Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) reintroduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, S. 761, on May 15, 2013, authorizing appropriations to support activities aimed at promoting energy efficiency in the residential and commercial sectors. To satisfy senators concerned about cost, S. 761 would reduce authorizations for an existing program aimed at promoting energy-efficient commercial buildings. S. 761 differs from a similar bill proposed in 2011 by eliminating federal mandates, such as for national energy efficiency building codes. S. 761 would require states to certify to the Dept of Energy (DOE) whether or not they have updated residential and commercial building codes to meet known energy efficiency standards.
The bill is in line with President Obama’s push for more energy efficiency in buildings, manufacturing, and the federal government. It focuses on encouraging energy efficiency upgrades through tax credits, state grant programs, research and development funding, and more stringent efficiency standards for 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 for commercial building energy-efficiency;
- encouraging the 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.
S. 761 is supported by diverse groups like the National Association of Manufacturers, the Alliance to Save Energy and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.
S. 761 contains no energy efficiency “mandates” for states (mandatory building codes) and businesses, in contrast to New York City and Boston’s recently passed bills requiring mandatory energy benchmarking using Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager.
Of course, with the US House and Senate problems these days, we do not know if and when S. 761 will be voted on, not to mention passed. However, it does appear to have bipartisan support. This is a bill you should be following as it is a good opportunity for your company to obtain funding (from the taxes you pay) for the upfront costs of energy upgrades that will ultimately save you money. Such financial incentives can help a project’s ROI meet the criteria your company needs for approval.
CCES can help your building or company perform an energy assessment (ASHRAE Level I, II, or III) or benchmark using Portfolio Manager or other tools. We can determine your energy usage and determine strategies to reduce usage that will pay back the initial investment in a reasonable time and provide greater operating flexibility and reduce long-term risk and maintenance, as well. We can also advise you and help you apply for available private, state and federal energy incentives. Call us for more information now.
Marc Karell is the owner of Climate Change & Environmental Services. CCES technical experts can help you evaluate your fuel usage in the transportation and heating realms and can recommend and manage workable strategies and implement proven ways to reduce fuel usage and save you money. See our website: www.CCESworld.com for more information or contact me at karell@CCESworld.com.