February 19, 2020 In the News

Analysis: Federal energy-efficiency bill is ‘just smart policy’

NH Business Review
By Jeff Feingold
February 19, 2020

An energy efficiency bill co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, would cut carbon dioxide emissions by an amount equal to removing all cars and light trucks from U.S. roads for a year, according to a new analysis conducted by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

The bill, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, is sponsored by Shaheen and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, in the Senate and U.S. Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vermont, and David McKinley, R-W.Va., in the House.

According to the study, the bill if enacted would cut energy bills by $51 billion, save 32 quadrillion Btu of energy and avoid 1.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions cumulatively for measures through 2050.

ACEEE Senior Policy Advisor Lowell Ungar, testifying before the House Energy and Commerce’s Energy Subcommittee, told members that the bill, “by spurring the construction of more energy-efficient buildings and houses, reducing energy waste in industrial plants, and assisting energy improvements in existing buildings would cut our energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.”

He called it “just smart policy.”

According to the ACEEE study, the measure’s provisions on developing model building energy codes would have the largest energy-saving impact. It would direct the U.S. Department of Energy to work with states, local governments and standards developers to come up with such codes.

The department would also assist state adoption of the codes and implement a new grant program to help homebuilders, contractors, trades, code officials and others implement them.

“Energy efficiency is the cheapest and fastest way to address our energy challenges in New Hampshire and around the country,” said Shaheen, adding that the ACEEE study “reaffirms that fact and also underscores how the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act will create thousands of new jobs, save American homes and businesses billions of dollars in energy costs and greatly reduce our carbon footprint,” said Shaheen.

The bill, which was passed last fall by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is supported by several business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.