Thursday, August 16, 2007

Title IX of the House Energy Bill--The Green Building Provisions

I have spent the last few days parsing the hideously convoluted legalese which is Title IX--Energy & Commerce of the House's recently passed--and much touted--Energy Bill, which I wrote about generally earlier in the week.

Title IX contains most of the provisions related to green building. Below is a non-comprehensive tour through some of the provisions of interest to me.

Sections 9001-9020 relate to the energy efficiency of appliances, raising the required energy efficiency for dehumidifiers, washing machines, dishwashers, refridgerators, etc.

Sections 9021-9030 relate to energy efficiency of lighting. There is some neat provisions in this section, including 9021 which requires the Secretary fo Energy to issue regulations prohibiting the sale of 100 watt general service incandescent lamps after January 1, 2012, and specifying ever increasing efficiency ratings for other lamps. However, three way lamps are exempted from the requriements. I have a problem with this--many, many lamps are three-way. What is the point of this exemption? Is there a three-way lamp lobby? Section 9023 mandates the use of energy efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs by the Federal government.

Sections 9031-9040 relate to residential building efficiency. Section 9031 requires states to update their building codes to be more energy efficient. THIS IS A BIG DEAL! It provides funding, support, etc. for the states to do so. Section 9034 provides additional financial assistance to consumers for home weatherization.

Sections 9041-9060 relate to commercial building efficiency. Section 9042 establishes an Office of Federal high-Performance Green Buildings to, among other things, coordinate the green building activities in various Federal agencies, identify and develop Federal high performance green building standards to be used for Federal facilities and research budget and contracting practices that affect achievement of green buildings. In an effort to employ more of us green-building types, Section 9043 establishes an Office of Commercial High-Performance Green Buildings. This Office is tasked with managing a public-private partnership program (Section 9043 (f)) which shall, among other things,further development of green buildings, study and refine a national goal to reduce commercial building energy use (Section 9044), and create a national high-performance green building clearinghouse of information. Sounds like a nice job, perhaps they will hire me. Section 9052 provides up to $100,000,000 for loan guarantees for renovation projects that will result in a building achieving LEED "certified" level. Several other provisions in these sections provide funding for the establishment of various green building pilot programs.

All in all, there are many good-sounding programs in Title IX, but we shall see what remains when the House and Senate bills are reconciled.

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