Senate Committee Approves Patent Reform Bill

February 8, 2011

The administration of President Barack Obama recently launched a Better Buildings Initiative, which seeks to make U.S. commercial building 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020 through investments in cost-effective, energy-efficiency upgrades and retrofits. The administration estimates that, in total, American businesses could realize more than $40 billion per year in energy-cost savings.

As part of the initiative the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is working with its existing lenders to promote the use and ensure the availability of SBA loans for energy-efficiency upgrades. The SBA was granted “significant latitude” to encourage the funding of energy-efficiency upgrades through its lending programs in last year’s NSBA-supported Small Business Jobs Act.

NSBA has long advocated for an enhanced role for the SBA in ensuring that America’s small businesses can invest in energy-efficiency upgrades and is pleased to finally see some progress in this regard.

For additional information on various energy-efficiency financing options, please click here.

The Better Buildings Initiative also includes a new U.S. Department of Energy pilot program, expected to be proposed in the President’s Budget submission, that would guarantee loans for energy-efficiency upgrades at hospitals, schools and other commercial buildings.

The Obama Administration also indicated that it plans to ask Congress to modify a deduction in the tax code that deals with energy-efficiency retrofits.  The proposed alteration would convert Section 179D of the tax code from a tax deduction to a tax credit. The administration argues that this would provide a “ten-fold increase in commercial retrofit take up.”

Please click here for more information on the Better Buildings Initiative.