Hoeven, Manchin Reintroduce Bill to Provide Energy Flexibility for Federal Buildings, Enhance Energy Efficiency

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee, today reintroduced their bipartisan All-of-the-Above Federal Building Energy Conservation Act, which would help the federal government improve energy efficiency, while providing flexibility in using efficient fuels, like natural gas, that would otherwise be phased out while enhancing federal building energy efficiency standards.

“Our bill is a ‘win-win’ for reducing costs and improving environmental stewardship,” Senator Hoeven said. “Burdensome one-size-fits-all rules aren’t realistic or cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency. Our bill takes a common sense approach and provides federal building managers flexibility in sourcing energy so they can reduce energy consumption and cut down on costs.”

“Improving our energy efficiency is a common sense measure to reduce our emissions and work towards cleaner energy solutions. The federal government should be leading the charge in these efforts and I’m proud to join Senator Hoeven in introducing legislation to ensure our federal buildings are using energy as efficiently as possible,” Senator Manchin said.

Hoeven and Manchin’s bipartisan bill would improve the energy efficiency of the federal government’s buildings through:

  • Repealing the Section 433 ban on the use of fossil fuels in federal buildings, providing facility managers with flexibility to choose a cost-effective energy mix when working to achieve energy efficiency goals.
  • Extending expired federal building energy efficiency improvement targets—a 2.5% improvement per year—out to 2027.
  • Strengthening the recommissioning of existing facilities which is a proven, low-cost method for optimizing building systems and reducing energy use.
  • Encouraging the use of energy management systems for facilities.
  • Focusing on buildings that still need improvements by reducing energy audits for well-managed buildings.
  • Directing facility managers to, unless otherwise justified, implement all cost-effective energy efficiency measures that are identified in energy audits.
  • Ensuring major renovations to existing facilities achieve 30 percent less energy use than code, which is the same standard set for new federal buildings. The Department of Energy would define major renovations through an open comment process.

“This bill provides welcome reforms to federal energy policy by removing the uncertainty surrounding ways to meet future energy needs at federal facilities,” National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson said. “This legislation provides a cohesive and functional federal energy efficiency policy that works for the federal government and its energy providers. I commend Senators Hoeven and Manchin for recognizing the need for energy efficiency improvements at federal buildings alongside the continued use of diverse energy sources. America’s electric cooperatives encourage swift consideration of the legislation.”

“APGA is pleased to support the All-of-the-Above Federal Building Energy Conservation Act of 2019.  This legislation would bring about a much needed reform to federal energy policy while saving significant taxpayer dollars.  Passage of this legislation will allow the continued direct use of natural gas, combined heat and power, and other high efficiency technologies in federal buildings. This will provide federal building managers with the flexibility they need to improve efficiency while reducing the taxpayer dollars spent on energy costs.  APGA looks forward to working with Senator Hoeven, Senator Manchin and other stakeholders towards passage of this legislation,” said Bert Kalisch, President and CEO, APGA.  

“Taxpayers spend about $6 billion every year to power our federal buildings, but if we invested more in making them energy-efficient we could significantly lower the costs,” said Jason Hartke, President of the Alliance to Save Energy. “We’re not getting enough of these efficiency upgrades done because the law right now discourages deep retrofits and makes long-term investment planning nearly impossible. This bill would go a long way to reduce energy used at federal buildings, cutting costs and carbon emissions at the same time.”

The legislation is supported by: Alliance to Save Energy; Ameresco; American Gas Association; American Public Gas Association; American Public Power Association; Constellation New Energy, Inc.; Edison Electric Institute; Federal Performance; Contracting Coalition; Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association; Johnson Controls Inc.; Lockheed Martin; Noresco; Schneider Electric; Southland Energy; Trane; and UTC.