July 8, 2009

Whitehouse, Schumer, Menendez Introduce Legislation Promoting Home Energy Efficiency

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) announced the introduction of new legislation encouraging families and property owners to improve their homes’ energy efficiency. The Energy Efficiency in Housing Act of 2009 (S. 1379) would help consumers save money on home energy costs, create jobs for local contractors, and limit pollution that contributes to global warming.

“As we work toward stabilizing our economy and reducing our reliance on foreign energy sources, increasing the energy efficiency of our homes will become more important than ever,” said Whitehouse. “This legislation will help save consumers money on their energy bills and jump-start the market for renewable energy in Rhode Island and throughout the country.”

“Lowering the burden of energy costs on family budgets is an important part of our economic recovery and helps lay the foundation for 21st Century economic security. By encouraging energy efficiency in our homes, we can help bring this financial relief to our families while working to clean the air we breathe. For our economic and environmental future, this is the type of program we need to pursue,” said Menendez.

The Energy Efficiency in Housing Act of 2009 (EEHA) would require the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to develop mortgage incentives for homebuyers – such as waived fees, higher permitted loan principal, and lower interest rates – to finance purchases of energy efficient homes and home improvements. The bill would also create a new market for leased renewable energy systems by encouraging third party investors to purchase renewable energy systems – such as solar electric systems – and lease them to homeowners, eliminating upfront costs and allowing homeowners to share in the energy savings. In addition, the EEHA would require the HUD Secretary to implement incentives to encourage energy efficiency in public housing and would authorize funding for a 50,000-unit energy efficiency pilot program with the cost savings to be shared between tenant and landlord.


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