US: push toward energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is looking to move fast in the US thanks to a recent legislation decision, leading many industry experts and others optimistic that a more effective national standard is soon on the way.

Energy efficiency is now moving full-force in the US thanks to a recent legislation decision, leading many industry experts and others optimistic that a more effective national standard is soon on the way.
During his recent speech at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama called for efforts to reduce energy consumption, encourage job growth and lower environmentally-harmful carbon gas emissions. In 2009, Obama pledged that the US would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17% of 2005 levels by 2020.
The call for action echoed sentiments introducing the Shaheen-Portman Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness (ESIC) Act, which calls for state-based commercial energy-efficiency programmes that leverage private financing.
First introduced a year ago, the legislation is designed to increase the use of energy-efficiency technologies all across the economy, while also creating jobs and making the nation more environmentally-friendly with decreased emissions. It also calls for strengthening energy-efficiency requirements in building codes, making supply chains more efficient and requiring efficiency measures in the federal government and encouraging energy-efficiency upgrades, such as high-performance glass and window products as recommended in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), at industrial facilities.
The Senate is expected to take up the measure as early as August.
But the proposed statute is just one of several currently being considered in both houses of Congress. Other pending Senate legislation dealing with energy efficiency include:
All-Of-The-Above Federal Building Energy Conservation Act, which would make federal buildings reduce the energy intensity of its buildings by 3% each year compared to a 2005 baseline, ending in a 45% reduction by 2020.
Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act, which aims at directing the Secretary of Energy (DOE), acting through the Office of Energy and Renewable Energy, to act as the lead federal agency for coordinating and disseminating information on existing federal programs and assistance that may be used to help initiate, develop, and finance energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy retrofitting projects for schools.
State Energy Race to the Top Initiative Act, which regards the retrofit old buildings and remote metering at the household and office level, creating an estimated 1.3 million jobs while cutting carbon emissions and boosting economic output.
Weatherization, Enhancement and Local Energy Efficiency Investment and Accountability Act, to assist low-income families that lack the resources to make their homes safer, healthier, and more energy efficient. Administered by the Department of Energy, the programme would be responsible for energy efficiency upgrades in more than 7.4 million homes across the country, including more than one million homes in just the last four years.
Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, designed to foster energy savings in residential and commercial buildings and industry and for other purposes.
Local Energy Supply and Resiliency Act, which aims at helping industry, universities, hospitals, and others capture waste heat and use renewables for heating, cooling, and power generation. It will also strengthen the ability to keep the lights on, keep buildings comfortable, and enable uninterrupted business operations.
SAVE Act, designed to improve the accuracy of mortgage underwriting used by federal mortgage agencies by including a home’s expected energy cost savings when determining the value and affordability of energy efficient homes.
Legislation currently under consideration in the House of Representative includes:
The Better Buildings Act, to facilitate better alignment, cooperation, and best practices between commercial real estate landlords and tenants regarding energy efficiency in buildings.
Residential Energy and Economic Savings Act, which aims at establishing a grant programme to assist retail power providers with the establishment and operation of energy conservation programmes using targeted residential tree-planting, and for other purposes.