Building  Owners  and  Managers  Association  International

Building Owners and Managers Association International

Building Star Energy Efficiency Act of 2010

BOMA Position

BOMA International supports legislation, such as the Building Star Energy Efficiency Act of 2010 (S. 3079; H.R. 5476), that would provide rebates and financing programs for energy efficiency retrofits to existing buildings. However, BOMA International believes that the application of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage and paperwork requirements to the bill diminish its value and the cost of compliance would outweigh the benefits provided.

Background

On March 4, 2010, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced S. 3079, the Building Star Efficiency Act of 2010. This legislation would provide rebates to building owners to offset a portion of the cost of purchasing and installing qualifying equipment or materials or undertaking qualifying services to enhance the energy efficiency of existing commercial buildings and multifamily residential buildings and provides funding for loan programs. It is intended to be a short-term (two years) jobs bill to immediately provide much needed job creation in the construction industry, while also assisting the commercial real estate industry to retrofit existing buildings and benefitting the environment by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced the House counterpart (H.R. 5476) on May 28, 2010.
However, this bill has one key difference. Due to pressure from the labor unions, it contains language that applies prevailing-wage standards to the Building STAR rebates and financing programs. Sen. Merkley has stated that he intends to introduce a “Davis-Bacon” amendment to his bill at a later date.

The Davis–Bacon Act of 1931 established the requirement for paying prevailing wages on public works projects. All federal government construction contracts, and most contracts for federally assisted construction over $2,000, must include provisions for paying workers on-site no less than the locally prevailing wages and benefits paid on similar projects. Over time, the prevailing wage requirement has been extended by Congress to programs that finance private construction such as through loans, grants and revolving funds, but there is no precedent to adding it to rebates to retrofit private projects. In addition to the wage requirements, Davis-Bacon also adds significant administrative requirements, such as weekly payroll and burdensome reporting requirements.

Building Star Energy Efficiency Act of 2010