The Energy efficiency industries are often overlooked when it comes to developing new energy-efficient solutions to shift to a more cleaner and more cost-effective technology. The US spent $5.8 billion in measures directed towards attaining electricity efficiency in the year 2016. That figure is set to rise given it is an essential part of our national infrastructure.

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and publishing data for awarded U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) energy savings performance contract (ESPCs) projects. In 2018, 10 federal agencies made a record investment of more than $800 million using FEMP's Energy Savings Performance Contract's (ESPC) funding to complete 23 energy efficiency and water conservation projects. This investment is projected to generate a total guaranteed energy and water savings of almost $1.7 billion, equivalent to the annual household energy usage of more than 25,000 homes or removing 49,000 cars from the road.  Not just that, it represents close to 6,500 well-paid job years in engineering, construction, trade, and manufacturing. Spread across 15 states and 4 countries, these projects leverage investments from the private sector to increase energy security and strengthen federal infrastructure in the process.

Presently, Washington uses performance contracts for federal buildings, but are not required by law to outline energy-saving upgrades to reduce energy consumption. With a little luck, that might be changing soon. The Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act of 2019 would require federal facilities to complete energy upgrade projects paid with at least half paid for by ESPCs or UESCs. It further expands the types of savings that can be used to repay the contracts. This bill was introduced by Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Peter Welch (D-VT), along with Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Chris Coons (D-DE).

“We cannot continue to operate these outdated, energy inefficient federal facilities,” Kinzinger said. “Our bipartisan, bicameral legislation is a commonsense solution to help end wasteful spending on inefficient energy buildings in order to deliver savings to the American taxpayers who are footing these energy bills.”

Welch said the federal government is the largest energy consumer in the country. Making federal buildings energy efficient will save taxpayer dollars and improve the environment.

“More than 50 percent of the emissions reductions the United States has achieved since 2005 have been through gains in energy efficiency, and the federal government is the largest consumer of energy in America,” Gardner said.

“Using ESPCs and UESCs to make the federal government more efficient while creating private-sector jobs is the kind of commonsense solution that members of both parties can get behind.”

This bill, if it is passed has the potential to send a very powerful message about energy accountability across the country. Making lawmakers responsible for the way their facilities use energy could show the way to Americans that our leaders have a strong interest in getting serious about how energy is being used.