On Wednesday, March 5, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Better Buildings Act of 2014 (H.R.2126) with significant bipartisan support.
The bill includes provisions to
- encourage commercial building tenants to conserve energy,
- encourage benchmarking and public disclosure policies in commercial buildings, similar to the policy Minneapolis passed last year,
- require all federal agencies to create plans for implementing energy-efficient information technologies in a variety of settings, and to improve the efficiency of federal data centers, and
- enable water heaters to interact with the utility grid and provide demand response services, allowing utilities to better manage grid stability and lower energy use at the most expensive times of the day.
The passage of this bill highlights the importance of energy efficiency in our nation’s energy goals and the benefits that efficiency brings to residents, the business sector, our economy, and the environment.
Nearly all of Minnesota’s delegation voted in favor of the bill—both Democrats and Republicans. In a statement following the vote, Congressman Rick Nolan, from Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District and member of the House Sustainable Energy and Environmental Coalition said, “The federal government should lead the way in making our buildings more efficient, lowering our carbon footprint, and reducing our energy costs.”
Congressman Tim Walz, from Minnesota’s First Congressional District, also supported the bill, saying “There are two keys to solving the America’s energy puzzle and creating an energy independent future: increased production of renewable, all-American energy here at home and making common sense energy efficiency practices standard for everyone. This bill will work to helps us achieve the second goal.”
Fresh Energy commends Minnesota’s representatives for advancing federal energy efficiency policy and urges the Senate to pass similar legislation as soon as possible.