Casten Introduces The Housing Efficiency Standards Act

July 8, 2020
Press Release
Legislation would modernize energy efficiency requirements to reduce emissions and combat the climate crisis

Downers Grove, IL – U.S. Representative Sean Casten (IL-06) introduced H.R. 7240, the Housing Efficiency Standards Act, which would modernize housing energy efficiency requirements for federal housing to reduce emissions and combat the climate crisis. Last week, Casten and his colleagues on the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released the Climate Crisis Report, which emphasized that energy efficiency standards for federally assisted housing and manufactured housing are outdated.


Federal housing energy efficiency requirements have not been updated in over a dozen years, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have only updated their joint standards once – to specifications now over a decade old, and several cycles behind the most recent standards. Efficiency requirements for manufactured homes are even more out of date, with the last update over 25 years ago.


Casten said, “Increased energy efficiency is a win/win for everyone – families pay less in energy prices, and all of us benefit from lower emissions. The current federal home energy efficiency standards are woefully outdated. This bill will modernize and strengthen these requirements, and ensure they stay robust in the future. Home energy efficiency is not only a crucial component of any solution to the climate crisis; it’s the right economic thing to do.”  


Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), said, “Too often, inefficient new homes leave generations of residents with high energy bills and cause needless damage to our climate. This bill would ensure that FHA loans and other government programs that help families buy new homes are helping them get efficient homes with lower utility bills. Thank you to Rep. Casten for looking out for new homebuyers and all future residents.”


The legislation would modernize energy efficiency requirements in new construction of public and assisted housing under the National Housing Act, housing constructed with USDA loans, and the rehab or new construction of housing under the United States Housing Act of 1937. The bill would also allow HUD or USDA to establish additional energy efficiency requirements, as long as they are at least as stringent as the applicable standards. Finally, the bill would also update standards for manufactured homes.