On July 17, 2019, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), along with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) re-introduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2019 (EICA). First introduced in 2013 during the 113th Congress, the EICA is now being introduced for the fourth time. Although it has had varying degrees of success in the Senate, its companion bill has never gained much traction in the House of Representatives. The bill's sponsors hope that with the new Democratic majority in the House, it stands a better chance of success.
The EICA aims to boost energy efficiency across the US economy by directing the Department of Energy (DOE) to:
- Support the updating of model building energy codes, and provide technical and financial support for the development of "stretch codes" and advanced standards for residential and commercial buildings.
- Using technical assistance, incentive funding and other measures, encourage and support States and Indian Tribes to adopt and implement new building energy codes that meet or exceed these model building energy codes as they are developed.
- Conduct a study of the feasibility, impact, and merit of code improvements that would require buildings to be adaptable for future energy saving technologies, and legislative options for increasing energy savings from building energy codes.
- Provide grants to colleges and universities to establish building training and assessment centers that promote building energy efficiency, and building professionals in energy efficient building design and operation.
- Provide grants for career skills training programs that provide certifications for the installation of energy efficient building technologies.
- Act as the lead federal agency for coordinating and disseminating information on existing federal programs available to help schools initiate, develop and finance energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy retrofitting projects.
- Reform and reorient the Department's existing industrial efficiency programs.
- Establish a "Supply Star" program to identify and promote highly efficient supply chains.
- Establish programs that promote energy efficiency in data centers and multifamily residential buildings.
The EICA also promotes energy efficiency within the federal government by requiring all federal agencies to develop strategies for employing energy-efficient information technologies, and amending existing law to encourage use of federal green buildings.
Because this bill encourages, but does not require, the adoption of energy efficient practices across broad swathes of the American economy, it has received wide bipartisan support. Outside of Congress, both industry and environmentalists have supported the bill, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Chemistry Council, and the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute.