Manufacturers use almost 30 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S., and in many instances it is our single largest expenditure. To continue to be competitive in a global economy we need to be more energy efficient. Yesterday the President signed into law S. 535, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015, from Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH). The bill will loosen efficiency standards for grid-enabled water heaters, increase efficiency in government data centers and promote efficiency in commercial, residential and federal government–owned buildings. Previously in the 114th Congress, a version of the legislation, S. 128, was adopted as an amendment to a separate bill (S. 1, to approve the Keystone XL pipeline) but was vetoed by the president on February 24. The House passed a similar energy efficiency bill, H.R. 2126, in the 113th Congress by a vote of 375-36, but the Senate never acted on that measure.
The new law will establish a program called “Tenant Star” that will certify and recognize commercial building tenants for achieving high levels of energy efficiency, as well as require the General Services Administration to develop model commercial leasing provisions to encourage commercial building owners and tenants to invest in cost-effective energy and water efficiency measures. Energy efficiency and conservation offer immediate and cost-effective opportunities to reduce energy cost inputs both in the public and private sectors. Today’s commercial, public and residential buildings use almost 40 percent of the energy consumed in this country. The NAM has long supported this bi-partisan effort to strengthen the public/private partnership to support a more energy-efficient economy, while driving economic growth and private sector job creation. While this is a great first step for energy efficiency in this Congress, we hope it will not be the last.
Manufacturers are leading the way in the area of energy efficiency. Our facilities, shop floors, production, and transportation systems much more efficient than they were 10 or 20 years ago. And many of the products we make enable other sectors such as industrial, commercial, government, residential and retail to be more energy efficient as well through the use of advanced technologies and innovations pioneered by manufacturers and their supply chain. Everyone agrees that we need to be smarter about the way we use our energy resources. And manufacturers are pleased to see this Congress not allow politics to get in the way of sound energy efficiency policy.