Clyburn Statement On White House Announcement On Energy Upgrades To Public And Private Buildings

Dec 2, 2011 Issues: Energy

WASHINGTON, DC—Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn released the following statement about today’s White House announcement of nearly $4 billion in combined federal and private sector energy upgrades to buildings over the next two years:

“I applaud the White House’s announcement of a new public/private partnership to invest $4 billion in energy efficiency upgrades to government and private commercial buildings.  Investing in energy efficiency is one of the smartest policies we can adopt.  It creates jobs, saves money through reduced energy consumption, and lowers demand for costly energy infrastructure.  Over time, these investments are more than paid for by the savings they achieve.

“The federal government has the ability to finance these investments using Energy Savings Performance Contracts, which allow the government to make energy efficiency improvements with no upfront cost but paid for through future energy savings.  I have long championed this model as a sound strategy to increase investment in energy efficiency.  This new initiative mirrors my Rural Energy Savings Act, which would empower homeowners and business owners to make similar investments in their homes and businesses by providing loans which would be paid back with their energy savings.  This model conserves energy and saves money, and the government is reimbursed over time.  The House passed the Rural Energy Savings Act last Congress, but the Senate failed to act on it.  The Rural Energy Savings Program would be administered by Rural Electric Cooperatives  and would allow average Americans and small businesses, who would not otherwise have access to financing, to benefit from energy efficiency upgrades.  Energy costs are a burden to many Americans struggling in this economy.  Allowing people to finance upgrades to their homes and businesses using their future savings can permanently reduce their energy costs and free up funds to spend on other needs.  This initiative would be a great way to create jobs and help people struggling to make ends meet in a fiscally sound manner.

“President Obama’s commitment to $2 billion of investment in energy efficiency upgrades to federal buildings matched by $2 billion of private capital through the Better Buildings Challenge is a great start.  We must expand these efforts to help homeowners across the country who currently do not have the means to make these investments.”