Sen. Wyden to Obama: Use energy savings contracts

Energy savings performance contracts allow the federal government to contract with private firms to make energy efficiency upgrades. The companies get reimbursed for the renovations through energy savings accrued through the lifetime of the contract.

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The federal government has so far contracted for $500 million of its $2 billion goal.

Wyden’s letter comes after House lawmakers have pushed the White House to more aggressively employ the contracts.

Reps. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) are leading that charge, saying the administration has used the contracts too sparingly.

The lawmakers formed the bipartisan Energy Savings Performance Caucus last December to generate support for the method.

Gardner has floated ideas for legislation aimed at encouraging the administration to use the contracts, such as reducing federal funding equal to the amount of unspent, outstanding contracts.