House passes energy efficiency bills

 

The House on Monday gave voice vote approval to legislation that would boost energy efficiency in schools and federal buildings.

Passage of the measures comes as the House prepares to take up legislation authored by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) this week that would expedite applications of natural gas exports.

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One of the bills, H.R. 4092, would establish an office within the Department of Energy to coordinate federal, state and local programs to help schools become more energy efficient. Lawmakers said that schools spend $6 billion per year on energy, second only to personnel costs. 

"Well-designed energy efficiency and renewable energy can reduce or stabilize these costs," said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.). 

Members of both parties said the legislation would make it easier for schools to navigate the programs within one office, instead of across all levels of government.

"I've heard that you practically need a degree in library science to research and find all of these programs," said Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), the bill's sponsor.

The second measure, H.R. 4801, would direct the Department of Energy to conduct a study on the impact of thermal insulation for energy and water use in federal buildings.

"This legislation takes a step in the right direction in demonstrating the benefits of thermal insulation," said bill sponsor Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.). "Thermal insulation saves energy, water and money."

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) agreed the legislation would provide data on thermal insulation useful to the federal government and private sector.

"This bill would ensure that the Department of Energy quantifies those potential savings so that the federal government can make commonsense energy efficiency investments," Sarbanes said.