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Senate Dems Push Energy-Efficiency Policies

Jessica Lyons Hardcastle

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has introduced a bill to improve energy efficiency in federal buildings, and says she plans to introduce legislation to set up a program to fund energy-efficiency improvements in communities.

According to Politico, the bill Boxer introduced last week would require the General Services Administration to conduct energy audits of buildings it owns, identify efficiency improvements, calculate potential savings and propose ways for the buildings to pay for themselves within 10 years.

Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, told Capital Public Radio that buildings contribute 11 percent of annual GHG emissions.

Politico also reports that Boxer will introduce a bill to use the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program as a model for community-based programs to fund energy-efficiency projects, save money, and toughen public works to respond to disasters, such as Superstorm Sandy.

Boxer’s push for energy-efficiency legislation follows President Barack Obama’s focus on climate-change issues in his Jan. 21 inaugural address.

In his confirmation hearing last week, Secretary of State nominee John Kerry (D-Mass.) said the US should encourage renewable energy generation and pursue policies to increase energy-efficiency, The Huffington Post reports. Kerry called clean energy a “job creator,” and said it’s the fastest growing sector in his home state and others, including California.



3 comments on “Senate Dems Push Energy-Efficiency Policies

  1. With my 15 years or more of direct experience with the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) for the U. S. Department of Energy’s Western Regional Office in Seattle (1991-2006 +), I am truly excited about the proposed Energy Efficiency Legislation for the Federal Buildings and Communities, by Honorable Senator from California, Barbara Boxer. We already have several success stories and case study examples of how this program works – both under the strong leadership of GSA for the civilian agency federal buildings and DOD for its military infrastructure. I would like to suggest, however, the following CRITICAL steps/additions to the proposed legislation :

    1. All Building Energy Efficiency Improvement Decisions must be based on Life Cycle Cost (LCC) analysis and NOT on Simple Payback Period alone or determining the least LCC costs of projects

    2. Take full advantage of such CREATIVE FINANCIAL MECHANISMS as the Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) and Utility Energy Service Contracts (UESC), thus significantly reducing the Government’s Initial Investment in Energy Efficiency Measures’ Implementation, but rather relying on Third Party Private Financing and Guranteed Energy Cost Savings

    3. After successfully completing the Energy Efficiency Implementation in Government Buildings, the Federal agencies should use their long-term energy cost savings to install LCC-effective RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES, such as PV/Solar, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal, etc.

    Incidentally, the above-listed STRATEGY applies equally well to the COMMUNITY-based buildings & facilities

    Dr. Arun Jhaveri, Senior Energy Adviser/Consultant and Certified Sustainable Development Professional in Seattle @ 206-243-2102 (office) / 206-920-4851(cell)

  2. It’s beyond comprehension that there is no carbon tax.

    It could be graduated and slowly phased in.

    Alternative energy would need no subsidy if the subsidy for carbon pollution was ended.

    In the meantime this administration allowed FHFA to kill PACE. I just don’t see a genuine commitment to the future and clean energy.

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