Senate Bill Advances Energy Efficiency
Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman(R-OH) reintroduced their Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, an energy efficiency bill that is supported by the National Association of Manufacturers, the Alliance to Save Energy and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association among others.
The bill is is scheduled for a Tuesday hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. If it makes it through the Senate, it must then be introduced in the House of Representatives.
Different iterations of the bill have been circulated for months, and Shaheen and Portman say they have taken every precaution to make sure the bill eventually makes it to the President’s desk, according to Politico.
The bill is in line with President Obama’s push for more energy efficiency in commercial buildings, manufacturing and the federal government. It focuses on encouraging industrial energy-efficiency upgrades through tax credits and state grant programs, research and development funding and more stringent efficiency standards for new building codes. Specifically, the bill calls for:
- strengthening national model building codes to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient while working with states and private industry to make the code-writing process more transparent;
- providing competitive funding to states in support of commercial building energy-efficiency financing;
- encouraging the Department of Energy (DOE) to work with private sector partners to invest in the research, development and commercialization of innovative energy-efficient technology and processes for industrial applications; and
- establishing a volunteer DOE program – SupplySTAR – to help improve the efficiency of corporate supply chains.
Besides trade groups that support the bill, companies that make energy efficiency products obviously support it as well. Several of them including Waterfurnace International, Ameresco, Cree and Phillips, which saw their stock prices rise after the bill’s introduction, according to Forbes.
In order to make the bill more palatable to Republication opposition, it contains no “mandates,” Portman told The Hill. Energy efficiency mandates are seeing more opposition. The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International just last week recommended energy benchmarking as a top way to save energy and money, and yet the BOMA Boston branch opposes Mayor Menino’s efforts to require mandatory benchmarking in Boston using Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager. A spokeswoman for BOMA International said, “BOMA International fully supports voluntary benchmarking and actively promotes it, as evidenced by our numerous Energy Star awards. The City of Boston, however, is proposing mandatory benchmarking and reporting.”
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