House Bill Amps Up Energy Savings

August 8, 2007


Washington, D.C. — The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) today released its analysis of the energy bill passed by the House on August 4. ACEEE's assessment finds that the bill's energy efficiency provisions would reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 670 million tons, or 8%, in 2030 relative to the current Department of Energy forecast. Combining the best provisions of both the House and Senate bills would yield emissions reductions totaling 1,530 million tons of carbon dioxide, or 19%, in 2030 relative to the forecast. The final House bill contained important amendments that increased emissions reductions by 112 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2030, a 20% increase from the version that was reported out of committee.


In addition to substantial energy savings and emissions reductions, both the Senate and House bills would save consumers and businesses a significant amount of money. ACEEE estimates that the efficiency provisions in the final House bill would save consumers and businesses a net $420 billion (in 2005 dollars) on a cumulative basis from 2008-2030, an increase of $80 billion, or 24%, from the version sent to the floor. A bill combining the best efficiency features of the House and Senate bills would save consumers and businesses a net $850 billion.


"The House added major energy, carbon, and dollar savings late in the process, making this bill a better investment in efficiency, the nation's 'first fuel' in the race for clean energy," said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel.


The two new efficiency provisions in the House bill are the inclusion of energy efficiency as an eligible resource for a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), and the addition of walk-in commercial refrigerators and metal halide lighting to the list of appliance efficiency standards. These augment provisions in the bill that was sent to the House floor, which included improvements to national and state building codes, efficiency standards for incandescent lamps and other products, an update and expansion of the federal appliance and equipment standards program, and provisions to increase use of combined heat and power systems in the industrial and institutional sectors. The House bill also includes a tax package that extends and expands energy efficiency tax incentives.


The bill the Senate passed in June does not include many of these House provisions. On the other hand, the Senate bill includes two major provisions not in the House bill—increases to Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards for cars and light trucks, and steadily increasing mandatory targets for oil savings over the 2016-2031 period. Neither provision is iron-clad, in that both allow substantial regulatory discretion. The Senate Finance Committee also reported out a more comprehensive set of energy efficiency tax incentives than are contained in the House bill.


"We urge the House-Senate Conferees to adopt the best energy-saving provisions of the House and Senate bills, especially the fuel economy standard, renewable electricity standard, and appliance efficiency standards," concluded Nadel.


Details on ACEEE's analyses of both the Senate and House bills can be found at http://aceee.org/energy/national/nrgleg.htm.


The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, contact ACEEE, 529 14th Street N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045 or visit aceee.org.