Washington, DC - On Thursday, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) delivered a speech on the Senate floor calling on his colleagues to pass the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013 (S.1392). In his speech, Blumenthal highlighted the legislation’s positive impact on job growth and economic activity. According to estimates by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the legislation would save consumers $13.7 billion per year and create 164,000 jobs by 2030.
Blumenthal also highlighted an amendment he is offering to the bill that would require the U.S. Department of Energy to study the (1) Contribution and Societal Benefits of Energy Saving Products and the (2) Societal Return on Investment for Building Energy Code Compliance. According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, buildings account for almost 40 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Video of Blumenthal’s speech is here; excerpts from the speech are below.
“…this measure is so important and so vital to the future of our country not only in the ends and policies it achieves, but also the trust that it will inspire if we're able to come together and work on a bipartisan basis and get this job done. It can set a template for changing the mind-set within this building and across the country as to how congress can function.
“…we have an opportunity here. Let's seize it. Let's avoid the kind of quagmire and gridlock and paralysis that has been so damaging to trust and confidence in our public institution. Senators Shaheen and Portman deserve a tremendous amount of credit for getting this bill to where it is right now. They never gave up, and I am proud that they have come this far. Let us enable this congress to go the rest of the way. This legislation is more than the sum of its parts. It is about saving money, clearly $13.7 billion per year. It's about saving energy and creating jobs, 164,000 jobs by 2030. And it is a great return on investment. It's also about creating trust and confidence in our ability to protect our national security from excess use of energy that makes us more dependent on nations that have no particular affection for us, indeed wish us more harm than good.”
“I have an amendment to the bill that would provide for a very straightforward, noncontroversial step in this same direction. It's numbered 1878, and it will require the United States Department of Energy to study the nonmonetary – I stress nonmonetary benefits to our communities of energy-saving … For example, buildings account for almost 40 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions according to world business council for sustainable development. We all see the difference that energy efficiency makes in our pocketbooks and wallets. This amendment will help quantify these same improvements insofar as a cleaner environment.”
“There are three areas of manufacturing in Connecticut that are thriving because of energy efficiency. United Technologies makes buildings systems, elevators, and heating and air conditioning units and systems that are focused on the most innovative and sustainable technologies. We all use their energy efficiency – for example, Otis Elevators – every day to come to the floor and bring constituents to the Capitol Visitors Center by that means. In Legrand in West Hartford, if you visit you can see firsthand the jobs this administration employees. Legrand employs about 500 people making electrical and digital insides of buildings across commercial and industrial markets. They have a demonstration home. You can walk through it. You can see how energy-efficient products work and how they save energy, money and also improve quality of life.”
“Connecticut is also leading the world in making energy-efficient fuel cell and hydrogen energy systems, a third area of great importance in energy saving, from our neighborhood schools to military bases that use stationary fuel cells to many other areas where inexpensive energy storage and power, as well as increased reliability, result from grid independence. These lessons are tangible, real, dramatic. They are lessons in energy efficiency. In fact, after Storm Sandy, we know something about the need for reliable backup power in Connecticut. Fuel cells are our future, and we should be recognizing that energy efficiency is our future as well.”
“We cannot live successfully and we cannot thrive as a nation in the 21st century without an energy policy and without moving forward on measures like this one that enable us to be more energy efficient. This legislation is an important approach and a part of a comprehensive policy that our nation needs to address climate disruption, national security threats, fiscal austerity, and all of the challenges of quality of life that are so imminent and direct to our nation.”