Last Thursday, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitive Act (Shaheen-Portman) in the U.S. Senate for the third time. If passed, the newest version of the bill would be not only a huge bipartisan breakthrough in a perpetually gridlocked Congress, but also the most significant piece of energy legislation passed by the U.S. government in seven years. However, while the bill’s attributes—such as inclusion of the SAVE Act and the call for Energy Star-like programs for tenants and suppliers—have a number of advocates cheering, not everyone in the high-performance building realm is giving it the go-ahead.
The biggest sticking point thus far seems to lie in a small amendment added to the latest version of the bill.As previously reported, the “All-Of-The-Above Federal Building Energy Conservation Act of 2013” from Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is now part of Shaheen-Portman, and calls for the repeal of Section 433 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), which mandates that the federal government eliminate fossil fuel-generated energy from new and renovated federal buildings by 2030. It would, in short, repeal the government’s commitment to the 2030 Challenge targets for carbon reductions.