Slashing energy waste to create more US jobs

These days, politicians from opposing parties rarely agree on anything. At least in public. Until we’re all comfortable with admitting that fossil fuels are a dangerous, dying industry, and that we should have switched to renewables decades ago, the small victories must be celebrated.

Take the recently introduced bipartisan energy efficiency legislation known as The Energy Savings & Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013 (S. 1392), for instance. Introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), the bill has the potential to save America billions while creating domestic jobs and reducing carbon emissions–all things this country sorely needs.

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According to new analysis released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), S. 1392 would cut government and industrial energy waste and help homeowners finance energy efficiency improvements, among other energy-saving measures. ACEEE found that the proposals being considered could, in combination, save consumers and businesses over $65 billion on their energy bills by 2030. That translates into a lot of extra revenue, not to mention the ability to hire more Americans to meet increased demand.”

Highlights of the proposed legislation:

  • Strengthen national model building codes to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient while working with states and private industry to make the code-writing process more transparent.
  • Train the next generation of workers in energy-efficient commercial building design and operation through university-based Building Training and Research Assessment Centers.
  • Require the federal government – the single largest energy user in the country — to adopt energy saving techniques for computers, saving energy and taxpayer dollars.
  • Help manufacturers reduce energy use and become more competitive by incentivizing the use of more energy efficient electric motors and transformers.

“Altogether, these provisions would support over 152,000 new jobs in 2025, increasing to 174,000 jobs by 2030,” states an ACEEE press release. “In addition to providing economic benefits, the provisions would prevent unnecessary electric generation and natural gas consumption. Energy savings from these provisions would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 676 million metric tons by 2030.”

So far, American businesses seem to be on board, but will Congress listen? “As users of one-third of our nation’s energy, manufacturers are directly affected by the cost of energy, and we believe policies should promote research, development, and deployment of energy-efficient technologies,” said Ross Eisenberg, vice-president of energy and resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers.  ”Manufacturers support the Shaheen-Portman bill, a set of common sense, bipartisan energy efficiency measures that would create jobs by saving energy in industrial, commercial, and residential sectors.”

To read the full ACEEE analysis, click here.

* Beth Buczynski, EarthTechling