Bryan Howard

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of another important efficiency bill.The Private Investment in Housing Act, introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers including Representatives Dennis Ross (FL), Jim Himes (CT), Emanuel Cleaver (MO) and John Delaney (MD), passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 395-28. It is nearly identical to the provisions found in the energy efficiency legislation commonly known as Shaheen-Portman. This is the second bill to advance programs out of Shaheen-Portman. As some may remember, President Obama signed the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 earlier this year.

The bill, which would authorize the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to enter into performance-based agreements to make up to 20,000 units of subsidized housing more energy and water efficient, is important for a few simple reasons. HUD spends an estimated $6.4 billion annually on utilities (both water and energy) for assisted and owned properties. Reducing these costs is an upmost priority for taxpayers and for residents of affordable housing who often spend a disproportionate amount of their annual salary on utility bills. This program can also benefit families by reducing health and safety risks. USGBC has been working with elected officials and affordable housing organizations to advance the bill in Congress and to the administration to improve the efficiency of affordable housing at HUD.

USGBC commends the House of Representatives for its passage of the bill will continue to update readers on the progress of this and other important green building legislation.