Tenant Star Bill Signed Into Law
When Congress is mentioned in the news these days, the focus is usually “What are they arguing about today?” It can be easy to get caught up in the partisan shenanigans surrounding some of the issues that dominate the headlines, such as international trade, or negotiations with Iran.
Luckily for the property management industry, our issues consistently revolve around common sense, and legislators are generally in agreement about the importance of the real estate management industry to the economy.
So, believe it or not, the 114th Congress was able to pass a crucial energy efficiency bill that the previous Congress wasn’t.
On April 30th, President Obama signed into law the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015, which contains provisions establishing the voluntary Tenant Star program. As one of IREM’s 2015 Public Policy Priorities, the Tenant Star program has been a central issue in IREM’s advocacy efforts, and its passage represents a victory for the property management and commercial real estate industry. IREM has advocated for passage of Tenant Star legislation, along with nearly 50 other stakeholders, as part of a coalition.
The Tenant Star program creates a certification and recognition for tenants and landlords of leased commercial spaces that achieve certain energy efficiency benchmarks. The program is voluntary in nature, and encourages collaboration between tenants and landlords to seek efficiencies. The program is based off Energy Star, and aligns office tenants to implement cost effective and energy efficient measures, and will incentivize them to choose landlords whose buildings can accommodate these measures.
The legislation provides that the Department of Energy will carry out a study to collect data on categories of building occupancy known to consume large amounts of energy, such as data centers or trading floors, and other aspects of the buildings relevant to energy consumption.
Based on the data from this study, in addition to public comments, the Environmental Protection Agency will develop the benchmarks used to recognize high-performance energy efficiency measures in commercial buildings.
IREM applauds Congress’ action on this common-sense legislation, and will continue to provide update on the rules process as they become available.
About the Author
Mike Toner is the Government Affairs Liaison and Ethics Administrator for IREM headquarters.