Federal Government Both Largest Consumer and Waster of Energy In World

WASHINGTON, DC -- Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced two bills today that encourage greater energy efficiency and cut heat-trapping pollution. The first bill would increase energy efficiency in federal government buildings; the second will set national standards for electric and gas utility efficiency. Experts say that energy efficiency is the quickest, cheapest way to reduce global warming pollution and ease the strain on America’s energy resources.

“Now more than ever, Americans are concerned about energy prices, global warming, and the strain on our energy system,” said Rep. Markey, Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “These bills will reduce our demand for electricity, which reduces the need for more power plants, and thus reduces air and global warming pollution.”

The first bill, the “Federal Building Renewal and Energy Savings Act,” would spur federal agencies to take all cost-effective measures to make large federal buildings more energy-efficient. It would, among other measures, direct federal agencies to conduct energy audits in each large federal building, require agencies to measure and verify energy savings to make sure the implemented measures actually work, and eliminate several current financial barriers to carry out these measures.

“The American federal government is the single largest consumer, and the single largest waster, of energy in the world,” continued Rep. Markey. “At a time when we are asking all Americans to be smart about our energy use, we need to ensure the government is doing the same.”

The second bill calls for a 10 percent improvement in electric utility efficiency and a 5 percent increase is gas utility efficiency by 2020. The mandated reductions may come from several  energy efficiency measures, including managing consumer demand, combined heat and power systems, recycled energy. The bill also could provide benefits to our nation’s electrical distribution systems by upgrading distribution transformers and high temperature superconductors.

The mandated improvements in energy efficiency required under the bill will give both electric and gas utilities firm targets to increase efficiency, cutting pollution and avoiding the need to build new power plants.  Currently, 7 states have adopted energy efficiency resource standards (Texas, Virginia, Colorado, California, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Nevada) and seven more are in the process of developing such requirements (Washington, Utah, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, and Massachusetts).  Rep. Markey’s bill would help ensure that consumers in all 50 states can benefit from lower energy bills and lower carbon emissions through cost-effective efficiency measures.

“Energy efficiency is a smart way to reduce your bills at home, and now it will become an increasingly smart way for the federal government and energy providers to reduce the amount of energy needed to power our homes, our economy, and our government,” continued Rep. Markey.

May 24, 2007

CONTACT: Jessica Schafer (Markey)
Eben Burnahm-Snyder (Select Cmte)