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ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 10/30/2015

US Federal Legislative & Regulatory Activities

  • Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) Selected as New Speaker of US House of Representatives
  • House Consideration of Energy Legislation May Have to Wait Until After Thanksgiving
  • DOE Releases Updated Methodology for Assessing Cost-Effectiveness of Building Energy Codes
  • EPA Releases Proposed Rule for Clean Power Plan Federal Backstop
  • Comment Period Reopened for DOE Proposed Rulemaking on Energy Conservation Standards for Refrigerated Beverage Vending Machines
  • Meetings Announced by DOE to Negotiate Rulemaking for Dedicated Purpose Pool Pump Energy Conservation Standards

GGAC Regional and Chapter Activities

  • Idaho Governor Appoints Director for New STEM Action Center
  • Pennsylvania Code Update
  • ASHRAE Argentina Chapter
  • New Energy Benchmarking Standards Implemented
  • State Energy Efficiency Scorecard
  • Administrative Rules Being Tracked

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].

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) Selected as New Speaker of US House of Representatives

This past Thursday, Representative Paul Ryan was elected as the new Speaker of the US House of Representatives, making him one of the most powerful Republicans in the nation, as he now plays a central role in setting the legislative agenda for the House.

Ryan comes to power during a time of conflict within the Republican Party, and will be challenged to balance the demands of its centrist and more conservative wings. Going forward, Ryan will seek to reunify his party, and will likely enjoy a short honeymoon period. The question that many are asking is what legislation will the new Speaker seek to pass during this window of good feelings?

Additional information is available at www.speaker.gov.

 

House Consideration of Energy Legislation May Have to Wait Until After Thanksgiving

Following the anticipated trend of a cramped congressional agenda, it now appears likely that House floor debate on the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015 (H.R.8) will occur sometime after Thanksgiving. As previously reported, this bill contains the harmful building energy codes language that ASHRAE and many other groups strongly oppose. The delay in consideration may be a boon, as it provides additional time to discuss our concerns with Members of Congress and reach agreement.

 

DOE Releases Updated Methodology for Assessing Cost-Effectiveness of Building Energy Codes

Earlier this month, the US Department of Energy (DOE) unveiled an updated methodology that it uses for assessing the cost-effectiveness of building energy codes. The Department relies upon this methodology in evaluating both potential code changes and entire new editions of model codes, such as the IECC Standard 90.1.

Full information can be found by clicking here.

 

EPA Releases Proposed Rule for Clean Power Plan Federal Backstop

To comply with the Clean Power Plan (CPP), States are encouraged to submit plans the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for achieving certain greenhouse gas emissions reductions for existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units. For States that do not submit an approvable plan, or who would rather not draft their own, the Agency will develop, implement, and enforce a Federal plan. Last week, EPA released a proposed Federal plan to meet the requirements of the CPP.

Comments are due on or before January 21, 2016. The proposed rule is available here; the homepage for the CPP can be found here.

 

Comment Period Reopened for DOE Proposed Rulemaking on Energy Conservation Standards for Refrigerated Beverage Vending Machines

Responding to a request from several stakeholders, DOE has reopened the comment period for its proposed rule on energy conservation standards for refrigerated beverage vending machines. The comment period is now opened through November 23, 2015.

The proposed rule discusses ASHRAE Standard 32.1-2010 Methods of Testing for Rating Vending Machines for Sealed Beverages.

Full information on the rulemaking can be found here.

 

Meetings Announced by DOE to Negotiate Rulemaking for Dedicated Purpose Pool Pump Energy Conservation Standards

DOE’s Dedicated Purpose Pool Pump Working Group will meet on the following dates to negotiate a notice of proposed rulemaking for energy conservation standards. All meetings will be held at the Department’s Forrestal Building in Washington, DC, unless otherwise noted:

  • November 12, 2015; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST; Federal Mediation & Conciliation Services, 110 City Parkway, Suite 300, Las Vegas, NV 89106
  • November 13, 2015; 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. PST; Federal Mediation & Conciliation Services, 110 City Parkway, Suite 300, Las Vegas, NV 89106
  • December 7, 2015; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST
  • December 8, 2015; 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST

Additional 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].

Idaho Governor Appoints Director for New STEM Action Center

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter (R-ID) recently announced the appointment of Angela Hemingway as the executive director of the newly created Idaho Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Action Center. The STEM Action Center was created by the 2015 Idaho Legislature to coordinate and maximize STEM-related programs and activities to strengthen Idaho’s K-career STEM pipeline, providing Idahoans with more employment opportunities in STEM fields.

For more information, please click here

 

Pennsylvania Code Update

Legislation has been introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly that would reform the code review and adoption process in that State. Pennsylvania House Bill 1645, an act to amend the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act, was referred to the House Committee on Labor and Industry on October 19. Sponsored by Representative Kate Harper (R-Montgomery), this is a bi-partisan bill that includes 15 co-sponsors from both parties.

To access the bill, please click here.

 

ASHRAE Argentina Chapter

The ASHRAE Argentina Chapter has published its quarterly newsletter. To learn about one of our Chapters in South America, please click here.

 

New Energy Benchmarking Standards Implemented

The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) has announced new energy benchmarking standards implemented across the United States.

In early October, Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) signed legislation making California first State to enact a law requiring commercial buildings to benchmark their energy use. This new law will also include large multifamily properties.Results from this benchmarking requirement will be shared publicly on an annual basis. To read more about efforts in California, please click here.

In addition to California, the City of Boulder, Colorado adopted the Boulder Building Performance Ordinance on October 20. This ordinance moves beyond voluntary programs to require actions to reduce energy use in Boulder’s commercial and industrial buildings. For more information on this new ordinance, click here

 

State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has released its 2015 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The top 10 States for energy efficiency are Massachusetts, California, Vermont, Rhode Island, Oregon, Connecticut, Maryland, Washington, and New York, with Minnesota and Illinois tied for 10th place.  Massachusetts holds the top spot for the 5th consecutive year based on the States’ commitment to energy efficiency through its Green Communities Act.

To see the interactive map and find your State, please click here.

 

Administrative Rules Being Tracked

Since Illinois is the only non-full time legislature meeting now, there is very little to add in the way of legislation. However, we are monitoring administrative rules that are being proposed around the country. If you are the RVC covering any of these States, you would have received the notice when it was sent out to ASHRAE staff in Atlanta for review and possible referral to a TC for response. Over the past few months, here is what we have been tracking:

  • Notice of rule change from the State of Washington for the States’ rules on Ventilation of Health Care Facilities, updating the reference to ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170 (from 2008 to 2013 version). 
  • Notice from New York City on intent to issue legislation that would tighten regulations on cooling towers as a result of an outbreak of legionnaires’ disease (adoption of Sections 5, 6, 7.2 of ASHRAE Standard 188).
  • Notice from the State of NY of adoption of emergency rules that would tighten regulations on cooling towards as a result of an outbreak of legionnaires’ disease (adoption of Sections 5, 6, 7.2 of ASHRAE Standard 188). The notice of proposed rulemaking for permanent rules is still to be announced.  
  • Proposal from Washington State to add ASHRAE Standard 62.2 to their rules on Mechanical Ventilation (in addition to the International Mechanical Code, which is already included).  
  • Notice from the State of Illinois on various changes to that States’ Energy Conservation Code such as the inclusion or update of references to Standard 90.1.
  • Notice from the State of Texas on updating portions of its Energy Conservation Design Standards with incorporation by reference of 90.1-2013.
  • Notice from the State of Colorado of the adoption by reference of several ASHRAE Standards (though not always the most recent version) in the updating of their rules for Public School Facility Construction.
  • Notice of proposed rules change in the State of Utah regarding building and energy code cycles (IECC)
  • The Public Utilities Commission of the State of Nevada issued notice of a proposed rule regarding that States’ energy code and incorporating by reference 90.1 “in the form most recently published by ASHRAE” (therefore not adopting a specific standard from a particular year).

Also, as a reminder, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi hold their gubernatorial elections during the off-year before the presidential election. Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia also hold off-year State legislative elections so these States will have new sessions beginning in just a few months. Elections will be held in these States within the next few weeks so there much to watch and monitor.

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