WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte recently visited and toured Sullivan Construction, Inc. in Bedford, a New Hampshire business that specializes in sustainable construction technologies. During the visit, she discussed the Better Buildings Act, legislation that she introduced with Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) that encourages tenants of commercial buildings to voluntarily implement cost-effective measures that will help reduce energy consumption and ultimately utility costs for businesses. Ayotte and Bennet previously introduced the bill in 2013. The Better Buildings Act was recently signed into law as a part of the Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015, which Senator Ayotte cosponsored.
“I appreciated the opportunity to visit Sullivan Construction to discuss the Better Buildings Act, which will incentivize commercial tenants to responsibly reduce energy consumption,” said Ayotte. “I also learned more about sustainable construction technologies – a key part of efforts to boost energy efficiency across the public and private sectors.”
As building owners across the country strive to distinguish their buildings with the voluntary ENERGY STAR label to help attract tenants and satisfy investors, this bill creates a new voluntary "Tenant Star" certification to reward and recognize tenants that design and construct high-performance leased spaces.
To date, the focus has been on how real estate owners and developers may lower energy consumption at the "whole-building" level. However, office tenants like data centers, law firms, banks, trading floors, restaurants, and retail stores use a lot of energy - especially in areas experiencing large growth and development. The Better Buildings Act takes a holistic approach by considering office tenants' impact on energy consumption and behaviors.
In addition to the "Tenant Star" designation, the bill asks the Department of Energy to study and learn from private sector "best practices" of how commercially-leased spaces are designed to achieve high performance and help reduce utility costs for businesses.
Dozens of organizations from the real estate sector, construction industry and environmental advocacy, among others have endorsed the bill, including the Real Estate Roundtable, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Institute of Architects, the National Association of Home Builders, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the Real Estate Roundtable, and the U.S. Green Building Council.