By Steve Rizer
Proponents of efforts to improve energy efficiency across the United States have applauded the new American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act (H.R. 6582), but they want the federal government to do more.
The new law, which President Obama (D) signed Dec. 18, is a modified version of the Senate-passed Enabling Energy Savings Innovations bill (H.R. 4850). That measure includes energy-efficiency provisions from S. 1000 and S. 398 (ConstructionPro Week/CPW, July 23, 2012, “Recent Steps ‘Bode Well’ for Passage of Congressional Smart Energy Legislation; CPW Profiles 35 Other Proposals Addressing Green Buildings”).
In June, the House approved a version of H.R. 4850 to modify energy-efficiency standards for walk-in refrigeration units. The bill subsequently was amended in the Senate to add fixes to other efficiency standards for residential and commercial appliances and provisions on industrial efficiency and federal government energy management. The Senate unanimously approved the modified measure in September. Members of the House Energy and Commerce and Senate Energy Committees then developed H.R. 6582, which included some provisions of H.R. 4850. H.R. 6582 then gained House, Senate, and presidential approval.
The new law includes the following elements from S. 1000:
- Coordination of research and development of efficiency technologies for industry.
- A study of barriers to industrial electrical efficiency.
- Best practices for advanced metering in the federal government.
- Disclosure of energy and water usage by federal facilities.
The new law, which can be accessed at http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h6582/text, also includes the following S.398 and H.R. 4850 provisions that build on the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) 25-year-old appliance efficiency program:
- Technical corrections and specific fixes to recently enacted standards.
- Uniform treatment of conventional and tankless water heaters.
- Clarification of periodic review of commercial equipment standards and of DOE’s response to petitions regarding standards.
With H.R. 6582’s passage into law, “the stage is set for advancing additional energy-efficiency efforts,” Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) President Kateri Callahan said. She reported that early next year, the Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy will release recommendations that she believes would double U.S. energy productivity by 2030 (Construction Advisor Today, April 6, 2012, “Group Undertakes New Step in Pushing for Adoption of Energy-Efficiency Legislation”).
“We eagerly anticipate working with the new Congress and will encourage its adoption of the remaining provisions of S. 1000,” Callahan said. “We are gratified that energy efficiency has once again proved to be a policy for all seasons and all political persuasions.”
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy echoed ASE’s sentiment, calling the new law “a modest but bipartisan step forward, one we hope the next Congress can build upon.”
Also supporting the new law are the Industrial Energy Efficiency Coalition and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.