06/30/14 :

House Shows Leadership on Energy Efficiency During Energy Week on the Hill

Two pieces of energy efficiency legislation were passed during "energy week" on the Hill.

On Monday, June 23, the House of Representatives continued their push to increase energy efficiency at the federal, state and local levels to help save taxpayers money and reduce our impact on the environment.

Under suspension of the rules, which blocks amendments and restricts debate to 40 minutes, Members reconsidered two key pieces of energy efficiency legislation during the House’s Energy Week. Both H.R. 4092, the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act, and H.R. 4801 passed the House by a simple voice vote, with little opposition. 

Taken together, both legislations would greatly boost the energy efficiency throughout our nation. Currently, operation and maintenance remains the second highest expenditure for U.S. public schools, after personnel salaries. H.R. 4092 aims to tap into the large opportunity that energy efficiency would bring to our nation’s aging schools, by reducing the estimated $6 billion that schools spend per year on energy.

This common-sense, no-cost legislation would streamline existing federal initiatives and establish the Department of Energy (DOE) as the lead agency in coordinating efforts to help initiate, develop, and finance energy projects for schools. Under this legislation, states, school boards, and local officials retain their autonomy about how to best meet their energy needs. However, DOE is required to provide technical assistance to help schools navigate the existing federal programs and financing options available, alleviating burdens on school administrators by establishing an efficient one-stop shop for schools.

The House also passed H.R. 4801 last week. Authored by Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) and Alliance Honorary Vice-Chair Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), the bill would require federal agencies to identify opportunities to use water and energy more efficiently. As our nation’s largest energy and water consumer, identifying areas for greater efficiency at the federal level would result in tremendous energy and water savings and a reduced impact on our environment.

It comes as no surprise that the House chose to reconsider energy efficiency legislation during their Energy Week. The House has long shown leadership in this realm and has recognized energy efficiency as our nation’s most abundant and cheapest energy resource. We’re hopeful that action by the lower chamber will help nudge the Senate to reconsider energy efficiency legislation later in the year. 

Policy Assistant Jordan Nichols contributed to this post.