In the 111th Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act by Reps. Waxman (D‐CA) and Markey (D‐MA).
Following NAR's long‐standing policy to only take a position on legislation, or provisions within legislation that have a direct effect on real estate, NAR worked with our Congressional allies to strip the Energy Bill of provisions that would have adversely affected our industry. The bill died in the Senate in 2010 and is not likely to be reintroduced this Congress.
After multiple consultations with the NAR Climate Presidential Advisory Group, the NAR Land Use, Property Rights and Environment Committee, and state associations who had dealt with energy audit legislation at the state level, the Land Use, Property Rights and Environment Committee directed NAR staff to concentrate on the real estate provisions in the bill. As a result, NAR issued calls for action and made this a talking point for Capitol Hill visits during its recent Midyear meeting.
Overall, REALTORS® succeeded in making a number of positive changes affecting the real estate provisions of the bill. The House‐approved bill:
- Does not create a federal energy audit requirement for real property;
- Exempts existing homes and buildings from any federal guidelines for new construction energy efficiency information labels.
- Prohibits the implementation of any labeling during a sales transaction.
- Leaves the decision to states as to whether to require energy audits, disclosures, etc.
- Provides property owners with significant financial incentives, matching grants and tools to make property improvements and reduce their energy bills;
- Prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating residential and commercial buildings under the Clean Air Act;
- Eliminated an early proposal to allow citizens to sue over minor climate risks under the Clean Air Act; and
- Establishes green building incentives for HUD housing, including a loan program for renewable energy, block grants and credit for upgrades in mortgage underwriting.