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ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 9/18/2015

US Federal Legislative & Regulatory Activities

  • Markup of House Energy Bill Postponed Due to Disagreements Over Climate Change, Building Energy Codes
  • DOE Reopens Comment Period for Rulemaking on Certain Air-Cooled Commercial Packaged Air Conditioning and Heating Equipment
  • Economic Impacts and Energy Savings Analysis of Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Non-Weatherized Gas Furnaces Completed by DOE
  • Meetings Announced for DOE?s Walk-In Cooler and Freezer Refrigeration Systems Working Group
  • DOE?s Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps Working Group to Meet in September and Coming Months

GGAC Regional and Chapter Activities

  • Legislative Sessions for 2016
  • Possible Ballot Initiative in Florida
  • North Carolina Budget Proposal Eliminates REITC
  • City of Austin Considers Adoption of 90.1-2013
  • ASHRAE New York Chapter Meets with Delegation from China

US Federal Legislative & Regulatory Activities

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

Markup of House Energy Bill Postponed Due to Disagreements Over Climate Change, Building Energy Codes

Earlier this week, the US House Energy & Commerce Committee suddenly put the brakes on plans to mark up the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015. This is the same bill previously referred to as the House comprehensive energy bill or Architecture of Abundance legislation. The bill contains several provisions of interest to ASHRAE members, including support for workforce development, energy efficient federal data centers, a report on the energy and water savings potential of thermal insulation, energy efficiency in schools, and energy savings performance contracting.

The decision to postpone the markup results from a failure to reach agreement between Democrats and Republicans on issues such as climate change, the federal government?s use of fossil fuels, and building energy codes. While somewhat surprising, this is likely only a speedbump, as it is widely expected that the Committee will take up the bill later this month or early next. By that time, the two Parties will either decide to proceed with a bipartisan bill that may contain more controversial amendments offered during floor debate, or Republicans will choose to charge ahead with a bill more heavily laden with their priorities.

Hope remains strong for a bipartisan bill, as it was unanimously approved in July by the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the Energy & Commerce Committee.

Additional information on the markup is available here.

 

DOE Reopens Comment Period for Rulemaking on Certain Air-Cooled Commercial Packaged Air Conditioning and Heating Equipment

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has reopened its comment period for a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) on proposed amendments to test procedures for small, large, and very large air-cooled commercial packaged air conditioning and heating equipment. DOE will now accept comments, data, and information until October 2, 2015. The original proposed rulemaking discusses ASHRAE Standard 37 Methods of Testing for Rating Unitary Air-Conditioning and Heat Pump Equipment, Standard 90.1-2013 Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, and Standard 127-2007 Method of Testing for Rating Computer and Data Processing Room Unitary Air Conditioners.

Information on the NOPR comment period extension is available here.

Information on the original NOPR (in which the references to ASHRAE publications can be found) is available here.

 

Economic Impacts and Energy Savings Analysis of Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Non-Weatherized Gas Furnaces Completed by DOE

DOE has completed a provisional analysis of the potential economic impacts and energy savings that could result from promulgating amended energy conservation standards for residential non-weatherized gas furnaces (NWGFs) that include two product classes defined by input capacity and has published the data on its webpage. DOE encourages stakeholders to provide any additional data or information that may improve the analysis.

Full information is available here.

 

Meetings Announced for DOE?s Walk-In Cooler and Freezer Refrigeration Systems Working Group

DOE?s Walk-In Cooler and Freezer Refrigeration Systems Working Group will meet to negotiate energy conservation standards on the following dates. All meetings will be held at DOE?s Forrestal Building, unless otherwise specified:

  • September 30, 2015; 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • October 1, 2015; 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • October 15, 2015; 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • October 16, 2015; 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • November 3, 2015; 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • November 4, 2015; 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • November 20, 2015; 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • December 3, 2015; 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • December 4, 2015; 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • December 14, 2015; 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • December 15, 2015; 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Full information is available here.

 

DOE?s Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps Working Group to Meet in September and Coming Months

DOE?s Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps Working Group has announced that it will meet on the following dates at DOE?s Forrestal Building, unless otherwise stated:

  • September 28-29, 2015; September 29 will be at 950 L'Enfant Plaza, 8th Floor SW, Washington, DC
  • October 13-14, 2015
  • October 26-27, 2015
  • November 18-19, 2015
  • December 1-2, 2015
  • December 16-17, 2015

Full information can be found 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].

Legislative Sessions for 2016

Listed below are the dates legislatures will convene in 2016 for all 50 states plus the United States Congress and the District of Columbia City Council. 

  • Alabama: February 2
  • Alaska: January 19
  • Arizona: January 11
  • Arkansas: April 13
  • California: January 4
  • Colorado: January 13
  • Connecticut: February 1
  • Delaware: January 12
  • Florida: January 12
  • Georgia: January 11
  • Hawaii: January 20
  • Idaho: January 11
  • Illinois: January 13
  • Indiana: November 19, 2015
  • Iowa: January 11
  • Kansas: January 11
  • Kentucky: January 5
  • Louisiana: March 14
  • Maine: January 6
  • Maryland: January 13
  • Massachusetts: January 6
  • Michigan: January 13
  • Minnesota: March 8
  • Mississippi: January 5
  • Missouri: January 6
  • Montana: No 2016 session
  • Nebraska: January 6
  • Nevada: No 2016 session
  • New Hampshire: January 6
  • New Jersey: January 13
  • New Mexico: January 19
  • New York: January 6
  • North Carolina: May 11
  • North Dakota: No 2016 session
  • Ohio: January 4
  • Oklahoma: February 1
  • Oregon: February 1
  • Pennsylvania: January 5
  • Rhode Island: January 5
  • South Carolina: January 12
  • South Dakota: January 12
  • Tennessee: January 12
  • Texas: No 2016 session
  • Utah: January 25
  • Vermont: January 5
  • Virginia: January 13
  • Washington: January 11
  • West Virginia: January 13
  • Wisconsin: January 12
  • Wyoming: February 8
  • US Congress: January 3
  • District of Columbia: January 5

 

Possible Ballot Initiative in Florida

A ballot initiative currently underway in Florida could remove the government and utilities' ability to prevent the third-party sale of solar power, potentially eliminating a significant market barrier put in place by the utilities through lobbying of the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). The measure, upon voter approval, would provide businesses and individuals with a constitutional right to produce up to two megawatts of solar power and sell that power directly to others at the same or contiguous property. At this time, only utilities can sell electricity directly to consumers, regardless of the source.

For more information on the ballot initiative, please click here.

 

North Carolina Budget Proposal Eliminates REITC

The North Carolina House and Senate released their final proposed budget on September 14. The budget proposal does not include an extension of State?s successful Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit (REITC) program. REITC has played a large role in the growth of North Carolina?s renewable energy economy, created jobs and economic investments across that state.

To view the budget bill, please click here
 

City of Austin Considers Adoption of 90.1-2013

The effort to adopt ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013 for Austin?s commercial energy code continues. Stakeholder input is being accepted and, since March, has resulted in the following two changes to the proposed language:

1.    Elimination of the automatic receptacle control requirement contained in section 8.4.2,

2.    Inclusion of National Environmental Balancing Bureau (NEBB) certification as an acceptable qualification for performance of commissioning.

The rationale for removing 8.4.2 is that a) the use of AC/DC power supplies (wall warts) has diminished in recent years in favor of higher efficiency SMPS units, and b) most of what remains plugged in and ?on? in commercial settings are computers which are required to be left that way to facilitate off-hours updates. The added cost and complexity of requiring switched receptacles is no longer seen as producing justifiable savings.

Questions and comments may be directed to Michael Husted with Austin Energy Green Building Program at [email protected]

 

ASHRAE New York Chapter Meets with Delegation from China

On August 26th ASHRAE NY members Jin Jin Huang, Charlie Marino, Jose Rodriquez, and Juan Carlos Toro met with 15 delegates from China?s Energy Conservation Centers in a meeting organized by the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO). Discussion topics included energy efficiency policies and programs in place for New York City and across the United States. The delegation was interested to learn specifics related to ASHRAE Standard 90.1 and ASHRAE?s energy audit methodology. The meeting was a success and future communications are a possibility.

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