First Energy Star, Now Building Star

March 23, 2010
New legislation proposes to create jobs through energy‐efficient renovations in commercial and multi‐family residential buildings.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Mark Pryor (D‐Ark.) have introduced legislation to create jobs by promoting the installation of energy‐efficient renovations in commercial and multi‐family residential buildings.

Introduced March 4 as S. 3079, Building STAR Energy Efficiency Rebate Act of 2010, the bill is a package of rebates and financing incentives for building owners to upgrade their property's energy efficiency, including interior and exterior lighting, energy management, HVAC, motors, and drives. It is estimated that the prospective $6 billion in funding for the Building STAR program would spur $18 to $24 billion in total program spending, creating up to 200,000 jobs, particularly for the hard-hit construction industry, as well as manufacturing and other industries.

In addition to rebates to reduce the cost of energy‐saving measures such as high‐efficiency heating and improved insulation, “Building Star” will also extend low‐interest financing options to small businesses and other building owners. Such financing arrangements help building owners with the upfront cost of a building renovation by letting them pay off the cost out of the savings on their energy bill.

“Building Star” is similar to “Home Star,” a parallel program put forward by Senators Jeff Bingaman, Mark Warner, Bernie Sanders, and Jeff Merkley that offers energy efficiency assistance to homeowners.

President Obama says he supports the residential property “Home Star” program, including the financing options recommended by Senator Merkley.

In addition, “Building Star” is expected to save building owners more than $3 billion on their energy bills annually by reducing enough peak electricity demand to avoid the need for thirty‐three 300‐MW power plants.

A "Building Star" fact sheet is here:

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