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ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 7/22/2016

US Federal Legislative & Regulatory Activities

  • White House Announces New “Clean Energy Savings for All Americans” Initiative – Includes Energy Conservation
  • DOE Seeks Nominations for their Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC)
  • Public Comment Sought on DOE Draft Outline for Proposed Joint US-Canadian Electric Grid Strategy
  • GSA Solicits Nominations for Green Building Advisory Committee
  • EPA Offers US Map Highlighting Utilities that Provide Benchmarking Data

GGAC Regional and Chapter Activities

  • Minnesota Publishes Proposed Rule on Radon Licensure
  • New York State Legionella Rules Take Effect
  • Ohio Schedules Public Hearing to Update Commercial Energy Code
  • 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].

White House Announces New “Clean Energy Savings for All Americans” Initiative – Includes Energy Conservation

This week the White House announced new actions the Federal government is taking in an effort to dramatically increase the use of solar and support greater energy efficiency in the built environment. Highlights from this extensive announcement include:

  • The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) are releasing new guidance on residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing that explains how PACE can be used with VA-insured mortgages and with properties purchased or refinanced with Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance. The guidance also provides clarity on the relationship between the PACE assessment’s lien and payment of the mortgage.
  • The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Building Home Energy Information Accelerator is working with partners on including energy efficiency into appraisals and real estate transactions, and to provide related training to appraisers.
  • DOE, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), HUD, and White House will convene a series of Clean Energy Savings for All Summits throughout the US, which will include discussions for how to deploy energy efficiency in local communities, especially those that are low-income.

For additional information on this announcement, please click here.

 

DOE Seeks Nominations for their Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC)

The US Department of Energy’s Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC) is seeking nominations for membership. ASRAC provides DOE and interested parties with an opportunity to use negotiated rulemaking to reach data-driven consensus on establishing energy efficiency standards.

Completed nominations are due on August 10, 2016. For additional information on this solicitation, please click here. Additional background, a list of current members, and related materials on ASRAC can be found here.

 

Public Comment Sought on DOE Draft Outline for Proposed Joint US-Canadian Electric Grid Strategy

The US Department of Energy has requested feedback from the public on the proposed scope and content of the Joint US-Canadian Electric Grid Strategy. As indicated in the Federal Register notice, DOE is specifically seeking comment on the following:

“(1) Suggestions for how best to describe the cyber and physical risks to electric grid systems, as well as ways to address and mitigate those risks; (2) suggestions for ensuring that the outlined strategic goals and objectives are at the appropriate level for a joint U.S.-Canadian strategy; (3) suggestions for actions under the proposed joint strategy that Federal departments and agencies should take to make the grid more secure and resilient; (4) suggestions for new ways to secure the future grid across North America, as outlined in the final section; and (5) suggestions for timelines to use when considering future planning and investment opportunities.”

Comments are due on or before August 10, 2016. For additional information on this notice, please click here.

 

GSA Solicits Nominations for Green Building Advisory Committee

The US General Services Administration (GSA) is seeking nominations for their Green Building Advisory Committee (GBAC), which provides advice and recommendations to GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings to catalyze the sustainability of Federal buildings.

To view the solicitation for nominations please click here. For additional information on GBAC, including a list of current members, please click here.

 

EPA Offers US Map Highlighting Utilities that Provide Benchmarking Data

The US Environmental Protection Agency recently unveiled a new webpage with an interactive map of the United States to help identify utilities that provide benchmarking data. This map shows the service territories of those utilities and may be used by entering a Zip Code to determine if that data is available in any of the 50 states. To find out if your utility provides benchmarking data, please click 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].

Minnesota Publishes Proposed Rule on Radon Licensure

The Minnesota State Register, published July 18, 2016, gives notice that the Minnesota Department of Health requests comments on its possible rules governing licensing of radon professionals. The State is publishing this second request because the 2016 Minnesota Legislature amended the Radon Licensing Act. The Minnesota Department of Health is required to “adopt rules establishing licensure requirements and work standards relating to indoor radon in dwellings and other buildings, with the exception of newly constructed Minnesota homes.” 

The full rule is found by clicking here.

Public comment is open for 60 days, or until September 16. Written comments, questions, requests to receive a draft of the rules or requests for more information on these possible rules should be directed to:

Joshua Kerber at Minnesota Department of Health, Indoor Air Unit,

Telephone: (651) 201-5613, or

Email: [email protected]

 

New York State Legionella Rules Take Effect

The New York State Department of Health has announced that its new rules aimed to prevent legionella have gone into effect. The primary focus of these new regulations is on the cooling towers, which now must be registered and tested for legionella. These new rules came after an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease last summer in New York City in which 16 people died.

For more information please click here

 

Ohio Schedules Public Hearing to Update Commercial Energy Code

The Ohio Department of Commerce issued, on July 19, 2016, a Notice of Public Hearing scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 19, 2016 to solicit public input on revisions to the State’s energy code. The proposal is to update the commercial energy conservation code from ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007 to 90.1-2010 with amendments and to update the commercial energy conservation standard ICC IECC from the 2009 edition to the 2012 edition with amendments.

The full text of the public hearing draft containing the proposed rules can be viewed on the Board’s website at http://www.com.ohio.gov/dico/bbs. The rule filing can be viewed on the Register of Ohio at http://www.registerofohio.state.oh.us. The August 19th public hearing will be held in Hearing Room #1, at 6606 Tussing Road, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, 43068. 

 

Legislative Updates

With the adjournment of legislatures in Delaware and North Carolina, most legislatures are now out of session until next year, save the few that are full-time. Additionally, a few special sessions have arisen to consider various matters. Here is a synopsis of activity over the past two weeks.

  • Alaska – lawmakers convened and adjourned their fifth special session of the two-year legislative cycle while failing to consider Governor Bill Walker’s (I) proposed three percent statewide sales tax and two oil-tax increases to reduce the projected $3.2 billion deficit. Governor Walker also introduced a measure with tax increases on several items including motor fuel.
  • Delaware – Legislators adjourned the 2016 regular session on July 1 after approving a $4.1 billion budget. Governor Jack Markell (D) has signed the budget bills into law. The governor has until July 31 to sign or veto legislation that reaches his desk.
  • North Carolina – lawmakers adjourned the 2016 regular session on July 1 after approving a $22.3 billion budget. As the session ended, lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement on regulatory reform, which could have included various changes to codes and other issues of interest to ASHRAE. Governor Pat McCrory (R), who does not possess a pocket veto, has until July 31 to sign or veto legislation that reaches his desk.
  • North Dakota – Governor Jack Dalrymple (R) is calling lawmakers back to the capitol, tentatively set for August 2-5, for a special session to close a budget deficit projected at approximately $310 million. Much of the shortfall is a result of declining sales tax collections tied to energy production. North Dakota is one of four states that did not have a regularly scheduled legislative session this calendar year.  

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