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Shaheen, Portman Introduce Amendment to Lower Energy Bills for Consumers & Reduce Emissions

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced an amendment to add the voluntary building codes sections of their legislation, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (Portman-Shaheen), to the energy bill currently under consideration on the Senate floor. This building codes amendment focuses on encouraging the construction of new homes and buildings to be more energy efficient without any mandates. The adoption of updated model building energy codes, as well as states’ review of updated model building energy codes, are completely voluntary.

The provisions in this amendment were included in the Portman-Shaheen energy efficiency measure that has been approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on a bipartisan basis five separate times and passed the full Senate by a vote of 85-12 in 2016 as part of a bipartisan energy package. Most recently the legislation was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee with bipartisan support in September

Portman-Shaheen codes provision has been praised by a broad range of stakeholders, from efficiency experts to industry leaders to environmental activists. In fact, a recent economic and environmental impact analysis by the policy experts at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found that over the lifetime of the legislation through 2050, the Portman-Shaheen building codes provisions will:

  • Save consumers $41.4 billion on their energy bills;
  • Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.18 billion metric tons, which is the equivalent of taking 3.1 million cars off the road each year for 30 years; and
  • Save 28 quadrillion Btu of energy.

“Energy efficiency is the cheapest and fastest way to approach our economy’s energy independence,” said Shaheen. “That’s why Senator Portman and I have kept up the fight to get our bill—the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act – across the finish line. While we’ve been successful in getting parts of this legislation signed into law, one of the most important aspects of our bipartisan bill has yet to clear the final hurdle. That’s why today Senator Portman and I are filing this amendment that would enhance voluntary building codes to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient. This legislation would prevent an estimated 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions and produce over $41 billion in energy cost savings by 2050. This is a commonsense, bipartisan measure that invests in the sustainability of both our economy and environment, and I encourage Senators on both sides of the aisle to support it.”  

“This bipartisan amendment will ensure that American consumers see the significant savings on their energy bills that they deserve from homes and buildings across America that are built in a more energy efficient manner. Our amendment, while not mandatory for any state, local government, or tribe, would protect the environment by reducing carbon emissions equivalent to taking 3.1 million cars off the road each year for 30 years. I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan amendment to lower energy costs for consumers while protecting our environment,” said Portman

Senator Shaheen is a champion of efforts that invest in sustainability and promote energy efficiency. In September 2019, Senator Shaheen testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy in support of her legislation with Senator Portman, which as noted, cleared the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee the following month. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources has also recently passed a number of Shaheen’s bipartisan energy efficiency legislative priorities, including her bill with Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to promote innovation, energy efficiency and economic competitiveness of American manufacturers.