The Senate Has an Easy Decision on Energy Efficiency to Improve Its Energy Bill
Let’s say you’re in the market for a new cell phone.
One store is offering a great price of $50, but it comes with a bill of $100 per month. The store next door is charging $100 upfront, but the monthly fees are just $50 per month. Most people would choose option two. You’d break even in the first month and save $550 over the course of the first year.
Consumers face a similar dynamic when buying a house. The biggest expense after the mortgage payment is usually the energy bill. Drafty, leaky and poorly insulated homes cost a lot of money to heat and cool – the average monthly utility bill is about $225. An upfront investment of a couple of thousand dollars in insulation and other energy efficiency upgrades during construction can deliver huge savings over time.
The Senate missed an opportunity to address this challenge in an energy bill rolled out last week that omitted bipartisan provisions written by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) that would provide more federal support for developing and implementing voluntary model building energy codes. The good news is a broadly supported amendment to restore the codes provisions is under consideration, and the Senate can create decades of improved affordability and sustainability in the housing sector by adopting it.