A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate in May 2011 targets net-zero-energy use in all new residential and commercial buildings by 2030, and aims to create jobs by using low-cost strategies to increase energy efficiency in existing buildings across residential, commercial, institutional, industrial, and government sectors.
The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011, cosponsored by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), was touted by Shaheen at a press conference as “a national energy efficiency strategy” that “can make our economy more competitive, start addressing our nation’s energy challenges, and create private-sector jobs today.” Some highlights of the wide-ranging bipartisan bill:
• The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) would update national model building energy codes to exceed current baselines and would coordinate with states to track the effectiveness of the new codes in meeting energy savings targets.
• DOE would study direct-current microgrids and make policy recommendations (see “ ,” EBN May 2011).
• Manufacturers would have to comply with new energy standards for a variety of appliances, including refrigerators, room air conditioners, clothes dryers, commercial furnaces, and many others.
• The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would consider whether to update Energy Star criteria to give credit for products with smart-grid and demand-response features.
• The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would make zero-interest loans to rural public utilities and electric cooperatives to support energy-efficiency loans that rural customers could pay back through their utility bills.
• DOE would provide loan guarantees for energy retrofit projects in commercial and institutional buildings (eligible financing mechanisms would include power purchase agreements).
• DOE would research, develop, and promote energy-efficiency technologies for manufacturing, and would fund loan programs to help manufacturers implement already available efficiency technologies.
• DOE would establish a Supply Star program to recognize manufacturers and products that use resource-conserving supply chains.
• All federal agencies would implement energy-efficiency plans—incorporating power-saving tools for personal computers, advanced metering, and data collection—under the management of the Secretary of Energy.
Theprovides more information, including the full text of the bill.