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Key House Committee Approves Two More Welch Energy Efficiency Initiatives

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Bills are part of a series of Welch-authored bipartisan efficiency bills advancing in Congress

This morning, the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved two more bills from a series of bipartisan energy efficiency bills authored by Rep. Peter Welch in the 113th Congress. Welch is a member of the committee and the House leader on energy efficiency issues.

"I am pleased that the House is taking further bipartisan action in support of energy efficiency. These two bills will reduce carbon emissions and save taxpayers money by cutting energy use in federal buildings and local schools. And they will create jobs through the use of American-made energy efficiency products," said Rep. Welch. "Energy efficiency is a practical idea that has brought Democrats and Republicans together in Congress to achieve real progress for the American people."

First, the Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act (H.R. 2689), sponsored by Welch and Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), will cut energy costs in federal buildings through the use of energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) and utility energy service contracts (UESCs). The federal government owns or operates nearly 3 billion square feet of building space and annually spends over $6 billion to heat and cool federal facilities.

Performance contracting involves a public/private partnership where a federal agency enters into a contract for energy efficiency services with a utility or energy services company. The contractor performing the work is paid for its performance out of the savings it achieves rather than from appropriated funds. Welch's legislation eliminates bureaucratic barriers to the use of performance contracting.

Second, the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act (H.R. 4092), sponsored by Welch and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA), will facilitate energy efficiency improvements at elementary and secondary schools across the country. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), the nation's 17,450 K-12 school districts spend more than $6 billion annually on energy, more than is spent on computers and textbooks combined. Welch's bill creates a DOE information clearinghouse on assistance for schools to develop and implement energy efficiency and distributed generation projects. Cutting school energy bills will reduce pressure on property tax payers who fund local schools across the country.

Last month, the House of Representatives passed another Welch energy efficiency bill by a vote of 375-36. That bill is expected to be considered in the near future by the full Senate, where Welch is working closely with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).

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