RULES & REGS: Colorado Legislator Proposes Renewable Energy Incentives

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorWashington, D.C.–In an effort “to encourage energy efficiency and conservation, the development of renewable energy sources for housing, commercial structures and other buildings, and to create sustainable communities,” U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) introduced a bill to the House Committee on Financial Services last week. Thus far, the legislation has received 21 co-sponsors. To be called the GREEN (Green Resources for Energy-Efficient Neighborhoods) Act, the bill (H.R. 6078) would establish incentives for financial institutions to provide benefits to consumers who use energy-efficient resources. It would also ensure that community development organizations have the resources required for successful incorporation of green elements into affordable housing. The bill outlines projected credits for energy-efficient measures, such as minimum HUD (Dept. of Housing and Urban Development) energy efficiency standards, including the use of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). This contains criteria for both new and existing commercial and residential buildings, as well as standards for ceilings, walls, floors, foundations and mechanical, lighting and power systems.Additionally, H.R. 6078 discusses the goals of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in terms of promoting energy- and location-efficient mortgages and calls for mortgage incentives for energy-efficient multifamily housing.Further aspects of the green proposal include incentives for developers entering into agreements with tree-planting organizations and a block grant program to be provided to jurisdictions that have made energy-efficient housing improvements and that comply with the IECC. In his bill, Rep. Perlmutter also proposes a HUD-led demonstration program for multifamily housing projects, as well as establishing a sustainable building institute within HUD, which would provide grants, loans and research assistance for additional green initiatives.