While Congress remains unwilling to pass any kind of energy efficiency legislation for the foreseeable future, the Obama administration is picking up the slack. Though the legislative body of the United States government remains polarized over the highly divisive Affordable Care Act, the executive branch is going to great lengths to increase energy efficiency by using presidential orders, essentially bypassing Congress.
With his comprehensive climate plan issued earlier this year, President Barack Obama hopes to increase the entire country's energy efficiency while also reducing energy costs before the conclusion of his second term. What specific goals does the president have for energy usage before he leaves office? Here are a few items highlighted in the president's energy and climate package.
- Better Buildings Challenge expansion: While this part of the president's initiative was already in place prior to the program's recent overhaul, it was expanded to include multifamily housing units. The plan was originally intended for residential homes and commercial buildings, but it did not extend to apartments or condos. Local governments can now keep track of energy use in these places without raising the cost of the executive order.
- Loan program for rural efficiency: It is not just the government and cities the president wants to make energy efficient. The Department of Agriculture announced a $250 million retrofit program in rural areas.
- Triple the use of renewable energy: The Obama administration ordered that all government facilities must get 20 percent of its energy from renewable energy by the end of the year 2020. Today, government agencies collectively get around 7 percent of their energy from renewable resources. This will reduce the cost of the half a million buildings that require hundreds of billions of dollars each year to power.