House Committee Gives Energy Efficiency a Boost | Alliance to Save Energy

House Committee Gives Energy Efficiency a Boost

The Alliance to Save Energy News

House Committee Gives Energy Efficiency a Boost

Release Date: Monday, June 11, 2007

House Committee Gives Energy Efficiency a Boost; Funding Increase Reflects Pressing Need to Curb Energy Demand, Costs, Climate Change

Washington, D.C., June 11, 2007 – By adding tens of millions of dollars in Fiscal Year 2008 funding for key energy-efficiency programs last week – reversing years of declining funding – the House Appropriations Committee has acknowledged the critical need to curtail our nation’s energy consumption and the polluting emissions that contribute to climate change, the Alliance to Save Energy said today. The Alliance called on Congress to make this a first step toward growing these programs to the level needed to fully address these critical issues.

“The robust funding levels for key energy-efficiency programs reflect committee members’ understanding of the pressing need to curb U.S. energy use in order to reduce energy costs for businesses, taxpayers, and the federal government and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “We are especially pleased to see funding for the new Commercial Buildings Initiative, an Alliance priority, because of the tremendous potential for energy and financial savings in this sector.”

Key elements of the appropriations bill include:
• Commercial Buildings Initiative – The committee approved $15 million for development of a new long-term zero-energy commercial buildings initiative intended to eliminate energy use in this sector over the coming years.
• ENERGY STAR (EPA portion) – The committee has funded ENERGY STAR at $52 million – nearly $6 million above the current level.
• Appliance Standards – The committee approved $23.6 million, more than double recent funding levels, to address the significant backlog that exists.
• Building codes –The committee added $10 million above the administration’s $3.8 million request to help states comply with building codes and to help train builders and inspectors in this area.
• Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) – The committee has provided $27 million for FEMP, an $8 million increase and the largest funding increase for this program in years.

“ENERGY STAR is a shining example of American ingenuity creating environmentally-conscious, energy-saving technologies,” said Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.). “With a small investment from the federal government, the program has paid major dividends. The 175 million ENERGY STAR-qualified products sold last year saved Americans nearly $12 billion on their energy bills. This is the kind of innovative thinking needed to meet our nation’s growing energy demands.”

Alliance Vice-Chair Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), a leader in the House on energy efficiency and renewable energy issues, noted of the bill, “Americans will reap a huge return on their increased investment in federal energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in terms of national security, the environment and the economy. Taxpayer dollars directed toward energy efficiency and renewable energy represent the cheapest, quickest and cleanest way to extend our nation’s energy supplies.”

“Efficiency savings are this nation’s largest untapped energy resource,” stated Rep. John Olver (D-Mass.), a key energy-efficiency advocate on both the Interior and Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittees. “The federal government owes it to the taxpayers to ensure that the most cost effective technologies are available and utilized. Every dollar spent on efficiency returns itself multiple times over in the form of lower energy costs, decreased reliance on imported fuels, and a reduction in harmful greenhouse gases.”

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), a leading supporter of energy efficiency on the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, said, “It is time that federal dollars fund the priorities of the American people and curb leading environmental and global problems. A focus on energy efficiency is a focus on America’s values, and that is what we are here to do.”

“In 2006, the average American family paid more than $5,000 in home and vehicle energy costs – a 32 percent increase from two years earlier,” Callahan continued. “We need to save every kilowatt hour of electricity, cubic foot of natural gas, and barrel of oil we can to help bring down today’s high energy costs, to make our nation more energy-secure, and to reduce our nation’s disproportionate carbon footprint.”




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