Energy Efficiency and Environment

Federal legislation advancing building code efficiency goals should be based on economic and technological feasibility. Incentive-based and voluntary approaches to advancing energy efficiency, such as EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager, should continue. NAIOP supports commonsense reforms to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which codify and incentivize voluntary conservation efforts, and curb abuse of the Act by reducing instances of false reporting.

Download NAIOP's position on Energy Efficiency and Environment.

The
Issue

Energy Efficiency

  • Local economic conditions, tenant preferences and project development costs determine which energy-efficiency measures can realistically be absorbed in a given market. Arbitrary nationwide energy mandates that ignore local market conditions would create disincentives to new development where the costs cannot be absorbed.
  • NAIOP supports legislation that takes a sensible approach to incentivizing energy efficiency without imposing new mandates. Federal legislation that encourages states to update energy-efficiency codes must include provisions for realistic payback schedules and requirements that the provisions be technologically and economically feasible.
  • Portfolio Manager, part of EPA’s Energy Star program, is a voluntary program that enables owners to track and monitor a building’s total energy usage. Eliminating the program would cause confusion and compliance challenges in states, cities and municipalities that require building owners to use Portfolio Manager to comply with local energy-efficiency ordinances. Congress should therefore ensure continued funding of this program.

Environment

  • The ESA should not be used solely to delay or stop development projects that pose no threat to an endangered species. Abusive delaying tactics should be curbed to the greatest extent possible. Individuals found to have intentionally reported false or fraudulent species sightings should face fines or further legal sanctions.
  • Voluntary conservation programs – including Species Recovery Agreements and Habitat Reserve Agreements – allow the federal government to partner with private landowners to promote conservation of endangered species. These longstanding practices should be formally codified and further incentivized by establishing grant programs for private parties and state and local governments to facilitate implementation of such agreements.

Status

In 2011, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Energy Efficiency and Industrial Competitiveness Act for the first time. NAIOP has supported subsequent iterations of the bill, including in its most recent form, introduced in 2017 as S. 385. NAIOP is working with these offices and other stakeholders to reintroduce the legislation in the 116th Congress.

Key
Points

  • Federally-mandated energy-efficiency targets ignore differences between local markets. Legislation to promote energy-efficiency should rely on incentives and voluntary approaches to drive market changes. Improving energy efficiency is an important consideration in modern commercial real estate markets.

  • Voluntary and incentive-based programs, which encourage increased energy efficiency in the private sector, should be continued.

  • EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager enables property owners to track energy usage and compare their building’s performance to similar properties on a voluntary basis. Bipartisan legislation championed by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) would take important steps toward improving and enhancing the program.

  • Congress should further incentivize energy efficiency by making permanent Section 179D and explore the use of accelerated depreciation and other targeted provisions to spur these types of investments.

Talking
Points

Energy Efficiency

  • Federally-mandated energy-efficiency target ignore differences between local markets. Energy-efficiency legislation should rely on incentive- based and voluntary approaches to drive market changes.
  • Improving energy efficiency is an important consideration in modern commercial real estate markets.
  • Voluntary and incentive-based programs, such as EPA’s Portfolio Manager, encourage increased energy efficiency in the private sector and should be continued.

Environment

  • Opponents of development sometimes use the Endangered Species Act (ESA) only to delay development projects, without the existence of a true threat to an endangered species.
  • Commonsense reforms to the ESA are needed to prevent abuse of the law and to incentivize voluntary conservation efforts.

Resources

Contact

Aquiles Suarez
Senior Vice President for Government Affairs
703-904-7100, ext. 115