Congress on Tuesday passed the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 that will drive energy efficiency through modest but meaningful measures. The bill, signed into law by President Obama on April 30th, 2015, has been hailed by Congress as being good for the economy and good for the environment.
The bill is made up of four sections that include: better buildings, grid enabled water heaters, energy efficient government technology, and energy information for commercial buildings. With all four sections bearing significance in their own right, the last section is a simple, cost neutral solution that will lead to positive change. This section requires federally leased buildings without ENERGY STAR certifications to be benchmarked using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and disclose its energy use report wherever practical.
The U.S. Government is the largest consumer of energy in the country and bills passed through Congress like the one above, recognize that fact and take action to change it. There is a saying that has always resonated throughout the energy management industry that you can’t manage what you don’t measure first. Here, benchmarking a building is the measure needed to better plan and manage that building now and into the future. U.S. Senator Jeane Shaheen (D-NH), a sponsor of the bill, stated that, “Energy efficiency holds enormous potential for America’s energy future and [Congress] has taken an important step toward realizing that future.”
ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that helps businesses and individuals save money through superior energy efficiency. They serve as an objective validation for products claiming to be energy efficient and also classify buildings as energy efficient through the online benchmarking program called, Portfolio Manager. The program emphasizes testing, third party validation, and compliance screening to bolster its integrity and ensure that any building, product certified will deliver the savings promised.