March 11, 2020

Cortez Masto Cosponsors Legislation to Encourage Adoption of Smart Buildings as Part of Innovation State Initiative

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) in cosponsoring the Smart Building Acceleration Act to accelerate the transition to smart buildings by supporting research and by documenting the costs and benefits of emerging technologies in private-sector and federal government buildings.

“Buildings use a huge portion of our nation’s energy and contribute to the growing climate crisis. We need more energy-efficient, smart buildings that save resources. Places like Reno, Nevada, are leading the way with programs like ReEnergize Reno, which aims to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in the area by 20 percent over the next five years. The federal government should be leading in this field, not following, and this bill makes sure that government is helping pioneer new energy-efficient buildings solutions to renovate and refurbish existing structures. I’ll keep pushing in the Senate to make our cities SMARTer and to further my Innovation State Initiative to find creative energy solutions through emerging technologies and ensure that Nevada remains a leader in this space.”


The Smart Building Acceleration Act would require the Department of Energy (DOE) to establish a Federal Smart Building Program, with the goal of implementing smart building technologies that demonstrate the costs and benefits of smart buildings. Specifically, the Secretary of Energy is tasked with:

  • Choosing at least one building from each federal agency (including the Departments of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Energy, Interior, Veterans Affairs, and General Services Administration) for the implementation of smart building technologies, ensuring that a diverse selection of buildings are chosen for these upgrades;
  • Evaluating the costs and benefits of each building renovation;
  • Conducting a survey of privately-owned smart buildings and, in partnership with major private sector property owners, developing smart building accelerators to demonstrate innovative policies and approaches that will accelerate the transition to smart buildings in public, institutional, and commercial spaces;
  • Conduct research and development to address key barriers to integrating advanced building technologies; and
  • Establishing targets within 18 months for the number of smart buildings to be commissioned and evaluated by key federal agencies both three years and six years after the date of enactment.

Since coming to the United States Senate in 2017, Senator Cortez Masto has been an advocate for the responsible use of technology to foster innovation and strengthen Nevada’s, and America’s, economy. During the 115th Congress, Senator Cortez Masto unveiled her Innovation State Initiative, a package of legislative priorities that include funding for SMART Communities, providing for greater broadband access in underserved rural and urban communities, and ensuring that there are guardrails in legislation that provide for the responsible and safe use of technology and that protect workers.