US Rep Bass Introduces Legislation to Spur Innovations in Energy Efficiency

Bill will save taxpayer money by upgrading federal buildings to reduce energy costs in long term

WASHINGTON – Congressman Charles F. Bass (NH-02) today introduced bipartisan legislation to save taxpayer money in the long term and spur innovations in energy efficiency technology by targeting the federal government’s energy usage and by providing more opportunities for private industry to utilize energy efficient technologies and systems.  Bass’ legislation, the Smart Energy Act (H.R. 4017), has five original cosponsors: Reps. Jim Matheson (UT-02), Peter Welch (VT-AL), John Barrow (GA-12), Robert Dold (IL-10) and Michael Fitzpatrick (PA-08).

Bass said:

“The federal government spends $7 billion annually to heat, cool, and operate its 445,000 buildings.  Given our nation’s fiscal constraints, a common-sense place to save taxpayer dollars is by improving the energy efficiency of the hundreds of thousands of federal buildings across the country.  Through the use of new technologies and innovative funding mechanisms to help make the improvements, these upgrades can begin today at a price taxpayers and our nation can afford, while also helping to spur even more advancements in energy efficiency technologies for buildings, vehicles, and other electronic devices and appliances outside of our government.

“Our goal of energy independence and security will require a multi-faceted approach and many great ideas to become a reality.  Improving energy efficiency by using the federal government as a ‘first adopter’ is a good first step in expanding the nature of the energy debate in this nation so we are focusing not only on ways to increase our domestic energy supply, but also decrease domestic demand.” 

Specifically, the Smart Energy Act would:

  • ·         Require federal agencies to utilize a variety of methods to save energy across the entire government.  Provisions include increased use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) by federal agencies, which spur technological investments by contracting with private entities to upgrade a building’s energy efficiency.  ESPCs use the cost savings generated from reducing energy usage to fund the efficiency improvements instead of the standard appropriations process.  In addition, the legislation will expand the usage of demand response programs, require computer power savings techniques, continue the work to consolidate federal data centers, and provide an efficient method to collect data and track progress. 


  • ·         Establish a strategic plan to double the production of electricity production by 2020 through the use of combined heat and power and waste heat recovery.  Maximizing energy already created for both its thermal and electric generation capabilities is a core definition of efficiency.


  • ·         Expand existing funding mechanisms to ensure advanced energy efficiency systems and technologies are on a level playing field with other programs aimed at reducing our dependency on foreign sources of energy.

The Smart Energy Act has already garnered broad support among trade associations and businesses, including the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, the Alliance to Save Energy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Danfoss Group, the Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition, Dow Chemical, the Edison Electric Institute, EnerNOC, Ingersoll Rand, Johnson Controls, the National Electric Contractors Association of Greater Boston, Pew Charitable Trusts, Schneider Electric, United Technologies, and the U.S. Clean Heat and Power Association, among others.

“Introduction of the Bass-Matheson bill moves our nation significantly closer to enactment of important energy efficiency legislation this year,” commented Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan. “With similar legislation, in the form of the bipartisan Shaheen-Portman bill (S. 1000) ready to go to the Senate floor, we could have the basis very soon for a fruitful conversation about increasing our nation’s energy efficiency.  The Alliance applauds Congressmen Bass and Matheson for showcasing that energy efficiency policy is a non-partisan issue that will help to alleviate the economic, environmental and security problems associated with our country’s current, wasteful energy use.”

David Gardiner, Executive Director of the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, said, “The Alliance for Industrial Efficiency applauds Reps. Bass and Matheson for recognizing that combined heat and power and waste heat recovery could create one million new jobs in the design, installation, construction and maintenance of equipment, and help employment in the construction industry, where unemployment is more than twice the national average.  To make American manufacturing more competitive, save energy and money, and create jobs, Congress should adopt the Bass-Matheson measure to double use of CHP and WHR.”

“By setting the ambitious goal of doubling industrial energy efficiency for our nation, Congressmen Bass (R-NH) and Matheson (D-UT) are taking a critical first step in creating one million jobs, making our manufacturers and industry more competitive in the global economy, and saving energy,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Clean Energy Program. “Combined heat and power and waste heat recovery technologies already provide more than 85 gigawatts of energy—almost nine percent of the nation’s total electricity capacity.  But, much more can be done.  Capturing wasted heat from industrial processes and turning it into power can save money and furnish reliable electricity to industry, hospitals, universities, military bases, and others.” 

Chris Hankin, Senior Director, Information Technology Industry Council, and Executive Director, Digital Energy Solutions Campaign, said, “ITI and DESC applaud the leadership of Mr. Bass and Mr. Matheson in introducing the Smart Energy Act.  We are particularly encouraged to see ‘smart government’ provisions that leverage cost-savings and efficiency from innovation and advancements in information and communications technology.  Data center consolidation and improved energy efficiency in IT equipment will save the federal government, and ultimately the American taxpayer, billions of dollars over the next decade.  We are encouraged by the introduction of this common-sense bill, and hope to see movement on it in the near future.”  

The text of the Smart Energy Act can be found here


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