On Wednesday, March 5, Republican and Democratic members of the House joined to pass the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014 (HR 2126), sponsored by Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-VT).
The bill includes several provisions to save energy in buildings:
• The Better Buildings Act to encourage commercial building tenants to save energy through a "Tenant Star" recognition program and green leases that all benefit from the cost savings;
• A provision to encourage benchmarking and public disclosure of energy use in commercial buildings, following a strategy several cities around the country have adopted to encourage more efficiency;
• The Energy Efficient Government Technology Act for federal agencies to develop strategies to implement energy-saving information technologies from building energy management to telework, and to improve efficiency of federal data centers, and
• A provision to address concerns that recent efficiency standards for water heaters could interfere with their use in demand response programs run by rural and other utilities.
In response, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy Senior Policy Advisor Lowell Ungar made the following statement:
"Today the U.S. House showed again there is true bipartisan support for energy efficiency and the benefits efficiency brings to consumers, the economy, and the environment. We urge the Senate to take up the mantle and pass the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill.
"These provisions are designed to address some key barriers of lack of information and perverse incentives that prevent building owners from implementing cost-effective energy efficiency measures.
"These measures also are in the new version of the Senate's energy efficiency bill (S. 2074), sponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), along with other important efficiency measures. We hope the Senate takes up that bill without delay, so that Americans can start reaping more of the utility bill savings, jobs, cleaner air, and more secure energy that energy efficiency can provide."