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Shaheen Joins Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Efficiency in Federal Buildings

(Washington, DC) – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined bipartisan legislation, the Federal Energy and Water Management Performance Act of 2019, led by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) that would formally authorize the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) and establish energy and water usage reduction goals for federal buildings.

FEMP is an existing program within the Department of Energy that provides training, guidance, and technical assistance to enable federal agencies to meet energy-related goals. FEMP works with agencies and stakeholders to identify affordable solutions, facilitate energy and water savings through public-private partnerships, and provide energy leadership to the country by identifying government best practices. While the program has been consistently funded through multiple administrations, it has never been formally authorized.

Buildings account for about 40 percent of all U.S. energy consumption, and roughly 70 percent of the country’s electricity consumption. The federal government is the country’s number one energy consumer, which costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the operation of buildings in the U.S. accounts for around 47 billion gallons of water use per day, or about 12 percent of the country’s total water use. According to the Alliance to Save Energy, the average building in the U.S. will stand for more than 70 years, making reasonable reductions in building energy and water use a major opportunity for efficiency gains.

“Requiring federal buildings to meet energy and water reduction goals will save American taxpayers money, conserve water and increase the use of renewable energy,” Shaheen said. “I’m glad to partner with Senators Murkowski and Manchin on this effort so Congress can make headway on bipartisan legislation that invests in the sustainability of our environment and vitality of our economy. This has long been a top priority for me, and I’ll continue to pursue bipartisan solutions that benefit both our economy and environment.”

Key provisions of the bill would:

  • Establish energy use reduction goals in federal buildings of 2.5 percent per year for 10 years (2020 to 2030, relative to 2018);
  • Establish water use reduction goals in federal buildings of 54 percent by 2030 relative to 2007;
  • Codify FEMP and detail its directives and the duties of its director; and
  • Provide authorizations for FEMP through fiscal year 2030.

Senator Shaheen has prioritized legislation in Congress that invests in energy efficiency. Earlier this month, Senator Shaheen joined bipartisan legislation that would encourage the use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) and Utility Energy Savings Contracts (UESCs) in federal buildings. In May, Shaheen joined Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) to introduce legislation that would overhaul the federal tax code to support an innovative, low-carbon economy by consolidating 44 energy incentives into three technology-neutral provisions that encourage clean electricity, clean transportation and energy efficiency. Shaheen also recently worked across the aisle with Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) on the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Act, which would assist small- and medium-sized American manufacturers in adopting smart manufacturing technologies. Smart manufacturing technologies combines information, technology and innovation, allowing companies to make real-time management decisions regarding productivity, energy and costs.  And as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Shaheen has historically helped secure increased funding for several energy efficiency and renewable energy programs at the Department of Energy.

A copy of the full text of the legislation is available here. Click here for a one-page background and section-by-section summary.