This piece was originally published in the June 2018 issue of electroindustry.
Congressman Welch is chief deputy whip and a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The building sector uses more than 40 percent of the nation’s energy, presenting a critical opportunity for increasing energy efficiency. While improving energy efficiency in the building sector has traditionally proved challenging, emerging energy monitoring and control technologies are easing the transition to smart buildings that dramatically reduce energy use.
To accelerate the transition to these cost-saving smart buildings, I introduced the bipartisan Smart Building Acceleration Act (HR 5069), which would speed the adoption of smart technologies in the private sector and in key federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and the General Services Administration.
Investments in energy efficiency save money, create jobs, and improve the environment. By expanding the use of smart technology, this bill would result in lower energy use and lower energy bills for taxpayer-funded buildings around the country.
The Smart Building Acceleration Act facilitates the transition to smart buildings by supporting research and by documenting the costs and benefits of emerging technologies in private sector and federal government buildings. Specifically, the bill:
- requires a survey and evaluation of privately owned smart buildings to assess the effectiveness of various advanced building technologies;
- establishes a demonstration project to implement smart building retrofits in certain federal buildings and to quantify costs and benefits; and
- directs research and development toward reducing barriers to the adoption of smart building technology.
The United States is lagging behind on energy efficiency. But there is an enormous opportunity to upgrade our energy infrastructure. It is my hope that the Smart Building Acceleration Act charts a new energy future where energy efficiency and renewable technologies are put to work creating jobs, saving money, and improving the environment.