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ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 3/18/2016

US Federal Legislative & Regulatory Activities

  • US House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Improve Data Center Energy Efficiency
  • Semi-Annual Report on DOE Energy Conservation Standards Activities Submitted to Congress
  • DOE Proposes Rule on Test Procedure for Commercial Packaged Boilers ? Standards 90.1 and 155P Discussed

GGAC Regional and Chapter Activities

  • Oklahoma Chapters Host Several Grassroots Government Events
  • LaCrosse Area Chapter of ASHRAE Hosted EWeek Event for Area Eighth Graders
  • Denver Adopts Newest Energy Efficiency Standards
  • Legislative Updates

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].

US House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Improve Data Center Energy Efficiency

Despite all the political wrangling, energy efficiency is a winning, bipartisan topic of great appeal in Congress. This was on display last Monday when the US House of Representatives voted to unanimously pass the bipartisan Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (H.R.1268). Long-supported by ASHRAE, this bill would, among other things, help increase federal data center energy efficiency.

?Today, the world generates more data in twelve hours than was generated in all of human history prior to 2003,? said the bill?s leading Democratic sponsor, Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA-18). ?This data must be stored and processed at data centers which are the backbone of the 21st century economy but can be highly energy inefficient. My legislation saves the federal government energy and taxpayer dollars by requiring the use of energy efficient and energy saving technologies, specifically in federal data centers. I?m pleased to see this important policy once again pass the House, and I look forward to its swift consideration in the Senate.?

To view floor debate of the bill?s passage, please click here.

The text of the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act has wide support in Congress, as it is included in the larger House and Senate energy bills, H.R.8 and S.2012.

 

Semi-Annual Report on DOE Energy Conservation Standards Activities Submitted to Congress

The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued its semi-annual report to Congress, summarizing the Department?s energy conservation standards activities. Since its last report, DOE finalized 16 rules and took 20 other related rulemaking actions. Many of these activities have been reported in previous editions of the Government Affairs Update.

The report can be found by clicking here.

 

DOE Proposes Rule on Test Procedure for Commercial Packaged Boilers ? Standards 90.1 and 155P Discussed

DOE is proposing to amend the test procedure and applicable definitions for commercial packaged boilers by incorporating by reference certain sections of ANSI/AHRI Standard 1500-2015 Performance Rating of Commercial Space Heating Boilers. DOE also proposes to adopt the minimum pipe insulation thickness and conductivity requirements in Standard 90.1-2013, Table 6.8.3-1. DOE believes these requirements would be more representative of insulation requirements for outlet piping used in most commercial applications.

While the Department considered adopting, when published, Standard 155P Method of Testing for Rating Commercial Space Heating Boiler Systems, as suggested by AHRI and others, DOE will not do so at this time in part due to its statutory deadline to reevaluate the test procedure for commercial packaged boilers no later than July 22, 2016. DOE will monitor developments related to Standard 155P and may consider incorporation of the standard into a future test procedure rulemaking.

Comments on the proposed rule are due to DOE no later than May 31, 2016. The Department will hold a public in-person meeting in Washington, DC that will also be broadcast as a webinar on April 4, 2016. Full information on the rulemaking and meeting 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].

Oklahoma Chapters Host Several Grassroots Government Events

In January, the Northeastern Oklahoma Chapter hosted OK Secretary of Energy Michael Teague, State Representative David Brumbaugh (who is a long-time ASHRAE member), ASHRAE President-Elect Tim Wentz, and Region VIII GGAC RVC Dan Merkel. This meeting, with 75 in attendance, topped attendance records for the Chapter.  Secretary Teague spoke about current energy issues impacting the state and how he, as the first Secretary of that new department, and his staff continue to develop energy policies for Oklahoma. President-Elect Wentz spoke from the Society?s perspective on several public policy documents published on the ASHRAE website, namely, the need for improved building efficiency standards and for further science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education efforts at the state and municipal level. Finally, the Secretary spoke to those issues, and then the floor was opened for questions from the audience.

Additionally, on March 10, the NE OK Chapter and the Central OK Chapter held their second annual ?Day on the Hill?. Last year?s visit was more of an introductory effort, but this year the Chapters targeted specific discussions dating back to last summer when the State of Oklahoma decided to update its building codes from the 2009 IBC. The State actually jumped to the 2015 IBC, IMB, and IPC but did not include the 2015 IEC in that adoption. The State approved the update on November 1, 2015, and Tulsa and Oklahoma City (the two largest cities) adopted them on December 1, 2015. Now with Secretary Teague and Rep. Brumbaugh?s help, the Chapters are taking that discussion to the State level. The focus of the legislative meetings was to encourage the legislature to look at the IEC adoption, though this will not be an easy task, given the State?s 22% budget shortfall for the coming year. Spending has also been slashed in current year by 7% from budget. However, the Chapters continue to encourage the adoption of the IEC and push back against any attempts to rescind the progress made on the 2015 code update because of concerns of higher construction costs. In fact, the Chapters contend it is during these times where improved building efficiency requirements make a more solid argument in that it reduces annual operating costs.

 

LaCrosse Area Chapter of ASHRAE Hosted EWeek Event for Area Eighth Graders

Students from two middle schools near the LaCrosse Chapter learned how to write microprocessor instructions to direct a volunteer ?robot? to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches during LaCrosse Area Chapter of ASHRAE activities hosted this week at the Trane Technology Center in LaCrosse for EWeek. 

The microprocessor activity, with prizes awarded for the teams with the most complete sandwiches, was one of several activities that the students participated in. During the microprocessor activity, students drafted microprocessor instructions and a volunteer ?robot? enacted them exactly as written. Students then had an opportunity to ?de-bug? the instructions to enhance their completeness.

The goals of the event were to encourage local middle school students to consider careers in the STEM fields and teach them about the contributions that engineers make to society. The students also attended a question-and-answer session presented by engineers representing various disciplines and toured the acoustics facility located at Trane. Approximately 130 area eighth graders attended the event from various middle schools. The event was made possible by the support of 40 different volunteers from ASHRAE and IEEE, as well as support from a variety of local companies.

 

Denver Adopts Newest Energy Efficiency Standards

On March 7, the Denver City Council unanimously adopted the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), aligning the city with the latest energy efficiency standards for new buildings. It is anticipated that the new code will make both residential and commercial buildings 25% more energy efficient than under the previous code. The new building code takes full effect in six months. One particular amendment to the code adds an electric vehicle charging station to all new homes, making them EV-ready.

For additional information, please click here.  

 

Legislative Updates

There has been some significant action in several states, with some legislative sessions ending while others are just beginning. Here is information about those states, a few of which dealt with some energy issues of interest to ASHRAE:

  • Florida ? the regular session adjourned on March 11 after approving a new $82.3 billion State budget. Legislators committed a minimum of $300 million over the next 20 years to clean up the Everglades and restore natural springs. As the session ended, lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement on a $1 billion tax cut, a $250 million economic development fund, a Seminole gaming compact, and the establishment of a state Surgeon General, all of which had been requested by the Governor. Governor Rick Scott (R), who does not possess a pocket veto, has 15 days upon transmittal to sign or veto legislation that reaches his desk.
  • Indiana ? lawmakers adjourned the 2016 regular session on March 10, after approving incremental increases in the medical malpractice cap by 2018 and also approved $800 million in infrastructure improvements. Governor Mike Pence (R), who does not possess a pocket veto, has seven days upon transmittal to sign or veto legislation that reaches his desk.
  • Louisiana ? after completing a three-week special session that did little to resolve an estimated $800 million budget deficit, lawmakers returned to the Capitol on March 14 to begin the regular session. Due to legislative rules prohibiting tax increases during the second-year session, a second special session will likely be necessary in June to close the gap. In fact, most legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle believe a second special session is inevitable, but no formal plans have been made for one yet. So the uncertainty of what will happen with the State budget ? and what kind of extra taxes might be raised in June ? will dominate the Legislature for the next three months. The regular session is scheduled to adjourn June 2.
  • Minnesota? lawmakers convened the session on March 8 and are expected to consider small adjustments to the $41.5 billion State budget as well as bonding bills for infrastructure improvements, transportation and education funding, and tax cuts. The regular session must adjourn by May 23.  
  • Oregon? lawmakers adjourned the 2016 session March 3 ? three days earlier than expected. During the session, legislators approved a measure to switch reliance on coal to renewable energy sources, and a package of bills to alleviate the State?s housing crisis. The renewable energy bill that passed will require Oregon to stop getting electricity from coal by 2040. It also requires the State to get at least 50% of its power from renewable energy. Governor Kate Brown (D), who does not possess a pocket veto, has until April 11 to sign or veto the remaining legislation that reached her desk.
  • Utah? legislators adjourned this year?s session on March 10 after approving additional a $14.7 billion budget that increases education funding and asserts State ownership of Federal lands. Legislators also approved a limited Medicaid expansion program, as well as funding for a coal port and future water pipeline projects. The coal port legislation invests $53 million of state funds to develop a port in Oakland, CA that would ship Utah coal to China and other countries. While this legislation drew strong opposition from environmental groups and a California lawmaker, it ultimately passed. Governor Gary Herbert (R) ? who does not possess a pocket veto ? has until March 30 to sign or veto legislation that reaches his desk. 
  • Virginia ? State legislators adjourned the regular session on March 11, one day early, after approving a new $105 billion biennial budget that grants State employees and higher education faculty a three-percent raise, as well as a 2% raise for other teachers. Legislators also approved increased education funding and, economic development measures. The General Assembly will reconvene on April 20 to consider Governor Terry McAuliffe?s (D) vetoes and other final considerations.
  • Washington? lawmakers in Washington State ended their Session on March 10 without a final agreement on a supplemental State budget, prompting Governor Jay Inslee (D) to call a special session immediately to resolve the issues. The Governor vetoed several bills sent to his desk, including legislation relating to wholesale vehicle dealers, pharmacy assistants, fire-sprinkler systems, and industrial hemp. The Governor actually signed several other bills deemed vital to State interests, including measures to combat human trafficking, enhance penalties for vehicular homicide, and protect employment rights for National Guard personnel. Governor Inslee indicated that the special session should only last for a few days. He has until April 2 to sign or veto the remaining bills from the regular session that reach his desk.
  • West Virginia? the 2016 regular session ended March 12 without a final agreement on a new $4.3 billion State budget, prompting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) to call an extended budget session to resolve the impasse. However, Governor Tomblin indicated that the extended session will not likely resolve the outstanding appropriations issues, and that an additional future special session will be needed. That was, indeed, what occurred, as lawmakers adjourned the Extended Budget Session on March 15 after failing to reach a final agreement on the new State budget. Legislators will return to the capitol for a special session, likely later this spring, to close an estimated $238.8 million deficit and resolve the impasse when the budget shortfall was then predicted to be $92.4 million larger than had been projected in January. Legislators refused to consider any tax increases and that, coupled with the downturn in coal production and plunging natural gas prices also have begun dragging down State personal income tax and sales tax collections ? the two largest components of State revenue. The Governor, who does not possess a pocket veto, has until March 30 to sign or veto legislation from the regular session that reaches his desk. 
  • Wyoming? lawmakers adjourned the 2016 budget session on March 4 after approving a new $3 billion biennial budget and addressed a $465 million deficit from declining petroleum prices. The 20-day session prevented much else from being approved. The spending plan defunded $2.2 million in State funding for a program that helps residents pay their heating and energy bills. Governor Matt Mead (R), who does not possess a pocket veto, has until March 22 to sign or veto the remaining legislation that reached his desk.

    US Federal Legislative & Regulatory Activities

    • US House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Improve Data Center Energy Efficiency
    • Semi-Annual Report on DOE Energy Conservation Standards Activities Submitted to Congress
    • DOE Proposes Rule on Test Procedure for Commercial Packaged Boilers ? Standards 90.1 and 155P Discussed

    GGAC Regional and Chapter Activities

    • Oklahoma Chapters Host Several Grassroots Government Events
    • LaCrosse Area Chapter of ASHRAE Hosted EWeek Event for Area Eighth Graders
    • Denver Adopts Newest Energy Efficiency Standards
    • Legislative Updates

    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].

    US House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Improve Data Center Energy Efficiency

    Despite all the political wrangling, energy efficiency is a winning, bipartisan topic of great appeal in Congress. This was on display last Monday when the US House of Representatives voted to unanimously pass the bipartisan Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (H.R.1268). Long-supported by ASHRAE, this bill would, among other things, help increase federal data center energy efficiency.

    ?Today, the world generates more data in twelve hours than was generated in all of human history prior to 2003,? said the bill?s leading Democratic sponsor, Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA-18). ?This data must be stored and processed at data centers which are the backbone of the 21st century economy but can be highly energy inefficient. My legislation saves the federal government energy and taxpayer dollars by requiring the use of energy efficient and energy saving technologies, specifically in federal data centers. I?m pleased to see this important policy once again pass the House, and I look forward to its swift consideration in the Senate.?

    To view floor debate of the bill?s passage, please click here.

    The text of the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act has wide support in Congress, as it is included in the larger House and Senate energy bills, H.R.8 and S.2012.

     

    Semi-Annual Report on DOE Energy Conservation Standards Activities Submitted to Congress

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued its semi-annual report to Congress, summarizing the Department?s energy conservation standards activities. Since its last report, DOE finalized 16 rules and took 20 other related rulemaking actions. Many of these activities have been reported in previous editions of the Government Affairs Update.

    The report can be found by clicking here.

     

    DOE Proposes Rule on Test Procedure for Commercial Packaged Boilers ? Standards 90.1 and 155P Discussed

    DOE is proposing to amend the test procedure and applicable definitions for commercial packaged boilers by incorporating by reference certain sections of ANSI/AHRI Standard 1500-2015 Performance Rating of Commercial Space Heating Boilers. DOE also proposes to adopt the minimum pipe insulation thickness and conductivity requirements in Standard 90.1-2013, Table 6.8.3-1. DOE believes these requirements would be more representative of insulation requirements for outlet piping used in most commercial applications.

    While the Department considered adopting, when published, Standard 155P Method of Testing for Rating Commercial Space Heating Boiler Systems, as suggested by AHRI and others, DOE will not do so at this time in part due to its statutory deadline to reevaluate the test procedure for commercial packaged boilers no later than July 22, 2016. DOE will monitor developments related to Standard 155P and may consider incorporation of the standard into a future test procedure rulemaking.

    Comments on the proposed rule are due to DOE no later than May 31, 2016. The Department will hold a public in-person meeting in Washington, DC that will also be broadcast as a webinar on April 4, 2016. Full information on the rulemaking and meeting 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].

    Oklahoma Chapters Host Several Grassroots Government Events

    In January, the Northeastern Oklahoma Chapter hosted OK Secretary of Energy Michael Teague, State Representative David Brumbaugh (who is a long-time ASHRAE member), ASHRAE President-Elect Tim Wentz, and Region VIII GGAC RVC Dan Merkel. This meeting, with 75 in attendance, topped attendance records for the Chapter.  Secretary Teague spoke about current energy issues impacting the state and how he, as the first Secretary of that new department, and his staff continue to develop energy policies for Oklahoma. President-Elect Wentz spoke from the Society?s perspective on several public policy documents published on the ASHRAE website, namely, the need for improved building efficiency standards and for further science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education efforts at the state and municipal level. Finally, the Secretary spoke to those issues, and then the floor was opened for questions from the audience.

    Additionally, on March 10, the NE OK Chapter and the Central OK Chapter held their second annual ?Day on the Hill?. Last year?s visit was more of an introductory effort, but this year the Chapters targeted specific discussions dating back to last summer when the State of Oklahoma decided to update its building codes from the 2009 IBC. The State actually jumped to the 2015 IBC, IMB, and IPC but did not include the 2015 IEC in that adoption. The State approved the update on November 1, 2015, and Tulsa and Oklahoma City (the two largest cities) adopted them on December 1, 2015. Now with Secretary Teague and Rep. Brumbaugh?s help, the Chapters are taking that discussion to the State level. The focus of the legislative meetings was to encourage the legislature to look at the IEC adoption, though this will not be an easy task, given the State?s 22% budget shortfall for the coming year. Spending has also been slashed in current year by 7% from budget. However, the Chapters continue to encourage the adoption of the IEC and push back against any attempts to rescind the progress made on the 2015 code update because of concerns of higher construction costs. In fact, the Chapters contend it is during these times where improved building efficiency requirements make a more solid argument in that it reduces annual operating costs.

     

    LaCrosse Area Chapter of ASHRAE Hosted EWeek Event for Area Eighth Graders

    Students from two middle schools near the LaCrosse Chapter learned how to write microprocessor instructions to direct a volunteer ?robot? to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches during LaCrosse Area Chapter of ASHRAE activities hosted this week at the Trane Technology Center in LaCrosse for EWeek. 

    The microprocessor activity, with prizes awarded for the teams with the most complete sandwiches, was one of several activities that the students participated in. During the microprocessor activity, students drafted microprocessor instructions and a volunteer ?robot? enacted them exactly as written. Students then had an opportunity to ?de-bug? the instructions to enhance their completeness.

    The goals of the event were to encourage local middle school students to consider careers in the STEM fields and teach them about the contributions that engineers make to society. The students also attended a question-and-answer session presented by engineers representing various disciplines and toured the acoustics facility located at Trane. Approximately 130 area eighth graders attended the event from various middle schools. The event was made possible by the support of 40 different volunteers from ASHRAE and IEEE, as well as support from a variety of local companies.

     

    Denver Adopts Newest Energy Efficiency Standards

    On March 7, the Denver City Council unanimously adopted the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), aligning the city with the latest energy efficiency standards for new buildings. It is anticipated that the new code will make both residential and commercial buildings 25% more energy efficient than under the previous code. The new building code takes full effect in six months. One particular amendment to the code adds an electric vehicle charging station to all new homes, making them EV-ready.

    For additional information, please click here.  

     

    Legislative Updates

    There has been some significant action in several states, with some legislative sessions ending while others are just beginning. Here is information about those states, a few of which dealt with some energy issues of interest to ASHRAE:

    • Florida ? the regular session adjourned on March 11 after approving a new $82.3 billion State budget. Legislators committed a minimum of $300 million over the next 20 years to clean up the Everglades and restore natural springs. As the session ended, lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement on a $1 billion tax cut, a $250 million economic development fund, a Seminole gaming compact, and the establishment of a state Surgeon General, all of which had been requested by the Governor. Governor Rick Scott (R), who does not possess a pocket veto, has 15 days upon transmittal to sign or veto legislation that reaches his desk.
    • Indiana ? lawmakers adjourned the 2016 regular session on March 10, after approving incremental increases in the medical malpractice cap by 2018 and also approved $800 million in infrastructure improvements. Governor Mike Pence (R), who does not possess a pocket veto, has seven days upon transmittal to sign or veto legislation that reaches his desk.
    • Louisiana ? after completing a three-week special session that did little to resolve an estimated $800 million budget deficit, lawmakers returned to the Capitol on March 14 to begin the regular session. Due to legislative rules prohibiting tax increases during the second-year session, a second special session will likely be necessary in June to close the gap. In fact, most legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle believe a second special session is inevitable, but no formal plans have been made for one yet. So the uncertainty of what will happen with the State budget ? and what kind of extra taxes might be raised in June ? will dominate the Legislature for the next three months. The regular session is scheduled to adjourn June 2.
    • Minnesota? lawmakers convened the session on March 8 and are expected to consider small adjustments to the $41.5 billion State budget as well as bonding bills for infrastructure improvements, transportation and education funding, and tax cuts. The regular session must adjourn by May 23.  
    • Oregon? lawmakers adjourned the 2016 session March 3 ? three days earlier than expected. During the session, legislators approved a measure to switch reliance on coal to renewable energy sources, and a package of bills to alleviate the State?s housing crisis. The renewable energy bill that passed will require Oregon to stop getting electricity from coal by 2040. It also requires the State to get at least 50% of its power from renewable energy. Governor Kate Brown (D), who does not possess a pocket veto, has until April 11 to sign or veto the remaining legislation that reached her desk.
    • Utah? legislators adjourned this year?s session on March 10 after approving additional a $14.7 billion budget that increases education funding and asserts State ownership of Federal lands. Legislators also approved a limited Medicaid expansion program, as well as funding for a coal port and future water pipeline projects. The coal port legislation invests $53 million of state funds to develop a port in Oakland, CA that would ship Utah coal to China and other countries. While this legislation drew strong opposition from environmental groups and a California lawmaker, it ultimately passed. Governor Gary Herbert (R) ? who does not possess a pocket veto ? has until March 30 to sign or veto legislation that reaches his desk. 
    • Virginia ? State legislators adjourned the regular session on March 11, one day early, after approving a new $105 billion biennial budget that grants State employees and higher education faculty a three-percent raise, as well as a 2% raise for other teachers. Legislators also approved increased education funding and, economic development measures. The General Assembly will reconvene on April 20 to consider Governor Terry McAuliffe?s (D) vetoes and other final considerations.
    • Washington? lawmakers in Washington State ended their Session on March 10 without a final agreement on a supplemental State budget, prompting Governor Jay Inslee (D) to call a special session immediately to resolve the issues. The Governor vetoed several bills sent to his desk, including legislation relating to wholesale vehicle dealers, pharmacy assistants, fire-sprinkler systems, and industrial hemp. The Governor actually signed several other bills deemed vital to State interests, including measures to combat human trafficking, enhance penalties for vehicular homicide, and protect employment rights for National Guard personnel. Governor Inslee indicated that the special session should only last for a few days. He has until April 2 to sign or veto the remaining bills from the regular session that reach his desk.
    • West Virginia? the 2016 regular session ended March 12 without a final agreement on a new $4.3 billion State budget, prompting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) to call an extended budget session to resolve the impasse. However, Governor Tomblin indicated that the extended session will not likely resolve the outstanding appropriations issues, and that an additional future special session will be needed. That was, indeed, what occurred, as lawmakers adjourned the Extended Budget Session on March 15 after failing to reach a final agreement on the new State budget. Legislators will return to the capitol for a special session, likely later this spring, to close an estimated $238.8 million deficit and resolve the impasse when the budget shortfall was then predicted to be $92.4 million larger than had been projected in January. Legislators refused to consider any tax increases and that, coupled with the downturn in coal production and plunging natural gas prices also have begun dragging down State personal income tax and sales tax collections ? the two largest components of State revenue. The Governor, who does not possess a pocket veto, has until March 30 to sign or veto legislation from the regular session that reaches his desk. 
    • Wyoming? lawmakers adjourned the 2016 budget session on March 4 after approving a new $3 billion biennial budget and addressed a $465 million deficit from declining petroleum prices. The 20-day session prevented much else from being approved. The spending plan defunded $2.2 million in State funding for a program that helps residents pay their heating and energy bills. Governor Matt Mead (R), who does not possess a pocket veto, has until March 22 to sign or veto the remaining legislation that reached his desk.

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