Proposed Energy Bill Calls For More Energy Efficient Buildings

July 9th, 2009 by Editor

Though the primary goal of a recently proposed energy bill is to reduce greenhouse gases through a variant of president Obama’s cap-and-trade plan, the legislation could mean good things for the window film industry. If passed, the legislation would call for periodic reductions in energy use for both commercial and residential buildings. As architects and designers would strive to meet those requirements, window film and other fenestration-related products could offer one piece of the puzzle.

President Obama has proposed the United States Carbon Cap and Trade Plan as a means of placing value on carbon dioxide emissions. Under the proposed plan, permits allowing businesses to emit carbon dioxide would be auctioned off, while a “cap” would be set for the maximum amount of carbon to be emitted in the United States. It would also allow for the free trade of carbon permits among emitters. In March of this year, representatives Henry A. Waxman of California (D) and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts (D) introduced a draft proposal in the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce as a variant of such a cap-and-trade plan. The proposed variant called for a reduction in energy use producing greenhouse gasses in an effort to address climate change.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), also known as the Waxman-Markey Bill, includes a number of provisions designed to help create more energy-efficient buildings. If signed into law, requirements would span from commercial to residential buildings. In a move towards net-zero architecture, effective on the date of its enactment, the law would call for a 30-percent reduction in energy use relative to a comparable building constructed in compliance with the baseline code published in ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2004. Effective January 1, 2015, for commercial buildings, the requirement would increase to a 50-percent reduction. Then beginning January 1, 2018, and every three years thereafter through January 1, 2030, a 5-percent additional reduction would be required.

The bill garnered much attention from Republicans, as they proposed more than 400 changes, according to Bloomberg; but it has since gained ground and was approved by the House of Representatives on June 26, 2009 by a vote of 219-212. It has yet to be approved by the Senate.

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