H.R. 2126, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014

March 4, 2014

Bipartisan Solutions to Encourage Energy and Cost Savings

Title I: Better Buildings (Reps. David McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-VT)) 
Establishes a voluntary, market-driven approach to aligning the interests of commercial building owners and their tenants to reduce energy consumption. It establishes a Tenant Star program – a voluntary certification and recognition program – within Energy Star to promote energy efficiency in separate spaces. DOE would also be required to complete a study on feasible approaches to improving the energy efficiency of tenant-occupied spaces in commercial buildings. The Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved the Better Buildings Act as a stand-alone bill, which received support from a broad coalition of stakeholders.

Title II: Grid-Enabled Water Heaters (Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY))
Exempts from regulation certain thermal storage water heaters under new DOE efficiency standards that go into effect in April 2015. Large grid-enabled electric-resistance water heaters can continue to be manufactured only if they include capabilities that allow them to be used in electric thermal storage or demand response programs. Includes data reporting requirements for manufacturers and utilities to report to DOE the number of units enrolled in electric thermal storage or demand response programs.

Title III: Energy Efficient Government Technology (Reps. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA))
Requires federal agencies to coordinate with OMB, DOE, and EPA to develop an implementation strategy – that includes best practices, measurement, and verification techniques – for the maintenance, purchase, and use of energy-efficient and energy saving information technologies. OMB would be required to track and report on each agency’s progress. Also seeks to improve the energy efficiency of federal data centers by, among other items, requiring DOE to update a 2007 report on data center energy efficiency and maintain a data center energy practitioner certification program. DOE would also establish an open data initiative to help share best practices and support further innovation and develop a metric that measures data center energy efficiency. 

Title IV: Energy Information for Commercial Buildings (Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL))
Requires that federally-leased buildings without Energy Star labels benchmark and disclose their energy usage data, where practical. Federally-owned buildings are already subject to benchmarking requirements, pursuant to Section 432 of EISA 2007. Requires DOE to complete a study of best practices regarding state and local performance benchmarking and disclosure policies for commercial and multi-family buildings and the impact of utility policies for providing aggregated information to owners of multi-tenant buildings to assist with benchmarking programs. Also requires DOE to maintain a database for the purpose of storing and making available public energy-related information on commercial and multifamily buildings.