WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) last week helped pass sweeping, bipartisan energy reform that will create jobs, strengthen national security, protect Connecticut consumers, and push back the tide of global warming. President Obama’s American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES Act) passed the United States House Friday and includes a provision written by Congressman Himes to make energy-efficient housing more affordable.

“Energy costs are crippling our economic recovery, and this energy reform will jumpstart the American energy revolution, creating jobs every step of the way,” said Congressman Himes.
“We don’t have to choose between cheap energy and a clean environment--this bill is a clear roadmap to a future where we light our homes, drive our cars and power our industries with sustainable American-made sources of energy.”

The Himes provision of the ACES Act creates a “green guarantee” for home loans that help homebuyers invest in energy-efficiency improvements for their homes at the time of purchase. Specifically, the language provides government-backing for the incremental cost of a mortgage—for either an existing home or new build—to facilitate up-front investments that will reduce energy usage and costs in the long term.

The ACES Act will create long-lasting jobs in the American energy sector and establish the nation as the world leader in clean energy innovation. Strategic incentives will encourage private sector research and development into new clean energy sources and the products that will use them.

Energy Security
The bill will increase our national and energy security by cutting the use of oil and petroleum products by 2 million barrels a day by 2030 – as much as we currently import from the Persian Gulf. It will increase the domestic energy supply by promoting the use of renewable energy sources and allow the continued use of coal, while addressing the costs created by coal’s contribution to global warming.

ACES takes a giant step forward to reverse the effects of climate changes. In addition to setting a total cap on polluting emissions which strengthens over time, the bill will help prevent deforestation in developing nations through a system of incentives for “offsetting” programs that reduce net emissions.

Cost and Consumer Protection
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated this week that limiting greenhouse gases would cost the average U.S. household barely 48 cents a day by the time the bill takes full effect 2020, and that analysis does not account for the significant cost savings the bill will provide for consumers. As a result of energy efficiency measures, consumer spending on utility bills would be roughly 7% lower in 2020 as a result of the legislation. In Connecticut, ratepayers stand to benefit enormously because ACES will bring the rest of the country into line with the market-based emissions limits already part of the New England’s regional climate-change compact, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

A fact sheet containing more detail regarding the consumer benefits in ACES is available here.