Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) in a full committee hearing, discussed new efficiency opportunities provided by smart building technologies.
Intelligent buildings and homes use advanced controls, building management systems, and information and communication technologies to optimize energy use while improving other building performance metrics such as occupant comfort and productivity.
Today’s advanced buildings are combining efficient equipment with vast amounts of data in real time to optimize operations and make buildings truly “smart.” Continued investment in advanced building technologies could provide significant energy savings and greenhouse gas emissions reduction opportunities.
During the hearing, Senator Cantwell highlighted that “Across the United States 2.2 million people work in energy efficiency jobs, including 62 thousand in the state of Washington. This year, energy efficiency jobs are expected to grow by 9 percent. Buildings in the United States consume 40 percent of the country’s energy and only a small fraction of our 130 million buildings we can say are actually smart.”
“We’ve made big gains in energy efficiency over the last 40 years in large part to DOE’s program focused on research, setting standards for appliances, and developing energy codes for buildings. The appliance standards program alone will save consumers over 2 trillion dollars by 2030 on their energy bills. So, Smart buildings are the new frontier,” noted Senator Cantwell. “This is a huge opportunity. The smart buildings market is expected to be worth over 30 billion dollars in 5 years.”
On June 29, 2017, Senator Cantwell and Senator Murkowski introduced the Energy and Natural Resources Act that includes a provision to promote smart building technologies. “This provision of the energy bill would accelerate the use of these technologies by evaluating smart building performance and focusing on research and identifying key barriers to adoption,” said Senator Cantwell.=
Senator Cantwell also highlighted ongoing work on smart building technologies at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, PNNL. “I’m so glad that PNNL is here again because, with the funding from DOE, it is leading the development of cutting-edge controls technologies that alone can cut a building’s energy use by 30 percent,” said Senator Cantwell. “These are real savings.”
“We must continue to make these investments. We must embrace a future with more smart technologies to improve our economic competitiveness and create jobs,” said Senator Cantwell. “Cutting the DOE’s critical research programs in this area by 66 percent, as the Trump Administration proposes, is not the way to embrace the future.”
Last Wednesday, October 25, 2017, Secretary Perry released the Department Of Energy’s review of “regulatory burdens to the American people.” The review called out reforms to successful appliance standards program that would, “Alleviate or eliminate agency actions that burden domestic energy development, production, and use.”
“I can’t emphasize enough how wrong I think the secretary got this. In reality, these [standards] are alleviating the challenges businesses face by putting more money into their pockets so they can be competitive,” said Senator Cantwell. “So, I hope they will stop beating up on the energy efficiency programs at the DOE and move forward on them.”
Watch Senator Cantwell’s opening statement here.
Witness testimony will be available online immediately before the start of each hearing at on committee website.