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Shaheen, Welch, Coons Urge Department of Energy to Swiftly Implement Policy to Improve Energy Efficiency, Slash Emissions, and Save Taxpayers Money

(Washington, DC) –U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Peter Welch (D-VT) and Chris Coons (D-DE) wrote a letter to Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm urging the Department of Energy (DOE) to implement federal building energy efficiency requirements included in the Energy Act of 2020 (EA2020) as quickly as possible to help reduce emissions from the nation’s building stock. The Senators also requested an update on the Department’s plans to implement these provisions.

“We appreciate the work the Biden Administration has done to address energy usage at federal facilities, which account for 25% of the government’s direct emissions, and support the President’s ambitious goal of reaching net-zero emissions in all federal buildings by 2045. DOE has taken important steps to meet these goals, including issuing an efficiency rule that will fully decarbonize new buildings and renovations by 2030—drastically slashing emissions and saving taxpayers up to a projected $8 million in upfront equipment costs. The Energy Savings Performance Contracting Campaign that DOE recently announced will support efficiency at the state and local government levels as well,” wrote the Senators.

“We applaud these efforts and look forward to seeing them implemented. However, more must be done to improve energy efficiency in federal buildings and meet our climate goals—which is why we urge the Department to quickly implement provisions of EA2020 that require agencies to implement all cost-effective measures after facility efficiency audits and require 50% of these measures to be completed with performance contracts,” the Senators continued. 

The full text of the letter can be found here.

The Energy Act of 2020 included the Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act, a bipartisan bill sponsored by former U.S. Senator Cory Gardner and Senators Shaheen and Coons, as well as then-Representative Welch in the House. The legislation requires the federal government to implement efficiency upgrades identified in evaluations that are found to be cost-effective. The legislation also required that 50% of the upgrade measures be done via performance contracting—a mechanism the Administration can use to more quickly and cost-effectively upgrade the efficiency of the federal building stock.

Senator Shaheen has long worked to secure federal investments in clean energy and energy efficiency initiatives. As a senior member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Department of Energy. Shaheen was also a key supporter of the Inflation Reduction Act, which included provisions for clean energy and climate investments in New Hampshire. Senator Shaheen was a lead negotiator of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which provided a $550 billion investment in our nation’s core infrastructure priorities – including roads and bridges, rail, transit, ports, airports, the electric grid, water systems and broadband. Shaheen successfully included key provisions of her energy efficiency bill – the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESIC) – with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH). She also included the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Act, the Promoting American Energy Jobs Act and the Heat Efficiency through Applied Technology (HEAT) Act.