Dan Hounsell: Building Star Program Targets Energy Efficiency

By Dan Hounsell, Editor  
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Building Star would address a manager's wish list of projects and equipment, but will Congress pass it?

Congress works in mysterious ways, but if it gets one thing right in the near future, it will pass legislation creating the Building Star program. The bill's aim is to spur renovations of institutional and commercial buildings targeting energy efficiency. It would do so by creating rebates for energy-efficient equipment and services that supplement existing utility and state rebates, and by providing a loan program administered by states to offer loans for energy-efficiency upgrades.

Organizations could combine Building Star incentives with other incentives, such as the existing deductions for energy-efficient buildings. The program could create thousands of new jobs and save building owners more than $3 billion in energy costs annually, according to the bill's sponsors.

The incentives the program would offer cover items that read like any manager's project wish list: building-envelope and mechanical insulation; windows, window film, and doors; low-slope roofing; HVAC equipment, including water heaters and boilers; duct testing and sealing; variable-speed motors; interior and exterior lighting; building energy audits, commissioning, and training; and energy-management and monitoring systems.

The fate of Building Star could rest heavily on election-year politics, and it could be linked closely to the future of Home Star, a similar program targeting residential renovations now working its way through Congress.

For more information, visit www.energyfuturecoalition.org/content/Building-STAR

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