House and Senate Energy Efficiency Standards bill and amendments
On September 22, 2012, its last day before the November elections, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that combined energy efficiency measures from both the Senate (S.1000) and the House of Representatives (H.R.4850). Some version of the bill may be enacted during the "lame duck" session of Congress between the elections and the end of the year.
In the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (September 2011):
The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, S.1000, introduced by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), would promote the use of energy efficient technologies. Some of the highlights of the bill include: strengthening building codes for homes and commercial buildings by requiring them to be more energy efficient; facilitating energy efficient upgrades by manufacturers; establishing loan programs at the Department of Energy (DOE) to fund the development and commercialization of innovative energy efficient technology and processes for industrial applications; supporting private investment in energy efficient technologies as a result of joint ventures between DOE and private sector partnerships; and requiring the Federal Government – the single largest energy user in the country – to adopt energy saving techniques and advanced metering technologies to better manage the energy usage of government buildings. The bill passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee in September 2011.
In the House (June 2012):
The Enabling Energy Savings Innovations Act, H.R.4850, sponsored by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), would allow the Secretary of Energy to waive insulation standards placed on some components of walk-in coolers and freezers as set by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975. Current federal regulations on refrigeration units are believed too restrictive to be met even with components that meet or outperform the DOE energy efficiency standards. H.R. 4850 was introduced in April, 2012, passed the House of Representatives by voice vote on June 26, 2012, and was sent to the Senate.
In the Senate (September 2012):
On September 22, the Senate passed H.R.4850 with two amendments. The first, (S.Amdt.2862), a provision of S.1000, would direct the Secretary of Energy to report to Congress on the deployment of industrial energy efficiency within one year of the enactment of the Act, and to submit guidance on how to remove barriers to deployment of energy efficient technologies. The amendment would also direct the Secretary of Energy to conduct a study of the advanced energy technology capabilities of the United States while specifically enumerated government programs would be directed to develop collaborative partnerships to support research and development of technologies that reduce emissions. Additionally, the amendment would set federal energy management and data collection standards, including a web-based tracking system to certify compliance with certain energy and water measures. It would also direct the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, and the General Services Administration to report to Congress on the best energy practices in Federal facilities. Moreover, the amendment would require a study of the perceived economic benefits of providing the industrial sector with Federal energy efficiency matching grants, and estimated energy and emission reductions. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) co-sponsored this amendment. (Sen. Pryor (D-AR) offered the amendment on behalf of Sen. Shaheen on the Senate floor.) The second amendment (S.Amdt.2861), sponsored by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) (also offered by Sen. Pryor) would set a uniform efficiency descriptor, a way to quantify and measure energy efficiency, for covered water heaters/water heating technologies.
In the House (December 2012):
On December 4, 2012, during the "lame duck" session, the House passed H.R. 6582, the ''American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act'' by a 398-2 vote. Sponsored by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), the bill combines language that the House and Senate have approved earlier this year (see above) on various energy efficiency provisions, including some language from the Senate's Shaheen-Portman efficiency package (see above, S.1000). The House bill approved such measures as establishing best practices for "smart" electric meters in the federal government, as well as setting federal energy management and data collection standards. Section 3 of the bill, The Uniform Efficiency Descriptor for Covered Water Heaters section, would ease regulatory burdens by directing the Department of Energy (DOE) to transition from having separate definitions for two types of water heaters, to having a single definition for all covered water heaters. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) backed the bill but called for more legislation in the new Congress.
In the Senate (December 2012):
On the evening of December 6, 2012, the Senate passed H.R. 6582 unanimously, without any amendments. (See section direcly above for a description of H.R. 6582).
Presidential Signature (December 2012):
On December 18, President Obama signed H.R. 6582 into law.