Kinzinger, Welch Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Make Federal Agencies More Energy and Water Efficient
Today, Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced legislation to formally authorize the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP).
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced legislation to authorize the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), which is responsible for reducing energy use in federal buildings. To date, the FEMP has never received a formal authorization from Congress despite being an existing program whose functions were spelled out in the National Energy Conservation Policy Act of 1975.
The Federal Energy and Water Management Performance Act would formally authorize the program for five years, add water use reduction to its mission, and set ambitious goals for agencies to reduce water and energy use in federal facilities.
“Buildings in the U.S. account for 40% of the country’s energy use, and considering the federal government has the largest real estate holdings nationwide, we should be doing everything we can to improve its energy and water use. And that’s why Congressman Welch and I have introduced the Federal Energy and Water Management Performance Act to require agencies to coordinate with one another to improve efficiency in energy and water use,” said Congressman Kinzinger. “I’m pleased to continue this bipartisan work with Mr. Welch, and I look forward to getting this bill passed through Congress and signed into law later this year.”
“FEMP’s important work on energy efficiency has saved taxpayer dollars and improved the environment,” said Congressman Welch. “Authorizing and expanding the program to include water use reduction will save additional money and make further gains for the environment.”
The Federal Energy and Water Management Performance Act directs federal agencies to reduce energy consumption in facilities by 2.5% each year through 2030 and reduce water consumption by 54% by 2030.
In 2016, the federal government used 351 trillion BTU of energy, the most in the nation, and 126 billion gallons of water. FEMP’s efforts to date have resulted in the federal government achieving a 49% reduction in energy intensity since 1975 and cost savings of approximately $50 billion.
While not stipulated in the text of the Federal Energy and Water Management Performance Act, agencies working toward more energy efficient buildings can utilize mechanisms such as energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) or utility energy service contracts (UESCs) to meet their goals. These contracts are public-private partnerships that produce taxpayer savings, a stronger economy, and a reduced carbon footprint. In May 2019, Congressmen Kinzinger and Welch introduced legislation, the Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act, to bolster the use of these contracts.
Both Welch and Kinzinger are members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over this program as well as the House Energy Savings and Performance Caucus. Their Senate colleagues, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) have introduced similar legislation, filed as S. 1857 here.