This week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee pushed for positive change for building efficiency legislation with the passage of H.R. 4092, the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act of 2014, and H.R. 2689, the Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act of 2013. These bipartisan bills both cleared the committee by voice vote.
Each bill aims to make important improvements to existing federal policies. H.R. 4092 would task the Department of Energy with collecting and disseminating information regarding federal programs and financing mechanisms in order to promote efficiency and retrofitting projects for schools. H.R. 2689 would make technical changes to existing federal laws governing the use of energy savings performance contracts and utility energy service contracts. These changes would be helpful in expanding private sector investment to upgrade the energy and water efficiency of federal facilities, rather than exclusively using taxpayer dollars.
During committee deliberation, the sponsor of H.R. 2689, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), highlighted the opportunity to make the federal government more efficient. “Just look at the money we could be saving the taxpayer,” he said. “The U.S. government operates nearly 3 billion square feet of office space — taxpayers pay an enormous price to heat and cool these spaces.”
USGBC has been working with elected officials, energy service companies, school organizations, professional societies and advocacy groups to advance elements of both of these bills in both the House and Senate. USGBC commends the members of the Energy and Commerce Committee who supported these bills. Committee passage of the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act and the Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act serves as additional momentum from the House in advancing building efficiency related policies. Stay tuned to see how this legislation progresses and how this effort might affect Senate consideration of the reintroduced Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act.