In a recent letter to the House, SMACNA urged Members to support H.R. 3079, “The Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act” sponsored by Representative Peter Welch (D- VT) and cosponsored by Representative Kinzinger (R-IL). H.R. 3079 has been reported from subcommittee to the Energy and Commerce Committee and awaits full Committee approval. An identical Senate bill, S. 1706, introduced by Senators Gardner (R-CO) and Coons (D-DE) has been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
SMACNA appreciates the outstanding leadership given national energy efficiency policy over many years by Representatives Welch and Kinzinger. Further, the association's decades of experience on the front lines of energy efficient construction only reinforces the enthusiasm for performance contracts as financial leverage to boost the number and types of performance contracts. H.R. 3079 would help expand both energy efficiency and jobs if Congress moves to expand the Use of Energy and Utility Saving Performance Contracts (ESPC)s/(USPC)s inside and outside of government.
Under the performance contract financing mechanism, private sector service companies finance and install new energy and water efficient equipment at minimal or no upfront cost to the Federal government. Federal agencies repay this investment over time with funds saved on utility costs. The private sector contractors measure, verify and guarantee these energy savings. Current law requires federal facility energy managers to evaluate and identify energy and water efficiency measures for federal facilities, but agencies are not required to implement the measures. The bill requires agencies to implement the measures if they are cost-effective.
Under H.R. 3079, the Department of Energy must report to the President and Congress on each agency's performance contracts, including their investment value and their energy savings. The energy conservation measures that may be contained in performance contracts are expanded by including those involving energy consuming devices and required support structures. Agencies may not limit recognition of operation and maintenance savings associated with energy systems that were modernized or replaced with energy conservation measures and water conservation measures (e.g., lower energy and water bills due to energy efficiency and conservation measures). SMACNA and its allies in the efficiency retrofit sector have long supported performance contracting at the state and federal levels and urges Congress to enact support for such contracting into law.