The Senate’s Energy Subcommittee on Wednesday held a hearing that considered bipartisan legislation to help further advance energy efficiency in U.S. buildings without federal regulations – but through data-driven, voluntary measures.
- The Senate panel assessed the Energy Savings and Industrial Competiveness (ESIC) Act (S. 2137) – co-sponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), above at left, and Rob Portman (R-OH), right, –along with nine other energy policy bills at the subcommittee’s Wednesday hearing. The Roundtable is a strong supporter of the Portman-Shaheen bill.
- Sen. Portman testified at the hearing, noting that the ESIC Act passed the Senate by an overwhelming margin in a prior session of Congress. He remarked that the legislation contains no “heavy-handed mandates” and that its building code sections are “completely voluntary.” He added that the measure would result in “greenhouse gas emissions reductions [that] are equivalent to taking about 11 million cars off the road.” (Portman press release, Sept. 11.)
- Sen. Shaheen’s testimony emphasized that “energy efficiency is the cheapest, fastest way to deal with our energy needs,” and that the bill would produce a policy trifecta to reduce emissions, protect the environment, and create jobs. (Shaheen press release, Sept. 11.)
- The Roundtable submitted a letter for the hearing’s record to reiterate its support for the bill. Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey D. DeBoer also spoke in support of the bill when it was announced at a press conference in July. (Video of DeBoer’s statement on Portman-Shaheen)
- The ESIC Act “is exactly the kind of smart, forward-looking policy that will help building owners respond to our modern, evolving economy” DeBoer stated in a Senate news release upon the bill’s introduction this summer. “The needs of business tenants have changed dramatically since the turn of the century to power the data centers, IT, and communications systems upon which our workforce depends. Building owners are meeting their tenants' 24/7 energy demands while constructing and managing their assets more efficiently – and reducing their carbon footprints." (Roundtable Weekly, July 19, 2019)
Companion legislation to S. 2137 is pending in the House (H.R. 3962), sponsored by Peter Welch (D-VT) and David McKinley (R-WV). As the next step in the Senate’s process, a mark-up of S. 2137 by the full Senate Energy Committee is expected this fall.
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