Rush Floor Statement on Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon in support of S. 535. The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 is a bipartisan energy bill to conserve energy, save Americans money and create jobs. Below is a transcript of Rush’s remarks and a link to the video.
“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of S. 535, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015.
“Mr. Speaker, this modest but bipartisan piece of legislation combines three separate energy efficiency titles and was passed by unanimous consent out of the Senate last month.
“This bill is also similar to H.R. 2126, which was passed out of the House in the last session of Congress on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 375-36.
“Mr. Speaker, the first title of this bill is the Better Buildings Act, which was introduced by my friends and colleagues Mr. McKinley of West Virginia and Mr. Welch of Vermont.
“This title simply directs the General Services Administration to develop model leasing provisions and best practices to encourage commercial building owners and tenants to invest in cost-effective energy efficiency measures.
“These model leasing provisions may then be used in federal leases and, along with the best practices, shall be made available to state and local governments.
“Additionally, Section 103 directs the Department of Energy to conduct a study on the feasibility of significantly improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings through the design and construction of separate tenant spaces with high-performance energy efficiency measures.
“Section 104 directs EPA to develop a voluntary “Tenant Star” program within the Energy Star program to promote energy efficiency in separate spaces leased by tenants in commercial buildings.
“This data can then be used to establish an Energy Star rating system to recognize tenants in commercial buildings that voluntarily achieve high levels of energy efficiency in separate spaces.
“Title II of this bill, the Grid-Enabled Water Heaters, was introduced by my colleague and good friend Chairman Whitfield, along with Mr. Welch, Mr. Latta, Mr. Loebsack, Mr. Cramer, and Mr. Doyle.
“This section establishes a separate energy efficiency standard for grid-enabled water heaters, which are used in utility demand-response and thermal storage programs.
“Finally, Title III of the bill, the Energy Information for Commercial Buildings, introduced by friend and colleague Ms. Castor of Florida, requires federally-leased buildings without Energy Star labels to benchmark and disclose their energy usage data in most cases.
“It also requires DOE to complete a study of best practices for and impacts of (1) state and local performance benchmarking and disclosure policies for commercial and multifamily buildings and (2) utility policies for providing aggregated information to owners of multitenant buildings to assist with benchmarking programs. In addition, DOE is required to maintain a database to store and make available public energy-related information on commercial and multifamily buildings.
“Mr. Speaker, in recent history we have not been able to pass bipartisan energy legislation through both chambers and into law so it is important for us to move this bill through to the president’s desk so we can demonstrate to the American people that Congress is still capable of functioning properly and legislating on their behalf.”