Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced the Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act of 2017, legislation that encourages the use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) and Utility Energy Savings Contracts (UESCs) in federal buildings.
Mandatory federal audits already outline energy savings projects for federal facilities aimed at reducing energy consumption and saving tax dollars; however, federal agencies are currently not required to implement these changes. This legislation changes that and would allow projects to be paid for by ESPCs or UESCs. ESPCs and UESCs are innovative public-private partnerships in which private companies use their own money and resources to make energy efficiency upgrades to federal buildings. In exchange for making energy efficient upgrades, those private companies receive a portion of the money saved as a result of the increased efficiency in federal buildings. ESPCs and UESCs create private sector jobs upgrading the federal government's estimated three billion square feet of office space at no real cost to taxpayers.
"Saving energy and taxpayer money just makes sense with public/private partnerships like this, which is why this bill has bipartisan support," Senator Coons said. "This legislation will simultaneously support local jobs, help the federal government save energy, and allow us to invest in clean energy, energy efficiency, and water conservation projects that are critical to our economic future."
"Since my time in the House of Representatives, I've been proud to work with members of both parties to encourage energy efficiency," said Senator Gardner. "Increasing federal buildings' energy efficiency through public-private partnerships is commonsense - it will lead to the creation of private sector jobs, save American taxpayer dollars, and promote a cleaner environment."
"As the largest single user of energy in the United States, the federal government has a responsibility to lead by example on the issue of energy conservation," said Senator Portman. "This bipartisan measure will help make the federal government more energy efficient, lower energy costs, and save taxpayer dollars, and that's something I believe all Americans support."
"ESPCs and UESCs have proven to be a cost-effective way to reduce energy consumption, create private sector jobs and save taxpayers millions of dollars," said Senator Shaheen. "Encouraging the use of these innovative tools will help to improve the energy efficiency of the Federal government, which is the nation's largest energy user."
"Currently, the federal government is missing out on an estimated $20 billion in savings by continuing to run outdated, energy inefficient federal facilities," Representative Kinzinger said. "The Energy Savings through Public Private Partnerships Act is a bipartisan, commonsense solution that is guaranteed to help end wasteful spending on inefficient energy programs in order to deliver savings to the American taxpayers who are footing these energy bills."
"The federal government has over 3 billion square feet of building space and is the largest energy consumer in the country," Representative Welch said. "This legislation would make federal buildings energy efficient while saving taxpayer dollars, improving the environment and create private sector jobs. In the previous Congress, the House demonstrated that energy efficiency is a practical idea that cuts through partisan gridlock. In this Congress, we'll be redoubling our efforts to get bipartisan energy efficiency legislation on the President's desk."