money, creates local jobs and reduces environmental impact,” added Congressman Welch. “I’m proud to join with Congressman Langevin to introduce the Building Efficiently Act, which provides incentives for efficiency retrofits. This is another common sense idea whose time has come.”

The efforts come on the heels of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which prioritizes energy efficiency measures as a cost-effective means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save families money. Previous efforts by the administration to upgrade one million homes with more efficient features saved many families over $400 on their heating and cooling bills in the first year alone.