At a business roundtable today at the North Conway Grand Hotel, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led a discussion with area business leaders about how her new bipartisan energy efficiency package would help consumers and companies save money and create jobs. Shaheen highlighted the energy-saving lighting retrofits at the North Conway Grand Hotel and the cost-saving efficiency program used by the New Hampshire Electric Co-op, explaining how her bill would help expand initiatives like these.
"With energy costs on the rise and the economy still in recovery, energy efficiency measures are an effective way for American families and businesses to save money and cut costs," Shaheen said. "Here in New Hampshire, we've already got consumers and companies taking advantage of this. My bill would build on the success of efforts like these and help bring these programs to the rest of the country."
"New Hampshire Electric Co-op is very supportive of energy efficiency, and we encourage our members to take advantage of programs to lower their bills and conserve energy," said Fred Anderson, New Hampshire Electric Co-op President and CEO. "This legislation will enhance the programs already available to our members."
"The Newport Hotel Group has a commitment to reducing energy consumption in all of our hotel properties," said Douglas Cohen, President of Newport Hotel Group, which owns the North Conway Grand. "We appreciate our relationship with the New Hampshire Electrical Co-op and commend the Shaheen-Portman bill, which would make it easier for companies to get the money needed for even deeper retrofits. We look forward to achieving additional energy savings in the future and hope other companies follow our lead."
Through the Co-op's SmartSTART program, which allows customers to pay for their energy efficiency improvements through their utility bills, the co-op has found that program participants have cut their electricity bills by about one-third on average. Similarly, through a small lighting retrofit improvement, the North Conway Grand is estimated to save $8,000 a year. Shaheen's legislation, The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011, would help give more Americans the opportunity to take advantages of programs like SmartSTART and make it easier for other companies to do building retrofits.
Some highlights of the bill include:
* Boosts private sector investment in building efficiency upgrades by expanding the Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee program.
* Helps manufacturers reduce energy use and become more competitive by working with states to establish a revolving loan program to help finance efficiency upgrades.
* Provides standards on outdoor lighting, residential heating and cooling systems, residential appliances, and other appliance products based on agreements between manufacturers and efficiency advocates.
* Strengthens national model building codes and incentivizes states to voluntarily adopt them, to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient.
* Requires the federal government -- the single largest energy user in the country -- to adopt energy saving techniques for computers, saving energy and taxpayer dollars, and adopt better building standards and smart metering technology.
Introduced with Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), the legislation has garnered support from a wide range of businesses, trade associations and efficiency advocates.