President-elect Barrack Obama’s transition team has already started its work, and in Congress, new leadership will be elected soon. What can we expect from the new administration and a new Congress on an energy efficiency policy?
Time will tell.
As members of the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration
Institute (AHRI) gather this week in Carlsbad, Calif., for its first-ever
annual meeting, you can bet the association will be discussing ways and means
to get the ear of the new Congress. There is a lot at stake, and it’s best to
get on the ground floor now.
AHRI has made it known it will seek opportunities to work with
the new leaders in Washington to gain bipartisan support for policies that
expedite the replacement of the “installed base” of old, less-efficient heating
and cooling equipment. AHRI said its members support policies that include tax
credits and incentives that not only encourage consumers to purchase new
equipment, but also encourage manufacturers to develop and produce
President-elect Obama has made it known that he wants an energy
efficiency resource standard (EERS), ramping up to 15 percent savings by 2020,
and such a provision will likely be considered. According to the American
Council for Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), other potential items for an
energy bill include extensions of various energy efficiency and renewable
energy tax credits plus investments in a green economy. Obama has called for an
investment of $15 billion annually for 10 years.
In his proposed energy policy, Obama noted: “By upgrading a
home’s furnace, sealing leaky ducts, fixing windows, and adding insulation, we
can cut energy bills by 20-40 percent, and the substantial savings accrue with
summer air conditioning as well as winter heating. And, by adding
energy-efficient appliances and lighting, the savings are even greater.”
Obama emphasized energy, principally energy efficiency and
renewable energy, as one of his key issues. Now it’s time that a president
follow-up on his words and promises. And, it’s up to this industry to make sure
these needed changes and improvements are, indeed, made.
Everyone in this industry can do its part by writing to the
President-elect, as well as the Senators and Representatives in his/her
immediate area. There will be a lot of interest in energy efficiency from
Congress, given expanded Democratic majorities in general and some of the newly
elected Senators in particular. ACEEE noted, while many Republicans support
energy efficiency, probably a higher proportion of Democrats think government
should do more to support efficiency. On the other hand, all major legislation
requires 60 votes in the Senate, which means that moderate Republicans and
moderate Democrats have to be on board.
As Mr. Obama said throughout his campaign, it’s time for a
change. It is up to this industry to make sure the correct changes are made.