The Obama Administration is authorized to play a more active and supportive role in encouraging and progressing the energy efficiency and sustainability of America’s multifamily and commercial building stock, according to a report released by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
The legal analysis, “Using Executive Authority to Achieve Greener Buildings: A Guide for Policymakers to Enhance Sustainability and Efficiency in Multifamily Housing and Commercial Buildings,” concludes that under current executive authority, the Obama administration has the ability to use more than 30 existing federal programs worth $72 billion to enhance efficiency in commercial buildings and multifamily housing, with no new legislation.
“As an early adopter of green buildings and the LEED green building certification system, the federal government has been a leader in bringing green buildings to cities and towns across America,” said Roger Platt, senior vice president, Global Policy and Law, USGBC. “This new report unveils an even larger opportunity for the Obama administration to increase our nation’s energy efficiency, while creating thousands of jobs and saving taxpayers money.”
The report presents an extensive menu of options, across an array of programs that the Obama administration could begin implementing immediately without having to seek new funds or authority from Congress. Some of the options with the largest reach include the following:
• Reforming appraisal and underwriting practices at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
• Greening federal banking regulation
• Promoting flexible Federal Housing Authority insurance products, especially Section 241
• Integrating energy-efficiency and sustainability criteria into competitive grants and funding formulas
• Strengthening minimum property standards for federal housing and economic development programs to reflect energy-efficiency and sustainability standards
• Improving performance standards applicable to federal buildings and leases
• Refining guidance applicable to the energy-efficient commercial buildings tax deduction and the national historic preservation tax credit
• Using SBA funding mechanisms to support small business energy-efficiency investments
• Streamlining Title 17 loan guarantees to make them suitable for buildings
The report was prepared by Van Ness Feldman. Other sponsors include the Real Estate Roundtable, UDR, Johnson Controls Inc., The Energy Foundation, Building Owners and Managers Association International, the American Institute of Architects, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, International Facility Management Association, Energy Future Coalition and C3.
To download the report, visit www.usgbc.org/government.