06/13/17

H.R. 627 - Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act of 2017

Introduced by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) on January 24, 2017, the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act of 2017 (H.R. 627) has 49 bipartisan cosponsors, including Alliance Honorary Board Members Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.). Previous versions, also submitted by Rep. Cartwright, have passed the House in both the 114th and 113th Congresses. The bill was first introduced into the House in the 113th Congress as H.R. 4092, and reported favorably on June 19, 2014, by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce with Committee Report 113-479. An identical bill (H.R. 756) was passed without amendment by voice vote in the 114th Congress on December 6, 2016.

The bill’s Senate companion is S. 383, which was introduced by Alliance Honorary Board Member Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) with four cosponsors, including Alliance Honorary Chairwoman Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Alliance Honorary Vice Chairman Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Alliance Honorary Board Member Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). The provisions of this bill were also included in S. 385, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, known as the “Portman-Shaheen” bill, which passed through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on March 30, 2017, and placed on the Senate Calendar on May 10, 2017.

Summary

The Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act directs the Department of Energy to create, in collaboration with other federal agencies, a single online clearinghouse to disseminate information on federal programs and financing mechanisms for schools, including K-12 and higher education.

In the United States K-12 school system, energy costs are the largest non-workforce expense, totaling nearly $6 billion each year. It is estimated that schools could save up to 30 percent on electric utility bills through energy retrofits, installation of energy-efficient equipment, and distributed generation resources.

Key Provisions

The Department of Energy must:

  1. Review existing programs and financing mechanisms available from appropriate federal agencies
  2. Coordinate with relevant agencies to streamline communication and promote available federal opportunities and assistance that enables states, local educational agencies, and schools to use existing federal opportunities more effectively
  3. Provide technical assistance to help develop and finance projects
  4. Develop and maintain with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy a single online resource website
  5. Establish a peer resource program to recognize schools for successful implementation