COLUMBUS, Ohio (CGE) – Ohio’s junior U.S. Senator, Rob Portman, has teamed up with Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to introduce a National Energy Efficiency Strategy they say could save the economy billions, as businesses, homeowners and consumers look to adopt off-the-shelf energy efficiency technologies that will save money.
Rob Portman, a former Congressman from Cincinnati who went to work for former President George W. Bush as his chief trade representative, said there’s a need for immediate action on U.S. energy policy and for policies that encourage job growth to keep the U.S. economy competitive.
According to Portman’s senate Website, The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011, the official name for the bi-partisan bill he and Sen. Shaheen will push for hearings on, contains a broad package of low-cost tools that would reduce barriers for businesses and consumers alike who want to incorporate a host of mature technologies already in widespread use — such as better insulation, computer-controlled thermostats, and more efficient electric motors — into their daily lives. Energy efficiency, Portman’s statement on the bill said, “is the cheapest and fastest approach available to improving our nation’s energy infrastructure and our economy’s energy independence.”
“This is a bipartisan effort to advance energy efficiency, one of the quickest and most affordable ways to lower energy costs for employers and consumers,” Portman said. “By making it easier for employers to utilize energy efficient tools, they can reduce costs, enabling them to use the savings to expand their companies and hire new workers. As the fourth largest manufacturing state in the country, Ohio’s economy will benefit greatly from this pro jobs energy efficiency legislation.”
Shaheen noted that to keep the economy competitive, “we must be as aggressive as our rivals in adapting to the global economy.”
In his announcement, Portman said the U.S. commercial and residential buildings combined consume 40 percent of all energy used, while the U.S. industrial sector consumes more energy than any other sector of the economy. Portman noted that the federal government is the largest single energy consumer in the country, and that the bill “targets efficiencies in all three areas at relatively low cost.” The legislation, he said, embraces a bipartisan approach that includes many widely supported approaches to enabling private investment. Moreover, Portman, who is only months into a six-year term, said industry partners “have voiced support for the legislation, including the Alliance to Save Energy, a diverse coalition of businesses, government agencies, and advocates for energy efficiency.”
Bill highlights include:
* Boosts private sector investment in building efficiency upgrades by expanding the Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee program.
* Helps manufacturers reduce energy use and become more competitive by working with states to establish a revolving loan program to help finance efficiency upgrades.
* Provides standards on outdoor lighting, residential heating and cooling systems, residential appliances, and other appliance products based on agreements between manufacturers and efficiency advocates.
* Works with states to strengthen national model building codes, to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient.
* Requires the federal government – the single largest energy user in the country — to adopt energy saving techniques for computers, saving energy and taxpayer dollars, and adopt better building standards and smart metering technology.
Industry allies on-board
Kateri Callahan, President of the Alliance to Save Energy said that at a time of extremely acrimonious partisanship on Capitol Hill, Sens. Shaheen and Portman have reached bravely across the political divide to help American consumers and businesses that are reeling from rising energy costs. “The Alliance applauds Sens. Shaheen and Portman for their statesmanship in putting our economy, our energy security and our environment ahead of party politics. We urge Congress to follow their important lead by enacting the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011 as quickly as possible.”
Eric Spiegel, president and CEO, Siemens Corp said of the effort, “Federal, state and local budgets are as tight as they have ever been, but energy efficient products and solutions that will be advanced through this important piece of legislation can help government, industry and consumers save energy and millions of dollars, create jobs and spur competitiveness.”
Tom Quigley, VP and General Manager for Residential Insulation at Owens Corning applauded Portman and Shaheen, saying, “Buildings consume more energy than both the transportation and the industrial sectors” and that energy efficiency in buildings “is also a job-creator as many, if not most, of the products and services used to make buildings more energy efficient are U.S. job centric businesses.”
Quigley noted that virtually all of the insulation that Owens Corning provides for its U.S. customers, including its highly acclaimed bio-based Ecotouch insulation, is manufactured in the U.S. with U.S. provided raw materials, and is delivered, sold and installed by U.S. workers. “Increasing energy efficiency in buildings presents a win-win as we implement a sound energy policy while creating sustainable U.S. jobs,” he said.
Sens. Shaheen and Portman are both members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
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