Alliance to Save Energy Hails Enactment of ‘Most Significant Energy-Saving Law in Three Decades’
Washington, D.C., December 18, 2007 – The Alliance to Save Energy today hailed enactment of H.R. 6 as the most significant energy-efficiency legislation in three decades and congratulated the principal architects of the legislation, most notably Senate Energy Committee Chairman and Alliance Honorary Congressional Vice-Chair Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), for successfully marshalling the historic legislation through the Congress in less than a year.
Alliance President Kateri Callahan stated, “The Alliance applauds Senator Bingaman – who has championed the cause of energy efficiency for decades – as well as the leaders of the House Energy Committee, the speaker of the House, and the majority leader of the Senate, for delivering our nation a ‘holiday gift’ of energy and money savings that will continue for decades to come.” Callahan added, “In addition to helping American consumers and businesses, this historic legislation makes a much-needed ‘down payment’ on curbing global warming and confronting other critical energy issues, including national energy security and the health of our economy.”
Savings from the lighting efficiency standards alone, the Alliance noted, exceed the combined energy and money savings of all 21 federal appliance standards adopted since the year 2000. By 2020, the lighting standards are projected to lower consumers’ annual electricity bills by more than $13 billion; save more than 140 billion kilowatt hours per year – an amount exceeding that used by all the homes in Texas in 2006; prevent approximately 100 million tons per year of carbon dioxide pollution, the main global warming pollutant; and eliminate the need for nearly 60 mid-sized power plants.
In addition to phasing out inefficient lighting products and improving the efficiency of other home appliances such as dishwashers, clothes washers, refrigerators, and freezers, H.R. 6:
- Raises vehicle fuel economy standards to a level that can save American families up to $1,000 a year in gasoline costs by the year 2020;
- Encourages development of commercial buildings that produce as much energy as they use;
- Requires federal agencies to reduce their energy use; and
- Permanently authorizes Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs), an innovative financing tool for upgrading the energy efficiency of federal buildings.
The legislation raises Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards from the current average of about 25 miles per gallon for passenger cars, light trucks, and SUVs to 35 mpg by 2020, saving consumers $22 billion in 2020 and reducing U.S. oil consumption by 1.1 million barrels per day in 2020 – half of what we currently import from the Persian Gulf. The new standards also will cut greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 28 million of today’s cars off the road.
The new law also will authorize a Commercial Building Initiative (CBI) combining research, development, and deployment of new commercial buildings that would use energy efficiency and clean energy sources to produce zero greenhouse gas emissions.
“With commercial buildings accounting for 18 percent of the nation’s total energy use and about 45 percent of the nation’s energy use by buildings, ensuring that new commercial construction produces ‘zero-energy’ buildings would be a huge step forward,” Callahan said.
At the same time the Alliance hailed enactment of H.R. 6, the organization also urged Congress and the president to fully fund the important energy efficiency programs authorized by the bill. Callahan concluded, “Without further action, we will not realize fully the energy and money savings this bill promises the American people; for example, full funding of the CBI could reduce commercial building energy use by 25%, but without such funds we likely will forego these significant savings.”