The Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill: What’s In It For Us?

As environmental concerns become increasingly prevalent around the globe, it’s no surprise that politicians are proposing more and more legislation (as well as making numerous campaign promises) that center around sustainability.

When President Obama took office in 2007, one of his primary goals with respect to environmental policy was to come up with a plan to cut energy emissions. A few months ago, Obama submitted his national strategy  – the Climate Action Plan -to increase the use of sustainable technologies.

The Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill, which promises increased energy efficiency and job creation, and which also opens the door for partnership between local, state and federal governments, has been on hold while Congress is out for summer, but is scheduled for consideration as early as September. Below, we’ve outlined some of the main aspects of the bill.

What Is The Bill?

To summarize, the Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill will:

  • Increase the use of energy efficient technologies in the residential, commercial, and industrial facets of the American economy.
  • Speed up the transition to a more energy-efficient economy, increasing both U.S. economic competitiveness and energy security, while stimulating the economy and encouraging job creation.
  • Encourage the Department of Energy (DOE) to partner with the private sector to invest in research development and implementation.

How Does The Bill Impact the Environment and Sustainability Efforts?

  • It creates more stringent national building codes to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy-efficient.
  • It aids the manufacturing sector in reducing energy consumption and helps finance efficiency upgrades.
  • It sets up a Department of Energy SupplySTAR— which assists in creating efficiencies in corporate supply chains.
  • It increases the use of electric vehicles by clarifying that federal agencies can use ESOs (Energy Service Companies) to install electric vehicle charging technology.
  • It aims to reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 108 million metric tons in 2030, which is the equivalent to taking 22 million cars off the road.
  • It promises no increase to the U.S. national deficit, as it allows governments to use existing funds for clean energy investments.
  • Its energy efficiency savings support job creation in other areas of the economy.

What Are The Hold Ups?

  • Some organizations are not convinced that the act is as cost-effective as it claims.
  • Certain agencies would prefer a comparable overhaul within the private sector, as opposed to one mandated by the federal government.
  • It will require a collaborative effort amongst the local, state, and federal governments.

Although the Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill has widespread support across the United States – from bipartisan support in Congress, to advocacy from corporate and special interest groups – there are still many gains to be made.   The Shaheen-Portman Bill is a step in the right direction, but achieving more of the goals in Obama’s Climate Action Plan will be a true signal of success in decreasing the United States’ carbon footprint.

Be sure to stay tuned here at Eco-Centric as we keep an eye on this bill and additional legislation that heavily impacts environmental progress and sustainability.

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