Sent to Chairman Simpson, Ranking Member Kaptur, Chairman Alexander, and Ranking Member Feinstein
As taxpayers who support energy efficiency, we are writing to urge robust funding during the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 and in FY2019 for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s programs at the Building Technology Office and Weatherization and Intergovernmental Activities. These programs return benefits and savings to American homeowners, consumers, and businesses many times more than the public’s investment. We urge you to maintain at least the current level of funding for the remainder of FY2018 and increase funding for FY2019 to reflect the recent budget caps agreement to ensure these programs continue to support increased economic and energy productivity.
Put simply, energy efficiency equals jobs. The energy efficiency industry employs over 2 million Americans and is by far the largest sector in the U.S. clean economy, with three out of every four clean energy jobs being an energy efficiency job. Importantly, forty percent of energy efficiency jobs in the U.S. deal with construction and installation of energy efficiency products. These are the men and women that come to people’s homes and businesses installing insulation, new technologies, and improving the efficiency of the building envelope. These are the “boots on the ground” in neighborhoods and cities all across the country. These are small business jobs that are inherently local and cannot be exported.
Dollar for dollar, investments in energy efficiency create more jobs than investment in the utility sector or fossil-fuels, and investments in DOE programs that support energy efficiency – like the Building Technologies Office, Weatherization Assistance Program, and State Energy Program – lead to job creation and economic growth. For example, investment in weatherization creates direct jobs in sales and installation and indirect jobs in equipment manufacturing and distribution. The job creation and economic benefits that stem from investment in energy efficiency are immense, as energy efficiency jobs cover a range of positions and technologies and are ubiquitous across industries.
The Building Technologies Office (BTO) within DOE develops critical technologies, tools, and solutions that help U.S. consumers and businesses achieve peak efficiency performance in new and existing homes and buildings across all sectors of our economy. Just a few examples of these crucial residential initiatives within BTO: Home Performance with Energy Star advances contractor engagement in high efficiency equipment installations, Home Energy Score helps ensure that energy efficiency is valued in real estate transactions, and HPXML simplifies the methodology for collecting and transferring data. BTO also partners with businesses that manufacture efficiency technologies to help them bring their innovative products to market, and works to make efficiency information more available and useful to businesses across the country. We respectfully request $250 million for BTO, with $36 million for Residential Building Integration and $49 million for Commercial Building Integration in FY2019.
U.S. DOE’s Weatherization and Intergovernmental Activities, which includes the Weatherization Assistance Program and the State Energy Program, is vital to support energy efficiency and clean energy technologies in partnership with state, local, and territorial governments. The Weatherization Assistance Program – which the President has proposed eliminating in his FY19 budget request - helps low-income homeowners and enables states to leverage utility dollars. A peer-reviewed study from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that the program is cost-effective at even conservative levels of evaluation. Each dollar that goes toward weatherization assistance yields at least $2.30 in benefits, and by some estimates as much as $4.10 to the home and society. Through this essential program, U.S. DOE has improved the energy efficiency of homes for over seven million low-income and rural Americans, who are particularly susceptible to volatile energy prices and higher utility bills. A recent report from E4TheFuture cites health benefits to households receiving weatherization assistance such as 12% fewer asthma-related emergency room visits. We respectfully urge funding of $230 million for the Weatherization Assistance Program.
The State Energy Program (SEP) provides vital assistance to states to develop energy efficiency projects, and supports private sector energy innovations. In contrast to the Administration's FY19 budget request, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by unanimous consent H.R. 3050 which includes a $90 million authorization of appropriations--as well as a recognition of the importance of SEP to address energy emergency preparedness and response and physical and cyber security. This program yields benefits that far outweigh the relatively nominal outlays appropriated by Congress. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that every taxpayer dollar invested in SEP by the federal government yields over $10 leveraged for energy-related economic development AND realizes $7.22 in energy cost savings for U.S. citizens and businesses – a tremendous economic value. SEP’s proven track record shows it is crucial to helping states improve efficiency in hospitals and schools, establishing business incubators and job training programs, and creating relationships with energy service companies and small businesses to implement cost-effective energy efficiency programs. SEP provides extraordinary value and flexibility, which is why governors across the country strongly support continued funding. We respectfully request funding of $70 million for SEP.
We ask the Subcommittee to support these important energy efficiency programs at U.S. DOE in FY2018 and FY2019. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.