Updates From Capitol Hill


On March 30, 2017 the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, sponsored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). The bill is aimed at using low-cost tools to make it easier for private sector energy users to become more efficient while also making the country's largest energy user - the federal government - more efficient. The Portman-Shaheen Energy bill is focused on Buildings, Manufacturers, and the Federal Government:


  • Strengthens 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.
  • Trains the next generation of workers in energy-efficient commercial building design and operation through university-based Building Training and Research Assessment Centers.
  • Streamlines available federal energy efficiency programs and financing to help improve efficiency and lower energy costs for schools.
  • Requires all federal agency issues, insured, purchased, or securitized home mortgages to account for energy efficiency in the mortgage appraisal/underwriting process.


  • Directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to work closely with private sector partners to encourage research, development, and commercialization of innovative energy efficient technology and processes for industrial applications.
  • Helps manufacturers reduce energy use and become more competitive by incentivizing the use of more energy efficient motors and transformers.
  • Establishes a DOE grant program - SupplySTAR - to help make companies' supply chains more efficient.

Federal Government

  • Requires the federal government - the single largest energy user in the country - to adopt energy saving techniques for computers
  • Allows federal agencies to use existing funds to update plans for new federal buildings, using the most current building efficiency standards.

According to Senators Portman and Shaheen, a study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that the bill "will create more than 190,000 jobs, save consumers $16.2 billion a year, and cut CO2 emissions and other air pollutants by the equivalent of taking 22 million cars off the road - all by 2030."