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ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 10/25/2013

ASHRAE Now Seeking College Student Applicants for Summer Public Policy & Engineering Internship in Washington, DC

Please help us spread the word to all engineering college students – ASHRAE is now seeking applications for the 2014 Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) program.

Founded in 1980 through the collaborative efforts of several professional engineering societies, WISE has become one of the premier Washington internship programs. Its goal is to groom future leaders of the engineering profession who are aware of and can contribute to the important intersections of technology and public policy.

Each year, 12 to 15 outstanding engineering students are selected in a nation-wide competition to spend nine weeks in the summer in Washington, DC. During the internship they learn how government officials make decisions on complex technological issues and how engineers can contribute to legislative and regulatory public policy decisions. The ASHRAE Government Affairs Office hosts an outstanding engineering student every summer through this program.

ASHRAE is now accepting applicants for the 2014 WISE program, which runs from June 2nd to August 1st, 2014. Applications are due by December 31, 2013. The application form is available at

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


Sen. Coburn Calls for Creation of Federal Green Buildings Czar

Pointing to an example of an opportunity to increase coordination and reduce duplication amongst federal programs, U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) called for the creation of a green buildings czar.

Clip available at

The Senators’ remarks are reminiscent of a 2011 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which found that there are 94 federal initiatives and programs implemented by 11 agencies targeted at cultivating green building.

ASHRAE Government Affairs Office staff met with Sen. Coburn’s office to explore the Senators’ comments and his possible appetite for legislation that would improve collaboration between and within federal agencies on green building issues. While in the very early stages, it appears the Senator may be interested in drafting or otherwise supporting legislation in this area.

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


Ready, Set, Wait for Landmark Energy Efficiency Bill

Demand for Senate action is building on the long-delayed Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S.1392), also known as Shaheen-Portman, yet the bill still faces a large number of formidable obstacles. Debate and votes on Shaheen-Portman could resume on the Senate floor at any moment – and likely with little prior notice. Alternatively the bill could be sidelined until next year. Standing in the bill’s way are over 100 amendments on issues related to energy efficiency, as well as those that address health care and other indirectly related topics that may be more designed to score political points. Which amendments will be voted on (including any new amendments) is currently being negotiated.

(For a backgrounder on Shaheen-Portman, see an earlier edition of the Update.)

In the meantime, a broad-based coalition of organizations and technical societies – ASHRAE included – has been meeting with the offices of Senate Republicans in an effort to increase support for the base bill and friendly amendments, such as S.Amdt.187 – the Better Buildings Act, and S.Amdt.1933, which would encourage greater energy efficiency in federal data centers. Additionally, while House leadership has clearly stated that they will wait for the Senate to pass its bill before working on their version (H.R.1616), the coalition is also meeting with House offices to increase awareness and support for the bill to prepare the House for faster action when the Senate eventually passes its bill.

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

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