Today, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill introduced by U.S. Representatives Matt Cartwright (PA-17) and Peter Welch (VT-AL) to improve energy efficiency. The Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act (H.R. 627) provides a coordinating structure to help schools better navigate available federal programs and financing options. This legislation also unanimously passed the House in both 2014 and 2016.
The Streamlining Energy Efficiency Act would establish the Department of Energy as the lead agency in coordinating a cross-departmental effort to help initiate, develop, and finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and retrofitting projects for schools.
"This is a commonsense, cost-saving bill that establishes an efficient one-stop shop for schools and directly benefits children, school employees, and the environment," said Rep. Cartwright. "This legislation will streamline the federal government's programs and processes for school energy assistance, while still leaving decisions to states, school boards, and local officials about how best to meet the energy needs of schools. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to quickly pass this legislation."
An estimated 14 million American children attend public school in a deteriorating building. Many of these schools' problems involve the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems. According to a Department of Education survey, 43 percent of schools indicated that the poor condition of their facilities interferes with the delivery of instruction. By upgrading these systems, energy efficiency is increased, learning environments are improved, and scarce funds are conserved.
"By streamlining existing programs and cutting red tape, our bill will help save energy and cut energy bills for school systems around the country," said Rep. Welch. "We have made undeniable progress on energy efficiency in a bipartisan way, and I'm pleased to work with Rep. Cartwright to get this commonsense bill signed into law."
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.