Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) renewed their push for a national energy efficiency strategy by reintroducing Feb. 27 an updated version of the Shaheen-Portman Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Bill (S. 2704). The legislation has received widespread support from Democrats and Republicans as well as industry leaders, energy-efficiency advocates and environmental stakeholders because it reduces pollution, saves consumers money and creates jobs.

The reintroduced Shaheen-Portman legislation uses a variety of low-cost tools to help energy users become more efficient while making the country’s largest energy user — the federal government — reduce its energy use through the use of energy-efficient technology. The deficit-neutral bill incentivizes the use of efficiency technologies that are commercially available today, can be widely deployed across the country and quickly pay for themselves through energy savings. 

A study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy estimates that Shaheen-Portman will create more than 190,000 jobs, save consumers $16.2 billion a year and cut CO2 emissions and other air pollutants by the equivalent of taking 22 million cars off the road by 2030.

The bill includes two amendments from the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute. The first amendment applies to large-capacity, grid-enabled, electric resistance water heaters for use in electric thermal storage or demand response programs, creating an exemption under new standards that go into effect in April 2015.

 The second amendment requires the U.S. Department of Energy to recognize voluntary, independent certification programs for certain products, and to rely on qualified programs to verify the performance of these products.