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Welch, Kinzinger Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Reduce Energy and Water Consumption by Federal Agencies

January 16, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Representatives Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) today introduced legislation to authorize the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP). 

FEMP is currently charged with reducing energy use in federal buildings but has never received a formal authorization from Congress. The Welch-Kinzinger bill authorizes the program for five years, adds water use reduction to its mission, and sets ambitious goals for agencies to reduce water and energy use in federal facilities.

"FEMP’s important work on energy efficiency has saved taxpayer dollars and improved the environment," said Rep. Welch. "Authorizing and expanding the program to include water use reduction will save additional money and make further gains for the environment." 

“Buildings in the U.S. account for 40% of the country’s energy use, and considering the federal government has the largest real estate holdings nationwide, we should be doing everything we can to improve its energy and water use. And that’s why Congressman Welch and I have introduced the Federal Energy and Water Management Performance Act to require agencies to coordinate with one another to improve efficiency in energy and water use,” said Rep. Kinzinger. “I’m pleased to continue this bipartisan work with Mr. Welch, and I look forward to getting this bill passed through Congress and signed into law later this year.”

The Federal Energy and Water Management Performance Act of 2020 directs federal agencies to reduce energy consumption in facilities by 2.5% each year through 2030 and reduce water consumption by 54% by 2030.

In 2016, the federal government used 351 trillion BTU of energy, the most in the nation, and 126 billion gallons of water. FEMP’s efforts to date have resulted in the federal government achieving a 49% reduction in energy intensity since 1975 and cost savings of approximately $50 billion.

While not stipulated in the text of the bill, agencies working toward more energy efficient buildings can utilize mechanisms such as energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) or utility energy service contracts (UESCs) to meet their goals. These contracts are public-private partnerships that produce taxpayer savings, a stronger economy, and a reduced carbon footprint. In May 2019, Congressmen Kinzinger and Welch introduced legislation, the Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act, to bolster the use of these contracts.

Welch and Kinzinger are members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee which has jurisdiction over this program as well as the House Energy Savings and Performance Caucus.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have introduced similar legislation in the Senate (S. 1857).