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Carter, Veasey Introduce Legislation to Improve Energy Efficiency in Federal Buildings

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Washington, May 13, 2019 | comments
Representatives Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (R-Ga.) and Marc Veasey (D-Tx.) introduced bipartisan legislation to improve energy efficiency in federal buildings. 

The All-of-the-Above Federal Building Energy Conservation Act increases flexibility in energy sources for federal buildings by removing the current ban on the use of fossil fuels in federal buildings while implementing energy efficiency targets. This will allow federal facility managers to choose the energy mix that is most effective in meeting their efficiency goals while saving taxpayers dollars at the same time. 

The legislation also ensures that major renovations to existing facilities achieve 30 percent less energy use than the current requirements, which is in line with the standards for new federal buildings.

"The federal government is the single largest consumer of electricity in the United States," said Carter. "Unfortunately, current law prohibits common-sense measures to make buildings more efficient and more cost-effective. Our legislation will put in place attainable, realistic targets while providing the flexibility needed to lower energy usage and save taxpayer dollars."

“Climate Change is a serious problem and the federal government needs to do more to address the issue,” said Congressman Veasey. “By refocusing our goals, we can reduce emissions through increased efficiency in our nation’s federal buildings. The current mandate applies to major retrofits as well as new federal buildings. However, many agencies do not have the ability to comply with the mandate, which ends up costing the federal government more for their energy bills. This bill works to address this problem by creating stronger energy efficiency standards, which results in fewer emissions, and reduces the financial burden of costly energy bills for the federal government and ultimately the American taxpayer.”

“Congress has long aimed to increase energy efficiency in the federal building portfolio," said American Public Gas Association President and CEO Bert Kalisch. "This bill takes concrete steps towards achieving that goal by allowing flexibility to meet current and future energy needs. We applaud Congressmen Carter and Veasey for their work and urge consideration of this legislation."

“This bill provides welcome reforms to federal energy policy by removing the uncertainty surrounding ways to meet future energy needs at federal facilities,” NRECA CEO Jim Matheson said. “This legislation provides a cohesive and functional federal energy efficiency policy that works for the federal government and its energy providers. I commend Representatives Carter and Veasey for recognizing the need for energy efficiency improvements at federal buildings alongside the continued use of diverse energy sources. America’s electric cooperatives encourage swift consideration of the legislation.”
Specifically, the All-of-the-Above Federal Building Energy Conservation Act:
  • Repeals the ban on the use of fossil fuels in federal buildings;
  • Extends the expired federal building energy efficiency improvement targets at a rate of 2.5% per year until reaching 20% in 2027;
  • Strengthens the recommissioning of existing facilities which have helped to improve efficiency while reducing energy consumption;
  • Encourages the use of energy management systems for facilities;
  • Updates energy codes used to ensure the goals are based off of the most recent codes;
  • Reduces energy audits for well-managed buildings which allows for a greater focus to be placed on those in need;
  • Directs facility managers to implement all cost-effective energy efficiency measures that have been identified through energy audits of federal buildings;
  • Ensures major renovations to existing facilities achieve 30 percent less energy use than current code, which is in line with the standards for new federal buildings; and,
  • Allows the Department of Energy to define major renovations through an open comment process, ensuring the definition is in line with what is achievable.
The legislation is supported by the Alliance to Save Energy, Ameresco, the American Gas Association, the American Public Gas Association, the American Public Power Association, Constellation New Energy, Inc., the Edison Electric Institute, the Energy Systems Group, the Federal Performance Contracting Coalition, the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, Honeywell, Johnson Controls Inc., Lockheed Martin, the National Association of Energy Service Companies, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Noresco, Schneider Electric, Siemens Corporation USA, Southland Energy, Trane and United Technologies. 
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