While many in Washington still warn about the dangers of carbon emissions and climate change, the reality and perhaps the one thing that experts on both sides agree on, is that Americans are paying less attention to global warming than they have in the past. To end this uncertainty, the Senate after months of behind the scenes maneuvering will begin the debate on the critically important legislation which could help American consumers, businesses and the federal government to save millions of dollars each year by using less energy, and using less energy will be a step forward in the fight against climate change in the U.S.
The new energy efficiency legislation introduced by Senators Shaheen and Portman could come up before the U.S. Senate for approval. The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, also known as Shaheen-Portman Bill will help to reduce the energy bill of U.S., improve its economic competitiveness, create new American jobs and enhance U.S. energy security. The bill has been endorsed by more than 200 businesses, trade associations and advocacy groups.
What is the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act?
The Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a 19-3 vote, it includes provisions that will directly improve energy efficiency in buildings, industrial processes and federal agencies, the provisions in the bill include strengthening energy efficiency requirements in building energy codes, incentivizing energy efficiency using rebates and for certain equipment, encouraging energy efficiency supply chains through a new supply star program.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found implementation of the bill would save about 9.5 quadrillion btus (british thermal units) between 2014 and 2030, or nearly one tenth of the annual energy use in the U.S. As the second largest consumer of energy in the world and the world’s biggest economy it is critically important for the United States to improve energy efficiency, the bill has received bipartisan support with seven Republicans and twelve Democrats in favor of the bill. It contains a variety of policies and programs to reduce residential, commercial and industrial energy use and focusing on sectors and areas with energy savings potential such as the residential, commercial and industrial sectors, the bill also restricts inefficient energy practices that will cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars and millions of jobs every year. One of the components of the bill also requires the Federal Government- which is the largest user of energy adopt energy saving techniques and best practices to operate efficiently.
Commenting on the bill Senator Portman said “Washington can seem pretty divided these days, but there are some things on which we all can agree. This bill is one of them – it is good for the economy and good for the environment. By making it easier for employers to use energy efficient tools, we are helping them to reduce their costs, enabling them to put those savings towards expanding their companies and hiring new workers”.
The bill has received positive feedback and widespread support, the only constraint halting the success of the bill are the amendments lawmakers are trying to attach to it. The successful passing of this bill will not only help in mitigating climate change in the U.S. and reduce carbon emissions but also be a trendsetter for other countries to follow suit.