Bill Approved to Strengthen Energy Savings, RE at Federal Level

The U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment offered by House Science Committee Ranking Member Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), which he says would save more than $200 million a year by making the Federal Government a leader in energy efficiency. The measure would also promote the installations of renewable energy projects by government agencies.

The amendment requires agencies funded by the bill, such as the Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency, to meet requirements in existing law when using funds from the appropriations bill to construct, lease or refurbish any building. Current requirements direct the Federal Government to reduce energy consumption by two percent per year through 2015, use energy-efficient equipment and building materials, switch from petroleum to natural gas and renewable energy resources, install metering to measure energy usage and reduce water consumption. “Despite the high cost of energy and existing laws requiring increased conservation and energy efficiency, Federal agencies still do not make this issue a priority,” Gordon said. The Federal Government wasted almost $500 million in the last two years by not meeting energy efficiency requirements, Gordon said. The waste equals the amount of energy used annually in 198,000 households. “The amount of energy the government wastes could light all the homes in my Tennessee Congressional District for an entire year,” said Gordon. “These relatively simple steps in building design and performance, combined with the usage of energy-efficient products, will contribute to substantial savings in the Federal sector. And that means cleaner air, cleaner water, and in a time of soaring energy costs, keeping money in taxpayers’ pockets.” Gordon’s amendment to an appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of the Interior passed the House Thursday (May 18). The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.


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