Portman, Gardner work to improve energy efficiency in federal buildings

U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) recently introduced legislation that would set goals to reduce energy and water usage and improve energy efficiency in federal government buildings.

“Promoting greater energy efficiency helps create jobs and protect the environment, and that’s why I’m proud to support this bipartisan bill,” Sen. Portman said.

The senators introduced theFederal Energy and Water Management Performance Act of 2019, S. 1857, with U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) on June 13. According to a summary of the bill, the legislation would improve federal and energy water performance requirements for federal buildings and also establish a Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), an existing program that has never been authorized.

“The Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program can coordinate government leadership, leverage private financing with performance contracts, and track and report on federal progress,” Sen. Gardner said.

S. 1857, if enacted, would provide authorizations of FEMP through fiscal year 2030 and also set energy and water reduction goals for 10 years. Federal buildings would be required to reduce energy use by 2.5 percent per year between 2020-2030 relative to 2018. Government buildings also would have a goal of reducing water use by 54 percent by 2030 compared with 2007.

“The FEMP program has already saved the federal government $50 billion in energy costs, and codifying this important program will ensure continued savings in energy and water use,” Sen. Portman said.

Forty percent of the United States’ energy is consumed in buildings, and the federal government is one of the biggest energy consumers in the world, according to the summary of the bill.

“As the largest consumer of energy, it’s important for the federal government to lead by example by improving its energy efficiency and making the necessary resiliency upgrades to survive extreme weather and cyber events,” Sen. Gardner said.