Rep. Perlmutter, Sen. Whitehouse Promote Energy Efficient Housing Legislation

S. 1379 Energy Efficiency in Housing Act of 2009 (Sen. Whitehouse) and H.R. 2336, GREEN Act (Rep. Perlmutter) Gives Real Savings, Real Investment by Promoting Energy Efficiency Homes

Washington, DC – July 8, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — As our country continues to grapple with a slow economy, consumers are being hit hard by the twin burdens of a sagging housing market and rising energy prices. It’s time to invest wisely in protecting family budgets and revitalize our built environment.

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced companion legislation (HR 2336 and S. 1379) to provide incentives to lenders and financial institutions to provide lower interest loans and other benefits to consumers, who build, buy or remodel their homes and businesses to improve their energy efficiency. This timely legislation reflects foresight and the considered input of a broad coalition of housing advocates, financial institutions, government leaders, developers, and the environmental community.

Perlmutter and Whitehouse, along with Reps. Paul Hodes and Jim Himes held a roundtable discussion today about the current state of energy consumption in buildings and homes and how their legislation will help provide more affordable mortgages to consumers, reduce energy consumption, and help spur economic growth.

“This legislation proves that it is easy to be green. This bill helps revitalize our economy by making energy efficiency practices more affordable, accessible and achievable by consumers, businesses and government entities. By prioritizing energy efficiency practices, we can ease the woes of homeowners, lenders, financial markets, builders and our environment,” said Congressman Ed Perlmutter.

“As we work toward stabilizing our economy and reducing our reliance on foreign energy sources, increasing the energy efficiency of our homes will become more important than ever,” said Whitehouse. “This legislation will help save consumers money on their energy bills and jump-start the market for renewable energy in Rhode Island and throughout the country.”

“The GREEN Act gets at the heart of smart energy policy—it makes inexpensive, extremely efficient technology more affordable and accessible, all while lowering costs for homeowners,” said Congressman Jim Himes. “This will lead to reduced energy usage which benefits everyone because it increases our energy independence and improves our environment.”

“The GREEN Act will encourage American business and American families to be part of a 21st Century Energy Solution by using incentives and market mechanisms to inspire the financial community to go green,” Congressman Paul Hodes said. “We need to create an energy policy that will protect our nation, grow our economy, and preserve our planet.”

Additionally, the forum featured speakers from the U.S. Green Building Council, American Institute of Architects, Enterprise Community Partners, Lennar Ventures, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and the American Society of Landscape Architects all of whom participated in crafting this legislation.

“The American Institute of Architects originally testified in support of the GREEN Act in 2008 because it will make our nation’s homes more energy efficient, create jobs, and foster more sustainable and vibrant neighborhoods across the country,” said AIA Executive Vice President/ CEO, Christine McEntee. “By establishing new energy standards for HUD-supported residences, accelerating energy and location efficient mortgages, and requiring financial institutions to include the value of energy efficiency in home appraisals, passage of this legislation will be an important step for the country and another avenue to help reach the AIA’s goal of carbon neutral buildings by 2030.”

“The federal government has an important role to play in accelerating the transformation of affordable housing,” said Dana Bourland, vice president of Enterprise Green Initiatives, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. “With Congress’s support, communities can deliver many more resources to bring the benefits of green methods, materials and financing to the affordable housing sector.”

“The high upfront cost of residential renewable energy systems – such as solar panels – has limited the wide-scale deployment of these technologies.” stated David Kaiserman, President of Lennar Ventures. “Congress has a unique opportunity to turn roofs into renewable energy producing assets. By encouraging the leasing of these systems through the GREEN Act in the House and the Energy Efficiency in Housing Act in the Senate, we can make clean, renewable energy available and affordable in homes all across the country.”

“The legislation offers a suite of incentives that would be instrumental in accelerating the adoption of energy efficiency measures in private and HUD-assisted housing. Moreover, the provisions contained in the bills would be a strong complement to the updated codes for new buildings included in the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Together, these new policies would drive the new and existing building sector towards the major gains in energy efficiency necessary to save consumers money, reduce global warming emissions, and create good clean energy jobs,” said Winnie Stachelberg, Senior VP of External Affairs for the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “The Energy Efficiency in Housing Act and the GREEN Act are tremendous advances towards a serious effort to make our homes and built environment energy efficient. This legislation contains important elements that can lead to a real, accelerated and widespread increase in energy savings in our housing.”

“Sustainability in our buildings and communities is an imperative that promises important benefits for our people and our planet, with similar potential for the bottom line,” said Rick Fedrizzi US Green Building Council CEO. “Through the use of innovative incentives, education initiatives, and baseline standards for HUD-assisted housing, this legislation ensures that no one part of this essential equation is left out, and rather, that the many benefits of green building and energy efficiency are made available to all. USGBC commends Senator Whitehouse and Congressman Perlmutter for their leadership in advancing this critical legislation.”

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