WASHINGTON, DC – August 3, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — This week, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) introduced a bill to create a voluntary “Residence Star” program to encourage residential property owners to make energy-saving improvements to their residential housing units. Butterfield’s bill – H.R. 3322 –would direct the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a voluntary program where owners who make qualified energy efficiency improvements to their housing units would receive Residence Star certification. Property owners who receive the certification would be permitted to advertise approved housing units using the Residence Star brand. Consumers stand to benefit from the program through lower monthly utility bills in Residence Star approved properties, and by being able to access more information about energy savings and energy costs when applying to rent or purchase properties recognized by the program.
“If enacted, the Residence Star program created through my legislation will help lower utility bills for North Carolinians and people across the country by encouraging energy efficiency improvements to housing units,” Butterfield said. “This bill will reward property owners who make energy improvements by allowing them to advertise using the Residence Star brand. It will also stimulate innovation and the economy by encouraging the development and adoption of new energy efficient technologies. Best of all, this program is completely voluntary and has no cost to taxpayers. I will work to get this important legislation included in the comprehensive energy bill that is currently moving through the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.”
Butterfield’s bill is modeled after the Energy Efficiency and Improvement Act of 2015 which was signed into law in April 2015. That legislation instructed the DOE and the EPA to develop a program to encourage owners and tenants of commercial buildings to invest in strategies to improve energy efficiency. Butterfield’s bill instructs the Secretary of Energy and the Administrator of the EPA to develop the Residence Star program within six months of the bill’s enactment and after a public comment period. The bill allows for both retrofitted housing units and new residential construction to be eligible for Residence Star designation. Property owners would voluntarily apply for the program and work with third party auditors to ensure the energy goals established by the program are met before receiving Residence Star approval. The bill allows owners or their designees to use information from the audits and branding from the Residence Star program to advertise to prospective tenants. The bill also requires a report to Congress on the program two years after the bill’s enactment.
Congressman Butterfield looks forward to the House taking up his bill when Congress returns from August recess.