WASHINGTON – RealEstateRama – The Alliance to Save Energy on Wednesday applauded the Biden administration’s focus on strengthening energy efficiency in buildings, transportation, affordable housing, and other sectors of the economy in the American Jobs Plan.
“We have long argued that energy efficiency must be an urgent priority in building back better because of its unique power to simultaneously create jobs and economic activity while also sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing energy costs for consumers and businesses,” said Alliance President Paula Glover. “While we continue to digest this plan and look forward to seeing more details, the outline proposed today appears to deliver the kind of ambition we need to drive strong efficiency gains into every corner of the economy. We’re particularly pleased to see that this plan also emphasizes the need to ensure investments are equitable and create opportunities for communities across the country that too often have been left behind.”
“Whether it’s retrofitting critical public buildings like schools and hospitals or helping homeowners upgrade their efficiency through weatherization assistance and improved tax incentives, this package includes the kind of aggressive policies – many of which have long had bipartisan support – that the current situation demands,” Glover added. “The efficiency sector has been hit hard by COVID-19, with more than 300,000 jobs lost as a direct result of the pandemic. We are excited to work with the administration and Congress to enact many of these efficiency proposals into law and quickly get those workers and more back on the job.”
As Congress begins its legislative process on the American Jobs Plan and infrastructure investments, the Alliance continues to support key energy efficiency priorities that will deliver cost-effective efficiency gains:
- Immediate investments to modernize schools, hospitals, community centers, and other critical public facilities at the local, state, and federal levels, including through performance contracts that leverage cost savings from energy efficiency to draw private investment, consistent with the Open Back Better Act introduced by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.). This bill targets 40% of the investment to disproportionately impacted communities of color and low-income areas.
- Modernize and expand tax incentives to ease adoption of energy efficiency improvements in homes and buildings, including incentives that ensure energy efficiency adoption across all income levels. Modernizing and expanding efficiency incentives has the ability to create nearly 600,000 jobs while saving consumers and businesses approximately $53 billion.
- Expand key programs at DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, such as the State Energy Program and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).
- Update and expand energy efficiency requirements connected to federally assisted housing programs, including but not limited to housing finance.
- Adopt comprehensive transportation infrastructure legislation focused on building a modern transportation system that is more efficient, sustainable, cost-effective, and equitable, including by expanding financing through programs such as Build American Bonds and BUILD Grants.
- Establish a federal matching grant program to incentivize small business energy efficiency improvements, leveraging existing utility demand side management programs and prioritizing minority-owned businesses and diverse suppliers.
- Establish robust workforce training programs targeting full participation in the clean energy economy by low-income households, people of color, and communities vulnerable to the energy transition, as envisioned in the Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act, introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.).
- Immediately double the annual budget of the ENERGY STAR program, including expansion of the Portfolio Manager commercial buildings program and ENERGY STAR residential programs.
- Strengthen investments in Active Efficiency to drive technological advancements in rapidly evolving digitally driven grid systems.
About the Alliance to Save Energy
Founded in 1977, the Alliance to Save Energy is a nonprofit, bipartisan alliance of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders working to expand the economy while using less energy. Our mission is to promote energy productivity worldwide – including through energy efficiency – to achieve a stronger economy, a cleaner environment and greater energy security, affordability, and reliability.