So the House passed the climate bill. Or the energy and climate-change bill. Or the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Or whatever you want to call it. It’s got stuff to annoy the heck out of everyone in it, and may — somewhere in its 1,200 pages — actually do something for the planet.

Like most things coming from Washington over the past, oh, nine to 15 years, in order to get the votes it needed, it throws lots of money around. But it does do some good — capping greenhouse-gas emissions for the first time, requiring the use of renewable energy, and putting money into clean energy.

So what does this have to do with real estate? (Aside from maybe buying those shoreline homes a bit more time before they’re under water?)

The part of the bill that’s causing some consternation is section 204: Building Energy Performance Labeling Program. It requires the establishment of

…a building energy performance labeling program with broad applicability to the residential and commercial markets to enable and encourage knowledge about building energy performance by owners and occupants and to inform efforts to reduce energy consumption nationwide.

That had some folks worried. If all homes had to have an energy rating, well, who would pay for it? Who would do it? How much would homeowners have to spend to improve their ratings? Would homeowners be required to meet new efficiency standards? How would it affect sales? What other ripple effects would it have? And so on.

Enter NAR and its lobbying effort, which amended the bill — no small feat!

Meet subsection (m):

(m) New Construction- This section shall apply only to construction beginning after the date of enactment of this Act .

That doesn’t answer all the questions, of course, but it at least reduces the effect and reduces the number of things for Realtors to worry about.

We’ll of course be tracking the bill as it winds its way through the Senate, and — assuming it passes — will give you a detailed analysis on how it affects you and your clients.