Senators introduce amendment to make commercial buildings energy efficient

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced S. 1392, which would establish a national energy efficiency strategy to encourage businesses and consumers to reduce energy use and cut energy costs.

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Bennet and Ayotte’s amendment would encourage tenants of commercial buildings to implement cost-effective measures to reduce energy consumption and utility costs for businesses.

“Our bipartisan legislation is a common sense, no-cost proposal that would promote greater energy efficiency in commercial buildings,” Ayotte said. “I urge my colleagues to support our amendment when the Senate begins debate on this legislation in September.”

The amendment would create a voluntary “Tenant Star” certification, similar to the ENERGY STAR certification for building owners, which recognizes tenants that operate energy efficient leased spaces. It’s estimated that tenants use 50 percent or more of the energy in all office buildings.

“Commercial building tenants can play an important role in reducing energy consumption and costs associated with it,” Bennet said. “The Better Buildings Act will recognize the efforts tenants make to build upon the energy-efficient designs of their buildings to help save money for themselves and buildings owners.”

The amendment — originally introduced as the Better Buildings Act — would also direct the Department of Energy to study private sector “best practices” of how commercially-leased spaces are designed to achieve high performance and help reduce utility costs for businesses.