Long-delayed national energy efficiency measure passes Senate
By Robert Walton | March 31, 2015
- The Senate has passed a bipartisan national energy efficiency bill sponsored by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), building on efforts made in the House last year.
- Among other provisions, the measure establishes a voluntary, market-driven approach to aligning the interests of commercial building owners and their tenants to reduce energy consumption.
- The Hill reports the bill was passed by a voice vote during a late-night session last week, with Portman and Shaheen the only Senators present on the floor.
The Senate has passed national energy efficiency legislation, with the bill’s provisions coming from H.R. 2126. That bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives last Congress, but which did not move forward during the debate over the Keystone Pipeline. The Hill reports the measure passed in a voice vote around 4 a.m. Friday morning.
“This bill has garnered such widespread support because of a simple fact – it is good for the economy and good for the environment. It’s part of an energy plan for America that can help bring the jobs back, help fix our trade deficit, help make our manufacturers more competitive, and actually help to protect the environment,” Portman said.
The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 includes three main provisions, including one requiring that federally-leased buildings without Energy Star labels benchmark and disclose their energy usage data, where practical. Another portion works to reduce electricity consumption in commercial buildings, while a third section allows large-volume water heaters to continue to be used in demand response programs.
“Energy efficiency has received such strong bipartisan support because it’s the cheapest and fastest way to address our nation’s energy challenges,” Shaheen said. “Today we passed a bill that will create jobs, save consumers money, and reduce pollution in a smart, effective and affordable way.”