Both Chambers of Congress have recently passed legislation which would overturn targets currently requiring the federal government to phase out fossil fuel usage in new and majorly renovated federal buildings by the year 2030. However, before the bill can reach the President's desk, Congress will have to undertake the difficult task of reconciling the two vastly different energy bills passed by the House and the Senate. As Members of Congress come together in a conference to negotiate a final agreement, we have an opportunity to reach out to legislators who will be in the room to let them know how important the 2030 targets are.
Although the Senate has not yet appointed its conferees, the following Representatives have already been appointed to take part in the conference:
House Republicans (24): Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (Mich.), Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (Utah), Science Chairman Lamar Smith (Texas), Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (Texas), and Reps. Joe Barton (Texas), Ed Whitfield (Ky.), John Shimkus (Ill.), Bob Latta (Ohio), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Pete Olson (Texas), David McKinley (W.Va.), Mike Pompeo (Kan.), Morgan Griffith (Va.), Bill Johnson (Ohio), Bill Flores (Texas), Markwayne Mullin (Okla.), Don Young (Alaska), Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), Bruce Westerman (Ark.), Randy Weber (Texas), Glenn Thompson (Pa.), Cresent Hardy (Nev.) and Lee Zeldin (N.Y.).
House Democrats (16): Energy and Commerce ranking member Frank Pallone (N.J.), Natural Resources ranking member Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), Agriculture ranking member Collin Peterson (Minn.), Science ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Transportation ranking member Peter DeFazio (Ore.), and Reps. Bobby Rush (Ill.), Lois Capps (Calif.), Doris Matsui (Calif.), Kathy Castor (Fla.), Dave Loebsack (Iowa), John Sarbanes (Md.), Peter Welch (Vt.), Ben Ray Luján (N.M.), Paul Tonko (N.Y.), Jared Huffman (Calif.) and Debbie Dingell (Mich.).
EISA Section 433
Section 433 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 sets targets for the reduction in fossil fuel-generated energy consumption of newly constructed and majorly renovated federal buildings. This policy helps federal agencies build high performing facilities that use less energy and save taxpayers money. Unfortunately, energy legislation being considered by Congress, contains language to repeal Section 433 and replace it with weaker efficiency standards which fail to address carbon emissions from federal buildings.
The American Institute of Architects has developed the following messaging points which may be useful in discussing the importance of Section 433:
•Section 433 was passed with bi-partisan support, and signed into law by President George W. Bush. It was a key component of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, intended to ensure that the federal government led the way in maximizing energy savings in its buildings.
•However, Section 433 goes beyond efficiency to directly address federal building fossil fuel consumption. It applies to the design phase of building construction and renovation and establishes a long-term roadmap for further improvements in federal building design.
•Section 433’s current targets are achievable today. Although the final target, a 100-percent reduction in fossil fuel use, does not kick in for fifteen years, some buildings are already meeting the 2030 target right now.
•In Colorado, the Wayne N. Aspinall federal building is the first net zero energy building on the National Register of Historic Places. There are hundreds of other examples of new and renovated buildings hitting current interim targets.
•Section 433 does not ban fossil fuels outright. At no point does this provision require zero fossil fuel use for any building constructed or renovated before 2030. Buildings placed into service prior to 2030 will not have to be renovated to meet the requirements when 2030 comes around.
•Furthermore, DOE has proposed carve-outs for on-site natural gas usage in highly efficient combined heat and power (CHP) systems. Section 433 also gives DOE the discretion to waive targets for any building if the Secretary finds that special circumstances or uses make them impracticable.
•The Department of Energy is currently in the process of developing a rule to implement Section 433. After concerns from some stakeholders regarding the initial proposed rule, DOE issued a supplemental draft rule and solicited additional input. This effort shows that the agency is engaged in a good faith effort to produce a rule which satisfies stakeholder concerns.
•The federal government is the largest property owner and energy consumer in the United States. Requiring federal buildings to meet aggressive energy targets not only reduces taxpayer costs through energy savings; it also leverages the government’s large purchasing power to bring new technologies and materials to the marketplace.
•Many leading building designers and environmental advocates believe that repealing this important provision is not consistent with the goals of energy policy modernization legislation. Organizations and companies from across the country have publicly stated their strong opposition to repealing Sec. 433, including the American Institute of Architects and the Sierra Club.
For more information, contact Ian McTiernan, Manager, Federal Relations, American Institute of Architects at IanMcTiernan@AIA.org or (202) 626-7374.