NIA Winning Legislative Victories for the Insulation Industry

Caitlyn Freitas

Caitlyn Freitas is the Associate Editor for NIA. Her responsibilities include curating, editing, and writing content for Insulation Outlook; working on marketing and outreach pieces; and editing all NIA publications. She can be reached at

August 1, 2014

The National Insulation Association (NIA), through its Foundation for Education, Training, and Industry Advancement, is constantly working with allied organizations, code and energy officials, and state and national legislators to spread awareness of the
benefits of mechanical insulation. Recent work on Capitol Hill has resulted in 2 important pieces of legislation that will directly benefit the insulation industry.

On February 7, 2014, President Obama signed the Farm Bill into law. During the writing of this bill, NIA worked with allies in Congress to include certain mechanical insulation amendments. These amendments require the Secretary of Agriculture to create a report that documents
its analysis of energy use and energy-efficiency projects at the Department of Agriculture’s Washington, D.C. headquarters and its major regional facilities. It will also list energy audits and energy-efficiency projects conducted at these facilities. Lastly, it requires a list
of insulation projects that could save energy by enacting a proper mechanical insulation maintenance program, and/or upgrading mechanical insulation at these facilities. NIA will be able to leverage these statistics and reports to demonstrate the concrete benefits insulation
offers for energy and process efficiency as well as cost savings for similar facilities. This is a tremendous opportunity to directly demonstrate the value of insulation to the federal government—one of the largest consumers of energy in the United States—which could
potentially result in the increased use of insulation in these and other governmental facilities.

Recently, NIA developed legislative language that sought to gain recognition for the value of thermal insulation for mechanical systems; this language was adapted into its own stand-alone bill in the House of Representatives. Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), joined by
co-sponsor Representative Jerry McNerney (D-CA), introduced this bill in the House of Representatives as H.R. 4801, the Thermal Insulation Efficiency Improvement Act. (See “Thermal Insulation Efficiency Improvement Act” sidebar on page 24 for the exact language from the bill.)
This legislation would require the Secretary of Energy to prepare a report on the impact of thermal insulation on both energy and water use when examining hot water in federal buildings. Thus, this legislation represents another opportunity for NIA and the federal government to
gain more data validating that mechanical insulation has significant potential to save energy, water, and money. This data will be used to increase the chances of additional insulation legislation and also to encourage insulation building code changes by highlighting the value
of insulation.

NIA’s work to spread knowledge of the value of insulation across industries succeeded in creating incredible inter-industry support for the Thermal Insulation Efficiency Improvement Act. Nineteen organizations from the energy and water sectors, including ASHRAE, the
International Code Council, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, and others, joined together to advocate for this bill and signed a letter urging the House of Representatives to pass this legislation. The fact that our legislation garnered such
widespread support reflects the success NIA has had in spreading the message about the value mechanical insulation has to offer to these numerous industries. It is wonderful to see so many organizations actively promoting the use of thermal insulation for mechanical systems, and
that insulation is finally receiving the recognition that it deserves. Our efforts paid off when the Thermal Insulation Efficiency Improvement Act passed the House of Representatives on June 23, 2014.

With President Obama making energy efficiency a defining topic of his final term, energy-saving technologies are becoming a focus for both the private sector and the federal government. The potential data we could obtain from these bills could be used to create a compelling
business case for the increased use of mechanical insulation in the governmental and private sectors. While there is already a significant amount of data verifying the benefits of mechanical insulation, this legislation could prove crucial in demonstrating the value of
insulation to important decision makers in the government. To be enacted, H.R. 4801, the Thermal Insulation Efficiency Improvement Act, must be approved by the Senate, and then signed into law by the President. We are now strategizing with key allies to introduce this
legislation in the Senate, and hope to achieve the same success we enjoyed with the Farm Bill. Given the power of insulation to produce incredible energy, water, and financial savings, we are optimistic about bringing more allies to our cause, and advancing this important piece
of legislation through the legislative process. To stay up-to-date on the latest news and developments regarding legislative activities, visit NIA’s homepage at


Thermal Insulation Efficiency Improvement Act

Actual Language from H.R. 4801:

To require the Secretary of Energy to prepare a report on the impact of thermal insulation on both energy and water use for potable hot water.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


(a) Report. Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with appropriate Federal agencies and relevant stakeholders, shall submit to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate and the Committee on
Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives a report on the impact of thermal insulation on both energy and water use systems for potable hot and chilled water in Federal buildings, and the return on investment of installing such insulation.
(b) Contents. The report shall include—
(1) an analysis based on the cost of municipal or regional water for delivered water and the avoided cost of new water; and
(2) a summary of energy and water savings, including short-term and long-term (20 years) projections of such savings.