House Passes Welch Bill to Make Schools More Energy Efficient
Washington, DC – Late yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) to help schools become more energy efficient in Vermont and across the country.
The Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act (H.R. 762) establishes a coordinating structure to help schools better navigate federal energy efficiency programs and financing options. It designates the Department of Energy as the lead agency in coordinating a cross-departmental efforts to initiate, develop, and finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and retrofitting projects for schools.
“Investments in energy efficiency create jobs, save money, and improve the environment,” said Welch. “By streamlining federal programs and cutting red tape, our bipartisan bill will result in lower energy use and lower energy bills for taxpayer funded school systems in Vermont and around the country.”
Every day, an estimated 14 million students attend public school in a deteriorating building. Many of these schools’ problems involve the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems. According to a Department of Education survey, 43 percent of schools indicated that the poor condition of their facilities interferes with the delivery of instruction. By upgrading these systems, energy efficiency is increased, learning environments are improved, and scarce funds are conserved.
The legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.). Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.