After Months-Long Effort, Senate Committee Approves Energy Reform Bill


WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 3, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — In an 18-4 vote, the Senate Energy Committee approved the Energy Policy Modernization Act after three long days of debate this week. Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) worked for months to achieve bipartisan agreement on underlying measures that included national security, production and efficiency.

NMHC/NAA supported an amendment offered by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) that would have required the Department of Energy (DOE) to consider the cost of proposals that it submits to code setting organizations. Specifically, the department would be unable to propose measures that exceed a 10-year payback. The amendment was offered and withdrawn with the understanding that it would be offered once the bill reaches the floor.

The Committee also approved legislation developed by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) that deals with energy efficiency. While in support of the overall measure, NMHC/NAA are urging modifications to the building code title of the Portman-Shaheen bill in terms of requiring that DOE not endorse code proposals that exceed a 10-year simple payback. And we are asking that the department publish code proposals prior to submitting them to the code bodies. These issues are likely to be raised when this bill goes to the Senate floor in the fall.

And finally, the Committee approved a provision that would grant multifamily property owners and others more time to develop an agreement on a workable non-weatherized gas furnace efficiency standard. This relates to a new Department of Energy (DOE) standard that would require the furnaces to be at 92 percent annual fuel efficiency (AFUE) by 2021.

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