As energy efficiency legislation continues to slowly wind its way through Congress, NAIOP has taken its message supporting S.1392, the “Energy Efficiency and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013” directly to the public via a recent Op/Ed in The Citizen of Laconia – the hometown newspaper of Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), one of the bill’s sponsors. In addition to detailing the bill’s economic impact and energy improvements, NAIOP expressed appreciation for the senator’s continued efforts to keep the legislation moving forward.
The Op/Ed reads:
Shaheen-Portman Energy Bill Is the Right Approach
National energy policy is often polarized — from “drill, baby, drill” on one side to “save the planet” on the other. But there are sound, commonsense energy policies that everyone can support and those that we can and should put in place. One of those is in the area of energy efficient buildings.
The bipartisan Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S.1392), sponsored by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), is legislation that should be passed by Congress and endorsed by those seriously interested in growing the economy and making America more energy efficient. The U.S. Senate is currently debating this important proposal, and we hope the House of Representatives follows suit.
Energy efficiency has been an important issue for several years and rightfully so; any developed country with technological advances should always be looking for better ways to do things, including how to make commercial structures more energy efficient. In the past, there have been far too many pieces of energy efficiency legislation that failed to take into consideration all the stakeholders impacted by the building code process.
The Shaheen-Portman Bill takes the right approach by incorporating return on investment analysis and payback schedules-an approach that appeals to both developers and efficiency advocates. Energy efficiency gains pay dividends over time, so our association worked to make sure the legislation adopted a balanced approach.
Senator Shaheen and Senator Portman understand that commercial real estate comes in many shapes and sizes. By eliminating arbitrary mandates and a one-size-fits all approach, this bill allows the real estate industry the needed economic flexibility to help make America more energy independent and environmentally sustainable.
It’s based on economics and incentivizing the private sector to make investments in efficiency, and that’s why NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, is a strong supporter.
This is a better approach than arbitrary efficiency targets, which were the basis of efficiency legislation introduced in prior Congresses. Previous bills also failed to classify commercial buildings and residential buildings differently, or even account for the how much electricity individual tenants use (which is called “plug load” in industry speak).
However, S. 1392 is a different type of legislation and committed to considering technology, the availability of equipment and costs, all when calculating a realistic payback for any viable energy codes.
As an association that represents real estate developers, owners and investors, NAIOP has been very supportive of efforts to increase the energy efficiency of commercial buildings. However, our focus has always been to achieve this in a way that makes economic sense for developers, owners and investors.
Shaheen-Portman is legislation that strikes the right balance between economic realities and the need to encourage continued improvements in energy efficiency.
The bill enjoys bipartisan support in Congress and from a wide variety of industry and public interest advocacy groups, which should come as no surprise. When it comes to paying for the new law, economic forecasts say that the cost will be offset and money will not be added to the deficit. We believe that legislation that promotes energy efficiency, offsets its own cost and doesn’t add to the deficit is great for growing the economy.
Shaheen-Portman is a model for how you make real progress — bring stakeholders in at the beginning to see where you can find common ground, pairing sound policy ideas with sound economics. Senators Shaheen and Portman have done that throughout the process, which is why Congress should pass this common sense legislation when they return to work this fall.
Tom Bisacquino is president/CEO of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.
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About NAIOP: NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, is the leading organization for developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial, retail and mixed-use real estate. NAIOP comprises 19,000 members in North America. NAIOP advances responsible commercial real estate development and advocates for effective public policy. For more information, visit naiop.org.