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ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 7/24/2015

US Federal Activities

  • ASHRAE Issues Action Alert to US-Based Members Encouraging Them to Contact Their US Representative to Protect the Development, Adoption, and Implementation of Standard 90.1 and the IECC from the Potentially Harmful Effects of Proposed Federal Legislation
  • House Subcommittee Approves Comprehensive Energy Legislation
  • Senate Committee Leaders Take Major Step Forward in Unveiling the Bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act
  • Senate Finance Committee Approves Two-Year Extension of Buildings-Related Tax Incentives
  • DOE Issues Final Rule on Energy Conservation Standards for Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners
  • DOE’s Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC) Announces Meetings
  • DOE Issues Final Rule Amending Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedures for Commercial Heating, Air Conditioning, and Water Heating Equipment
  • DOE Proposes Rule on Energy Conservation Standards for Commercial Prerinse Spray Valves
  • DOE Announces Intent to Establish Negotiated Rulemaking Group to Negotiate Proposed Amended Energy Conservation Standards for Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps Standards and to Discuss Certain Aspects of the Proposed Federal Test Procedure

GGAC Regional and Chapter Activities

  • ASHRAE Argentina Chapter Holds 2015 Congress on Energy Efficient Strategies in Building
  • Government of Dubai Accredits ASHRAE’s Building Energy Assessment Professional Certification for Energy Audits
  • Update on State Legislatures
  • Indiana Professional Licensing Agency Jobs Creation Committee Final Report Changes Recommendation
  • Reminder!

US Federal Activities

For additional information on federal issues, please contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE’s Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs, at [email protected].

ASHRAE Issues Action Alert to US-Based Members Encouraging Them to Contact Their US Representative to Protect the Development, Adoption, and Implementation of Standard 90.1 and the IECC from the Potentially Harmful Effects of Proposed Federal Legislation

In an effort to help educate policymakers on areas of ASHRAE’s technical expertise and better connect ASHRAE’s members these decision-makers, earlier this week the Society issued an Action Alert to its US-based members respectfully encouraging them to help protect the development, adoption, and implementation of Standard 90.1 and the IECC from the potentially harmful effects of proposed Federal legislation by contacting their Representative in the US House of Representatives. Below is the text of the Alert, which contains instructions for taking action.

Dear ASHRAE Member,

ASHRAE respectfully requests your help and voice to protect the development, adoption, and implementation of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1 Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) from the potentially harmful effects of proposed Federal legislation.

Take action by clicking here or visiting https://account.votility.com/enterprise/ASHRAE/ec/126  

The US House of Representatives is currently developing comprehensive energy legislation that could include language from the Energy Savings and Building Efficiency Act (H.R.1273, commonly known as “Blackburn-Schrader”) that would likely limit the technical assistance that the US Department of Energy (DOE) currently provides, upon request, to ASHRAE, the International Code Council, States, and Indian tribes for the development, adoption, and implementation of Standard 90.1 and the IECC.

This language would also prohibit the Federal government from funding actions by DOE or States to advocate, promote, or discourage the adoption of a particular building energy code, code provision, or energy saving target to a State or Indian tribe; or funding private third parties or non-governmental organizations that engage in this type of advocacy. This is very broad language that could have far-ranging implications. For instance, DOE could be prohibited from providing funds to ASHRAE Chapters that provide training, education, and related activities to State and local code officials or other policymakers on Standard 90.1.

Taken together, the possible provisions in this legislation threaten to reduce understanding of the potential full impacts of the consensus-based model building energy codes.

ASHRAE’s leadership believes that more information is needed, not less. As a result, I strongly encourage you to contact your US House Representative and urge them to protect model building energy codes by opposing the inclusion of language from H.R.1273 in any bill in the US House of Representatives.

For your convenience, ASHRAE has provided a suggested letter to send to your US Representative. Please take action by clicking here or visitinghttps://account.votility.com/enterprise/ASHRAE/ec/126  

Thank you in advance for your time and efforts to protect the development, adoption, and implementation of 90.1 and the IECC.

Sincerely,

David Underwood

ASHRAE President 2015-16

 

House Subcommittee Approves Comprehensive Energy Legislation

This week the US House Energy and Power Subcommittee of the Energy & Commerce Committee unanimously approved a new draft of a comprehensive energy bill. Significantly, the new draft does not include the potentially harmful building energy codes language from H.R.1273 that was included in previous versions of the legislation. While it is expected that this language will be offered as an amendment when the draft bill is marked-up by the full Committee or considered on the House floor, the removal of this language marks a major milestone for ASHRAE and our allies, and is proof of our effectiveness in educating Members of Congress on the likely pitfalls of such language.

Full information on the Subcommittee’s consideration of the draft bill, including legislative text, video, and opening statements by leadership can be found by clicking here.

 

Senate Committee Leaders Take Major Step Forward in Unveiling the Bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act

On Wednesday, July 22, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) unveiled their new comprehensive energy bill called the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015. This 357-page bill is the product of months of listening sessions with a wide range of stakeholder organizations (including ASHRAE), four hearings, and careful negotiations. The legislation is divided into five areas:

Title I – Efficiency: Includes building energy codes (using ASHRAE’s preferred language), energy and water conservation for multifamily buildings, coordination of retrofits for schools, establishes building training and assessment centers, improved data center energy efficiency, smart building acceleration, and many other areas.

Title II – Infrastructure: Addresses cybersecurity threats, enhanced grid security, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, export of liquefied natural gas, energy storage, and other areas.

Title III – Supply: Provides for hydropower regulatory improvements, extends hydroelectric production and efficiency incentives, authorizes additional research on geothermal energy technologies, provides research assistance for the development of biopower and bioheat projects, identifies and quantifies critical mineral resources throughout the US, and other areas.

Title IV – Accountability: Establishes an Interagency Coordination Committee to identify all relevant energy-water nexus activities across the Federal government and enhance coordination, establishes a Smart Energy and Water Efficiency Pilot Program at DOE, reauthorizes the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), supports access of small business concerns to National Laboratories, authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to establish a computerized inventory of buildings and other real property, establishes a Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force, creates an E-prize Competition Pilot Program to implement sustainable community energy solutions that seek to reduce energy costs through increased efficiency and technology innovation in high-cost regions, and addresses many other areas.

Title V – Conservation Reauthorization: Permanently reauthorizes the Historic Preservation Fund, and creates a new National Park Maintenance and Revitalization Fund.

The Energy Policy Modernization Act will be marked-up on Tuesday, July 28 by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Full information on the Energy Policy Modernization Act, including a section-by-section summary, one-pager, and full bill text, can be found by clicking here.

 

Senate Finance Committee Approves Two-Year Extension of Buildings-Related Tax Incentives

This past Tuesday (7/21), the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation extending the Energy-Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction (179D) for two years – one retroactively and one proactively. The Committee also approved an expansion of the 179D allocation to include nonprofit organizations. Additional information on this legislation can be found by clicking here.

While the prospects of this bill are promising, beyond the extenders, the future of tax reform in Congress is uncertain. With a number of complex and highly controversial issues to work through, it is unlikely that a comprehensive tax reform bill will make it to the President’s desk this year.

 

DOE Issues Final Rule on Energy Conservation Standards for Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners

The US Department of Energy has issued a final rule adopting amended energy conservation standards for packaged terminal air conditioners (PTACs) equivalent to the PTAC standards in Standard 90.1-2013. DOE is not amending the current energy conservation standards for packaged terminal heat pumps (PTHPs), which are already equivalent to the PTHP standards in Standard 90.1-2013. DOE has determined that adoption of PTAC and PTHP standards more stringent than Standard 90.1-2013 is not economically justified.

Full information can be found by clicking here.

 

DOE’s Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC) Announces Meetings

DOE’s ASRAC has announced several upcoming meetings:

Full information can be found by clicking here.

 

DOE Issues Final Rule Amending Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedures for Commercial Heating, Air Conditioning, and Water Heating Equipment

DOE has issued a final rule mending its energy conservation standards for small three-phase commercial air-cooled air conditioners (single package only) and heat pumps (single package and split system) less than 65,000 Btu/h; water-source heat pumps; and commercial oil-fired storage water heaters. Most notably, the levels DOE is adopting are the same as the efficiency levels specified in ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013. DOE has determined that the ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013 efficiency levels for the equipment types listed above are more stringent than existing Federal energy conservation standards and will result in economic and energy savings compared existing energy conservation standards. Furthermore, DOE has concluded that clear and convincing evidence does not exist that would justify more-stringent standard levels than the efficiency levels in ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013 for any of the equipment classes. DOE has also determined that the standards for small three-phase commercial air-cooled air conditioners (split system) do not need to be amended. DOE is also updating the current Federal test procedure for commercial warm-air furnaces to incorporate by reference the most current version of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z21.47, Gas-fired central furnaces, specified in ASHRAE Standard 90.1, and the most current version of ASHRAE 103, Method of Testing for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency of Residential Central Furnaces and Boilers.

Full information can be found by clicking here.

 

DOE Proposes Rule on Energy Conservation Standards for Commercial Prerinse Spray Valves

DOE has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that proposes to amended energy conservation standards for commercial prerinse spray valves. ASHRAE Standard 12,Minimizing the Risk of Legionellosis Associated With Building Water Systems, is discussed in this rulemaking.

DOE will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, July 28, 2015. The meeting will also be broadcast as a webinar.

Comments are due by September 8, 2015.

Full information can be found by clicking here.

 

DOE Announces Intent to Establish Negotiated Rulemaking Group to Negotiate Proposed Amended Energy Conservation Standards for Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps Standards and to Discuss Certain Aspects of the Proposed Federal Test Procedure

DOE has announced its intent to establish a negotiated rulemaking working group under the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC) in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and the Negotiated Rulemaking Act (NRA) to negotiate proposed amended energy conservation standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps standards and to discuss certain aspects of the proposed Federal test procedure. The purpose of the working group will be to discuss and, if possible, reach consensus on a proposed rule for amended energy conservation standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps and provide recommendations to DOE regarding certain aspects of the proposed test procedure, as authorized by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975, as amended. The working group will consist of representatives of parties having a defined stake in the outcome of the proposed standards and amended test procedure, and will consult as appropriate with a range of experts on technical issues. The working group is expected to make a concerted effort to negotiate a final term sheet by December 31, 2015 and no extensions will be considered.

DOE will host a public meeting and webinar on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Washington, DC.

Full information can be found by clicking here.

 

GGAC Regional and Chapter Activities

For additional information on state, local, and international government affairs, please contact Jim Scarborough, ASHRAE’s Manager of Grassroots Government Affairs, at[email protected].

ASHRAE Argentina Chapter Holds 2015 Congress on Energy Efficient Strategies in Buildings

The ASHRAE Argentina Chapter held its first Annual Congress on May 14 dedicated to presenting the most topical issues in the world of HVAC&R. Under the title "Strategies for Energy Efficiency in Buildings," the focus was on the importance of energy efficiency, along with renewable energy, presented not only to deepen commitment to sustainability but also to reduce the high costs of imported traditional energy resources. With a total of more than 300 registered, nine presentations were given by leading specialists from different countries. Among the presenters were Chair of CTTC, Pablo Espino, who was the coordinator and presenter of the speakers and Dr. Eduardo Conghos, who spoke on legislative energy efficiency projects in buildings. Also attendance from the United States and presenting were Ross Montgomery, former ASHRAE BOD Vice President, and Jennifer Isenbeck, Region XII DRC.

For more information on the work of the ASHRAE Argentina Chapter, please click here.

 

Government of Dubai Accredits ASHRAE’s Building Energy Assessment Professional Certification for Energy Audits

The Government of Dubai (United Arab Emirates) recently announced that ASHRAE’s Building Energy Assessment Professional certification has been accredited for the performance of energy audits. The Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 sets ambitious targets to improve energy efficiency by 30% in the Emirate by 2030. It is supported by a demand side management (DSM) strategy which is overseen by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy. Audits carried out under the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy’s “Directive on Energy & Water Efficiency of Buildings for Government Entities in Dubai” will be performed by audit firms accredited under this scheme. Audit firms will be retained to carry out these audits and each audit will have to bear the signature of an auditor meeting the qualification requirements of this scheme.

For more information, please click here.

 

Update on State Legislatures

Lawmakers in Maine adjourned an extended and contentious regular session on July 16 after preserving Governor Paul LePage’s (R) veto of a measure to limit the Governor’s control over land conservation bonds. However, the legislature refused, with the backing of Attorney General Janet Mills (D), to acknowledge 65 other vetoes, claiming that the governor missed the 10-day veto deadline. Governor LePage does not possess a pocket veto so his lack of signature on a bill does not stop it from becoming law. The Governor contends he did not miss the 10-day veto deadline so the matter is likely to be resolved by the Supreme Judicial Court. In all, Governor LePage vetoed a record 170 bills this legislative session, admitting that these vetoes were in retribution for the legislature rejecting his policy initiatives. 

With the session in Maine adjourning, only nine States are still in session with six of those (Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) essentially being full-time legislatures. Only Illinois, New Hampshire and North Carolina are still struggling to end their sessions, which were projected to have ended weeks ago. In each State, budget issues are yet to be resolved so no final adjournment date is known for these three. 

However, budget issues in other States still arise even though legislative sessions have ended. A flurry of special sessions leave open the possibility that other legislation could be considered, some of which could be of interest to ASHRAE. Further updates on which States hold special sessions and on the topics likely to be covered in those States will be covered in future editions of the Update.

 

Indiana Professional Licensing Agency Jobs Creation Committee Final Report Changes Recommendation

In its final report issued to the legislature on July 1, the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency Jobs Creation Committee altered its recommendation regarding the State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers. In the June 17 DRAFT report, the Committee had recommended elimination of the licensing board. However, the final report does not make that recommendation. Rather it states “[t]he Jobs Creation Committee voted to recommend changes to the regulatory structure of the State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and the licenses it issues. As such, and pursuant to IC 25-1-16-14, the JCC shall seek public input regarding these proposed changes at a future public meeting. The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency will submit an addendum to this report upon receipt of the JCC’s final recommendations.” The report does not list what that recommended regulatory changes are, so it will be necessary to continue monitoring this until the recommendations are issued. 

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