Mr. TERRY. Mr. Chairman, this is a noncontroversial amendment that encourages government buildings to use geothermal technology.
Geothermal technology is simple; when you dig down and use the energy within and beneath the Earth, you save energy. For example, in Nebraska, and all over, you can dig down 100 feet where the temperature is a consistent 60 degrees. So therefore, for example, at this time of year when it's in the 90s and high humidity, instead of cooling the air from 100 degrees to 72, you're [Page: H9844]
bringing it up from 60 degrees to 72. You save anywhere from 60 percent and
as high as up to 80 percent, depending on the time of year, on energy costs to heat and cool and also to create hot water. This is the major use of energy within buildings, whether commercial or residential, and I think government should be the leader in this.
Simple amendment. I appreciate the help and encouragement I have received on this amendment.
Mr. Chairman, at this time I yield to the gentleman from Virginia.
Mr. TERRY. I can keep talking.
Reclaiming my time from the gentleman from Virginia, while the technology to implement geothermal, for example, a smaller building may increase the building cost by a mere $3,000 or $4,000, studies have shown that for commercial or residential buildings that they will recoup those costs within a matter of 3 years because of the energy savings by using the Earth's own energy to heat and cool.
Mr. Chairman, at this time I would like to yield to the gentleman from Virginia.
Mr. BOUCHER. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I regret the delay.
Let me commend the gentleman for two things. First of all, for his very helpful work as a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and secondly, for bringing this amendment before the body today.
Geothermal heat pump technology is a promising means of meeting heating and cooling needs with high energy efficiency. It uses the Earth itself, as the gentleman has described, as a kind of a heat battery, but also as a natural coolant during the summertimes. And that is a natural battery and also a natural coolant upon which we can draw with great efficiency.
The amendment would direct the Federal Government to take the lead in adopting geothermal heat pump technologies. It would have the government lead by example, and I think it is an excellent addition to the measure. We are pleased to accept the gentleman's amendment.
Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, as the committee of jurisdiction on the minority side, we do not oppose the amendment, we support it, and I yield back the balance of my time.