H.R. 756, Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act of 2015

H.R. 756

Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act of 2015

Sponsor
Rep. Matt Cartwright

Date
December 6, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
John Huston

Floor Situation

On­­­­ Tuesday, December 6, 2016, the House will consider the H.R. 756, the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act of 2015, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 756 was introduced on February 5, 2015 by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. The bill is similar to H.R. 4092, which passed the House by voice vote on June 23, 2014.

Bill Summary

H.R. 756 directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to establish a clearinghouse to disseminate information regarding available Federal programs and financing mechanisms that may be used to help initiate, develop, and finance energy efficiency, distributed generation, and energy retrofitting projects for schools. The bill also requires DOE to work with other federal agencies to develop a comprehensive list of such federal programs and to streamline efforts to publicize them through education and outreach.

Background

K–12 school districts in the United States spend approximately $6 billion each year on energy bills, second only to personnel costs while exceeding the costs of textbooks and supplies.[1] Some estimates suggest that, “as much as 30 percent of a school district’s total energy is used inefficiently or unnecessarily.” [2]

There are numerous federal initiatives already available to schools to help them become more energy efficient. However, many of these programs are spread across the federal government, making it challenging, time consuming, and costly for schools to identify and take full advantage of these programs.[3]

H.R. 756 would provide a consolidated structure to help schools better navigate available federal programs, such as DOE’s EnergySmart Schools program and EPA’s Energy Star for K–12 School Districts program, and financing options to develop certain energy projects. This may include the development and maintenance of a single online resource that provides a ‘‘one-stop-shop’’ that States, local education agencies, and schools may use to effectively access and use such Federal programs and financing mechanisms.[4]

The bill is similar to H.R. 4092, which passed the House by voice vote on June 23, 2014.

According to the bill sponsor, “Our children deserve to attend school in a safe and comfortable learning environment.  We must also learn to utilize energy in an efficient, responsible, and effective manner if we are to attain energy self-sufficiency. This legislation allows us to accomplish both goals.  It establishes an efficient one-stop shop for schools and directly benefits children, school employees, and the environment.”[5]

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[1] See Energy Star report, “Schools: An Overview of Energy Use and Energy Efficiency Opportunities.”
[2] Id.
[3] See House Report 113-479 at 2.
[4] Id.
[5] See Rep. Matt Cartwright website, “Cartwright, Gibson, Welch Re-Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Encourage Energy Efficiency in Our Schools,” February 5, 2015.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate is currently not available.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.