The federal government can advance energy efficiency by funding programs through the appropriations process. The federal government funds numerous energy efficiency programs run out of a handful of agencies, including the Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The diverse mix of programs run out of these agencies push efficiency efforts forward in most economic sectors, and many assist state and local efforts.

The President commences the appropriations process by submitting an annual budget to Congress based on next fiscal year no later than the first Monday of February. The President recommends funding levels for various programs and the federal agencies, which give detailed justification for their funding requests to House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Congress adopts an annual budget resolution that sets guidance for total budget authority and outlay levels. This is the “authorization” language, or ceiling, for funding. House and Senate subcommittees then begin to craft appropriation bills, which are then “conferenced” between House and Senate Appropriations subcommittee members, the full Committee Chair and ranking minority members to bridge differences. The Conference Report cannot be sent to the President until both houses have agreed to the entire text of the bill. Regular appropriation bills expire at the end of the fiscal year; if no new bill is enacted then a “continuing resolution” is passed to bridge the gap.

ACEEE is a strong advocate for increased appropriations to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). In the past twenty years, Congress has consistently under-funded these data collection agencies, leading to spotty and uneven data quality, and resulting in information gaps that impede good analysis. ACEEE has compiled data on EIA funding levels over the past 32 years. This data can be downloaded here as a PDF.

In addition, ACEEE advocates for essential funding for building codes and appliance and equipment standards, and for the ENERGYSTAR ® labeling program. ACEEE has also been active in supporting increased funding for the Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs) and the Industries of the Future (IOF) Industry-Specific R&D.