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Government Affairs Update!

 Happy Friday and welcome to ASHRAE's Government Affairs Update! Along with the Government Affairs webpage, these periodic email updates feature information on government affairs-related activities of interest to ASHRAE members and others interested in the built environment. Archives of previous updates are available from the Government Affairs webpage (

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ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 5/17/2013

  • North Carolina (Maybe) Going Wrong Way on Energy Efficiency
  • Senate Confirms Dr. Ernest Moniz as New U.S. Energy Secretary
  • Senate Likely to Take Up Energy Efficiency Bill After Memorial Day

North Carolina (Maybe) Going Wrong Way on Energy Efficiency

As we reported in the April 19 edition of the Update, several state legislatures are looking at the possibility of delaying energy standard and code cycle updates or, in some cases, pushing codes and standards to earlier versions of those standards and codes. The primary argument for these proposals is that current versions of energy efficiency codes and standards – including ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2010 – are too costly for builders to implement.

In North Carolina, the latter situation may be coming to pass. If enacted, House Bill 201 would repeal statutorily mandated adoption of the 2012 state code and revert back to the 2009 edition, which are 30 percent less efficient than the 2012 code. The 2012 code includes a requirement for commercial buildings to either comply with Standard 90.1-2010 or to be 20 percent more energy efficient than Standard 90.1-2007.

Among its many concerning characteristics, the bill would, as a representative of the American Chemistry Council put it, “cause the state to miss out on significant energy conservation and will put North Carolina in the bottom tier for states in energy efficiency.”

A call to action for North Carolina ASHRAE members: Contact Bryan Lampley, the Region IV Regional Vice Chair (RVC) on the Grassroots Government Activities Committee (GGAC), at [email protected] to get engaged and help fight this bill before it goes to Governor McCrory. Along with ASHRAE staff, he will be able to provide tools and tips on how to work with legislators to make sure this bill does not pass as it is currently written.

This is a dangerous trend that may spread to your communities, so please be on the lookout for such proposals. If one does arise, please contact Mark Wills, ASHRAE's Manager of State and Local Government Affairs, at [email protected], so connections with ASHRAE leadership – especially the Regional Vice Chairs on the Grassroots Government Activities Committee (GGAC) – can be made quickly and ASHRAE chapter and section action can follow in short order.

For more information on grassroots activities and to stay up-to-date on energy efficiency, codes and standards, and other public policy issues of interest to ASHRAE members:

Senate Confirms Dr. Ernest Moniz as New U.S. Energy Secretary

After a brief hold up, on Thursday the Senate unanimously confirmed Dr. Ernest Moniz as the new Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Dr. Moniz replaces now-former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. Additional information on Dr. Moniz's priorities and plans for DOE will be included in subsequent editions of the Government Affairs Update. In the meantime, below is a short bio of Dr. Moniz to help you understand his perspective and background:

Dr. Ernest J. Moniz is the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research at MIT, where he has served on the faculty since 1973, has focused on energy technology and policy. Dr. Moniz also serves as the Director of the MIT Energy Initiative and the MIT Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. From 1997 until January 2001, Dr. Moniz served as Under Secretary of DOE. Prior to that, he served as Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President from 1995 to 1997. In addition to his work at MIT and the Department of Energy, Dr. Moniz has served on a number of boards of directors and commissions, including the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (2009-Present), the Department of Defense Threat Reduction Advisory Committee (2010-Present), and the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (2010-2012). Dr. Moniz is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Humboldt Foundation, and the American Physical Society. In 1998, he received the Seymour Cray HPCC Industry Recognition Award for vision and leadership in advancing scientific simulation. Dr. Moniz received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in physics from Boston College and a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford University.

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

Senate Likely to Take Up Energy Efficiency Bill After Memorial Day

The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S.761) is one of the leading energy efficiency bills in Congress, and it could be considered on the Senate floor shortly after Memorial Day; however swift passage is far from assured.

As previously reported, this bipartisan bill seeks to promote greater energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings and the industrial sector by providing additional technical assistance, enhanced funding mechanisms, improved training, and related activities. The bill was introduced in the previous Congress, and similar to last time, the bill cleared the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by wide bipartisan margins, but now faces several other large hurdles that come in the form of amendments – some of them potentially quite controversial – that may be offered to the bill. The text of these amendments, and support and opposition to them are currently being worked on. Which amendments are added to the bill will likely determine its fate in the Senate and send a message of what’s politically palatable to the House, which has its own version (H.R.1616).

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

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