Energy efficiency extension falls short of requests

The Obama administration on Tuesday announced an extension of the president's initiative to increase energy efficiency in federal buildings.

The 2011 executive order, which jumpstarted a two-year campaign to achieve $2 billion in energy savings in federal buildings, was set to expire at the end of this year.

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Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle recently called on Obama to grant a five-year extension of the project.

Led by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), House members asked the administration to  set a goal of $1 billion a year for the federal government to use performance contracts in achieving energy savings.

The extension announced on Tuesday however, falls short of that goal.

"It' a very good step, but we have to do more," Welch told The Hill.

"(Energy effeciency) is a promising area of cooperation, but the White House needs to get more concrete and specific," he added.

Agencies will team with the Department of Energy (DOE) in early 2014 to determine avenues for additional projects aimed at reducing energy through 2016 -- a two-year extension, the DOE said.

The initiative will also go beyond the original $2 billion goal. It is not clear whether it will reach the $1 billion per year mark Welch and other lawmakers requested.