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(Plymouth, NH) – During stops in Laconia and Plymouth today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) urged Congress to take up her energy efficiency legislation as a quick and effective way to promote job growth and keep our nation competitive in the global economy. Shaheen’s bipartisan bill, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011, was recently passed by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources with strong support from both parties.

“The energy efficiency initiatives that we saw today are a perfect example of the kinds of improvements businesses can make to reduce their energy costs and stay competitive,” said Shaheen, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.  “Our economy remains fragile and high energy costs are particularly challenging when families, businesses and our government are trying to do more with less. Energy efficiency is an affordable, effective way to move our economy forward and address our energy challenges.”

In her first stop of the day, Shaheen visited Titeflex Aerospace in Laconia, where she toured the company’s manufacturing facilities and was briefed on the company’s recent efforts to reduce energy use. Over the last three and a half years, Titeflex has upgraded its facility to use high efficiency lighting fixtures, energy efficient air conditioning roof units, and energy efficient motors. Such upgrades of energy efficient motors would be incentivized through a Department of Energy rebate program in Senator Shaheen’s legislation.

“During Senator Shaheen’s visit to our facility today, it was a pleasure to demonstrate the new energy efficiencies that we have incorporated into our manufacturing process, as well as highlight our future plans,” said Graham Thomson, General Manger of Titeflex Aerospace. “We at Titeflex welcome the energy focus that Senator Shaheen has taken by sponsoring the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act to promote faster progress in this area. We look forward to the continued focus over the next year on this issue from her office.”

Shaheen then toured Plymouth State University’s EcoHouse, a university building designed to showcase environmentally sustainable technology. The EcoHouse’s energy efficiency retrofits include solar collectors, which will generate on average 60,000 BTU’s a day.  This represents enough energy to provide an estimated 55 – 75 percent of the water heating for the EcoHouse. The building also provides a location for workshops, seminars, and demonstrations on sustainable design and alternative energy use.

“We are enormously pleased to host Senator Shaheen today,” said Plymouth State University President Dr. Sara Jayne Steen. “Sustainability plays a large role in our life at Plymouth State University.  In designing new buildings, renovating existing structures, and serving as teachers and researchers, we seek ways to minimize our impact on the Earth's resources. The Senator's Act provides important leadership in this arena, offering support for businesses and homeowners to take what we learn here and what others have learned and incorporate energy efficiency into new and existing buildings, creating jobs and reducing energy dependence.”

Shaheen’s bill would establish a national energy efficiency strategy and promote the use of energy efficient technologies like those already installed at Titeflex and EcoHouse.  The bipartisan approach is effective, affordable, and relies upon existing off-the-shelf technology.

Some highlights of the legislation include:

  • Boosts private sector investment in building efficiency upgrades by expanding the Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee program.
  • Helps manufacturers reduce energy use and become more competitive by working with states to establish a revolving loan program to help finance efficiency upgrades.
  • Provides standards on outdoor lighting, residential heating and cooling systems, residential appliances, and other appliance products based on agreements between manufacturers and efficiency advocates.
  • Works with states to strengthen national model building codes, to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient.
  • Requires the federal government – the single largest energy user in the country – to adopt energy saving techniques for computers, better building standards, and smart metering technology.

Introduced with Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), the legislation has garnered support from a wide range of businesses, trade associations, and efficiency advocates.