U.S. Senate Committee Approves Legislation Assisting Nonprofits with High Energy Costs

Posted on July 31, 2015 In Press Releases

Contact: Roslyn Singer
Director of Communications, OU Advocacy


The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passed a comprehensive energy bill yesterday titled “The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015,” which included the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act (S.600)—bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and developed in close partnership with the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. The comprehensive bill will now move to the full Senate for consideration.

S.600 will create a new federal grants program to support nonprofits making energy efficiency improvements to their buildings. S.600 will thus enable America’s schools, youth centers, houses of worship, hospitals etc. to reduce their operating costs, lessen impact on the environment and bolster America’s energy independence. Under the proposal, $50 million would be authorized for Fiscal Years 2016-2020; nonprofits could apply for grants up to 50 percent of the total cost of the energy efficiency program—up to $200,000.

According to the U.S. E.P.A., nonresidential buildings in the U.S.—including YMCAs, hospitals and museums—consume more than $200 billion annually in energy costs and account for a significant portion of annual greenhouse gas emissions. Among the nonprofits in the United States, there are approximately 370,000 houses of worship and, according to the EPA, they collectively spend more than $3 billion dollars in annual energy costs.

The Orthodox Union spearheaded a coalition of nonprofit groups to support this legislation, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National YMCA Association, National Council of Churches, Jewish Federations of North America, American Association of Museum Directors and others.

“The Orthodox Union and our coalition partners greatly appreciate the leadership of Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for their bipartisan efforts to pass the comprehensive energy bill and for including the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act within the legislation. The Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act will deliver important support for America’s nonprofits, help them reduce their energy costs and better serve our communities,” said Nathan Diament, Orthodox Union Executive Director for Public Policy.