Senate working on energy efficiency bill

A new bipartisan bill on energy efficiency is heading toward the Senate floor, inching closer to becoming law. Authored by Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act would represent a huge step forward in the United States' energy policy.

According to ThinkProgress, the Shaheen-Portman bill aims at updating efficiency building codes for industrial facilities and federal agencies, offering rebates and other financial incentives for eco-friendly equipment and requiring federal buildings to adopt power saving measures. The bill calls on the Secretary of Energy to fund these programs by awarding grants to states that will "establish or expand programs to promote the financing of energy efficiency retrofit projects for private sector and commercial buildings."

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) deduced that, if passed, the Shaheen-Portman bill would save approximately 9.5 quadrillion Btu's across the country over the course of 2014 to 2030, an amount equal to about one-tenth of annual national energy consumption.

While a previous attempt had been made at passing the bill into law, it was pulled due to tacked on controversial amendments. Despite that, lawmakers are now taking careful steps – such as rewording language to substitute more hot-button terms like "loans" with "grants" – to keep detrimental provisions from being added.

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