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US energy efficiency bill to help fight climate change

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The Senate will soon begin debate on important legislation in regards to reducing energy consumption.

The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, also known as Shaheen-Portman, if approved, is anticipated to reduce the national energy bill, improving the country’s economic competitiveness, creating new jobs and enhancing energy security.

The Act has received endorsement from more than 200 business, trade associations and advocacy groups.

Among other things, the Shaheen-Portman Act requires the federal government, as the largest energy user in the US, to come up with new ways of improving energy efficiency for its computers. Estimates indicate that a typical computer utilises between 65 to 250 watts, while a monitor burns an additional 35 to 80 watts.

The Act also seeks to:

  • Strengthen the national model building codes to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient.
  • Provide incentives for private sector investment in commercial, industrial and municipal building efficiency upgrades.
  • Help manufacturers reduce energy use and become more competitive through efficiency upgrades.
  • Allow federal agencies to use existing funds to update plans for new federal buildings, using the most current building efficiency standards.
  • Establish a new Department of Energy (DoE) program – SupplySTAR - to help companies make their supply chains more efficient.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), residential and commercial buildings account for approximately 75% of all electricity usage in the US. Reducing the amount of wasted energy will alleviate effects on the environment, as well as helping the economy.

America’s solar energy industry is additionally playing a significant role in the enhancement of energy efficiency. More than 30 utility scale, clean energy projects are under construction, putting thousands of electricians, steelworkers and labourers to work and helping to reduce emissions.

President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, Rhone Resch, has emphasised that the Shaheen-Portman is a smart, common sense approach to fighting climate change, by reducing the amount of energy utilised and wasted in the US.

Edited from various sources by Emma McAleavey.

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