Portman, Gardner, Kinzinger introduce bill to promote energy savings through public-private partnerships

Rob Portman

Public-private partnerships that make federal buildings more energy efficient would be encouraged under bicameral, bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).

The Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act would encourage the use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) and Utility Energy Savings Contracts (UESCs) in which private companies invest in energy efficiency upgrades to federal buildings in exchange for a portion of the energy savings.

“As the largest single user of energy in the United States, the federal government should lead by example on the issue of energy conservation,” Portman said. “This bipartisan measure will help make the federal government more energy efficient, lower energy costs, and save taxpayer dollars, and that’s something I believe all Americans support.”

In addition to promoting energy efficiency in the government’s approximately 3 billion square feet of office space at no cost to taxpayers, the measure would also support the creation of private-sector jobs.

“Since my time in the House of Representatives, I’ve been proud to work with members of both parties to encourage energy efficiency,” Gardner said. “Increasing federal buildings’ energy efficiency through public-private partnerships is common sense  — it will lead to the creation of private sector jobs, save American taxpayer dollars, and promote a cleaner environment.”

Mandatory federal audits that identify energy savings projects are required under current law, but federal agencies aren’t required to implement those changes. That would change under the bipartisan bill, and those projects could be undertaken through ESPCs and UESCs.

“Currently, the federal government is missing out on an estimated $20 billion in savings by continuing to run outdated, energy inefficient federal facilities,” Kinzinger said. “The Energy Savings through Public Private Partnerships Act is a bipartisan, commonsense solution that is guaranteed to help end wasteful spending on inefficient energy programs in order to deliver savings to the American taxpayers who are footing these energy bills.”

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), a cosponsor of the bill, said saving energy and taxpayer money through public-private partnerships makes sense, which is why he supports the bill.

“This legislation will simultaneously support local jobs, help the federal government save energy, and allow us to invest in clean energy, energy efficiency and water conservation projects that are critical to our economic future,” Coons added.