Press Release

Welch Introduces Bill to Enhance Public Building Infrastructure, Increase Energy Efficiency 

Feb 7, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) led Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Chris Van Hollen (D-M.D.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) in introducing the Improving State and Local Government Access to Performance Contracting Act, legislation that would help state energy offices create or improve Energy Saving Performance Contracting (ESPC) programs. This legislation will provide states with funding to leverage public-private partnerships to improve energy efficiency in non-federal public building infrastructure, including public universities, public schools, fire stations, libraries, police stations, and town halls.  

“The transition to a clean energy economy starts locally, and improving state and local government energy efficiency will have a ripple effect nationwide,” said Senator Welch. “The Improving State and Local Government Access to Performance Contracting Act builds on state-based efficiency successes in the Inflation Reduction Act by increasing the capacity for performance contracting which provides billions each year to improve crucial public infrastructure like our schools, hospitals, and universities. This legislation will help close the gap between what is being done today and what could be done in the future by providing key resources for these energy efficiency projects in Vermont and states across the nation. I’ll continue to champion green legislation in the Senate so we can keep making strides toward a clean energy future.” 

“This bill provides new tools for our schools, hospitals, universities and more to make major energy-saving building upgrades that will help to reduce operating costs, improve indoor air quality and ultimately benefit our communities,” said Senator Shaheen. “Through public-private partnerships, these projects more than pay for themselves with energy savings with no upfront costs to taxpayers.” 

“Improving energy efficiency for state and local governments saves taxpayer dollars while reducing the environmental footprint of public infrastructure,” said Senator Coons. “I’m proud to join with my colleagues to introduce this legislation to make it easier to implement much-needed building improvements and leverage private investments for long-term public good.”  

“One of the immediate actions necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to reduce the amount of energy we use by improving energy efficiency,” said Senator Smith. “This bill will significantly improve our collective efforts to increase energy efficiency nationwide by building upon the good work that local and state governments are already doing.” 

ESPC are public-private partnerships with state and local governments that engage the expertise and capital of the private sector to make investments in public building upgrades. With these improvements, the operational costs of these buildings are substantially reduced by replacing decrepit and poorly performing components, resulting in savings that are used to repay the investment made by the private sector company.  

ESPC provide nearly $5 billion each year in improvements to infrastructure like schools, hospitals, courthouses, universities, emergency response facilities, and state and local buildings. However, research has found that the remaining cost-effective building investments that are left uncompleted are over $200 billion. 

The Improving State and Local Government Access to Performance Contracting Act will provide $35 million per year for five years to provide valuable improvements to existing programs and allow the establishment of new programs.  

Specifically, actions that will be provided through this legislation: 

  • Design and Implementation of Model Energy Savings Performance Contracts; 
  • Guidelines, procedures, manuals and other documents to structure contract delivery; 
  • Programs that will prequalify and certify energy savings performance contractors; 
  • Technical and administrative assistance to performance contracts; and 
  • Monitoring, tracking and reporting of performance contracts. 

The legislation also directs the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to establish a program to develop and provide a project facilitator certification program—providing expertise right in local communities to oversee and guide these projects to success. Facilitators will ensure that projects carried out under a performance contract will achieve the cost savings and continue to provide benefits to the local community. 

The Improving State and Local Government Access to Performance Contracting Act is endorsed by the Alliance to Save Energy, Federal Performance Contracting Coalition (FPCC), National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO), Northeast Energy Efficiency and Electrification Council (NEEEC), North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), and the U.S. Green Building Council. 

Read more about the bill here