As the 115th Congress gets underway, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) have reintroduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, better known as Portman-Shaheen. The bill is cosponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Al Franken (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
Portman-Shaheen was introduced in the previous three congresses with bipartisan support. The bill is aimed at using low-cost tools to make it easier for private sector energy users to become more efficient while also making the country’s largest energy user – the federal government – more efficient.
The bill is focused on Buildings, Manufacturers, and the Federal Government:
- Strengthens national model building codes to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient while working with states and private industry to make the code-writing process more transparent.
- Trains the next generation of workers in energy-efficient commercial building design and operation through university-based Building Training and Research Assessment Centers.
- Streamlines available federal energy efficiency programs and financing to help improve efficiency and lower energy costs for schools.
- Requires all federal agency issues, insured, purchased, or securitized home mortgages to account for energy efficiency in the mortgage appraisal/underwriting process.
- Directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to work closely with private sector partners to encourage research, development, and commercialization of innovative energy efficient technology and processes for industrial applications.
- Helps manufacturers reduce energy use and become more competitive by incentivizing the use of more energy efficient motors and transformers.
- Establishes a DOE grant program – SupplySTAR – to help make companies’ supply chains more efficient.
- Requires the federal government – the single largest energy user in the country – to adopt energy saving techniques for computers
- Allows federal agencies to use existing funds to update plans for new federal buildings, using the most current building efficiency standards.
According to Senators Portman and Shaheen, a study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that the bill “will create more than 190,000 jobs, save consumers $16.2 billion a year, and cut CO2 emissions and other air pollutants by the equivalent of taking 22 million cars off the road – all by 2030.”
Senator Portman says the “bill is a win-win, creating nearly 200,000 new jobs and protecting our environment – all without a single new tax or mandate.” Senator Shaheen says the bill is “good for our economy and good for our environment – that’s why it enjoys broad bipartisan support.”