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ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 5/2/2014

Federal Activities

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

School Energy Efficiency Bill Approved By U.S. House Committee

In a rare display of bipartisanship, earlier this week the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce unanimously approved the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act (H.R.4092). This bill would help improve energy efficiency in schools by creating an online clearinghouse to disseminate information to schools on federal programs and financing mechanisms that may be used to help initiate, develop, and finance energy efficiency, distributed generation, and energy retrofitting projects in schools. Because these efficiency projects may involve the HVAC&R systems in schools, this bill could also help improve the indoor air quality in schools, and thus result in better learning environments and reduced risks of health concerns such as asthma and airborne infectious diseases.

The Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act is a bipartisan bill that was introduced by Representative Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and is supported by over 39 other Representatives, including Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). ASHRAE and a large number of other organizations support this bill and have been active in promoting it on Capitol Hill. Earlier this year the bill’s Senate counterpart was incorporated into the new version of Shaheen-Portman (S.2262), which is considered to be the most prominent piece of Congressional energy efficiency legislation in seven years.

“This common-sense legislation will ensure that schools can more easily take advantage of energy-efficiency programs,” said Representative Cartwright. “The bill is a strategic and cost-saving investment to relieve the fiscal pressure felt by schools across the country while bringing us closer to energy security.”

“According to Energy Star, school districts spend billions on their energy bills each year, approximately $6 billion, second only to personnel costs,” continued Cartwright. “Yet, an estimated 14 million American children attend deteriorating public schools. According to a Department of Education survey, 43 percent of schools indicated that the poor condition of their facilities interferes with the delivery of instruction. Energy expenses are one of the few costs that can be reduced while at the same time improving classroom instruction.”

At present, the outlook of this bill is positive, as it is a likely candidate for passage when the House considers its next package of energy bills, which is expected later this year.

To view video highlights of the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act’s consideration in the Energy & Commerce Committee, including summary statements, please click here. For full information on the Energy & Commerce Committee’s consideration of this bill, click here.


ESPC/UESC Legislation Moves Forward in U.S. House

Energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) and utility energy service contracts (UESCs) are tools for reducing energy consumption at no cost to taxpayers, when applied to federal buildings. It was these bipartisan themes that once again resulted in the unanimous approval of legislation in the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce earlier this week.

Specifically, the Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act (H.R.2689) requires federal energy managers to consider bundling individual energy and water saving measures that may have different payback periods into combined projects. The bill also establishes a goal for the federal government to enter into ESPCs or UESCs equal to $1 billion each year for five years beginning on January 1, 2014, and requires each agency to annual report on the progress towards achieving this goal.

The Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act was introduced by Representatives Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Peter Welch (D-VT), and is supported by 52 other Representatives, as well as a number of stakeholder organizations.

“I am glad to see this energy efficiency legislation pass Committee today with unanimous consent,” said Representative Gardner. “This pro-environment, commonsense legislation utilizes public-private partnerships to create jobs, save taxpayer dollars, and reduce waste. I want to thank my colleague Peter Welch for his work on this important legislation. I look forward to H.R. 2689 being brought to the House floor for a vote.”

Similar to the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act (H.R.4092), the prospects of this legislation are positive, and it is likely that this bill will be considered on the House floor along with the Schools bill sometime this summer.

For full information on the Energy & Commerce Committee’s consideration of both the H.R.2689 and H.R.4092, please click here.


U.S. Senate Prepares for Moment of Decision on Shaheen-Portman

In many ways the last three year’s worth of work comes down to the next few weeks. The Senate is poised to resume consideration of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (commonly known as Shaheen-Portman). Earlier this week the bill was reintroduced with minor technical changes as S.2262. (For a summary of the bill see a previous edition of the Update.) While there are several obstacles that stand in the way of the bill’s consideration, perhaps the most pressing is Senator David Vitter’s (R-LA) stated desire to force the Senate to vote on ObamaCare by seeking to attach an amendmentto Shaheen-Portman, effectively using the bill as a battleground for the November mid-term elections. It was this, and related issues that derailed Shaheen-Portman when it was on the Senate floor last year, and while there is significant support for Shaheen-Portman among Republicans and Democrats alike, Senator Vitter’s amendment could halt the bill once again due to the highly partisan nature of health care reform in Congress.

If Shaheen-Portman is halted at this point, the bill may not be taken up again until 2015 for fear that Senator Vitter or others would once again block further attempts by seeking to attach amendments dealing with health care or similarly controversial issues.


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].

GGAC Power Point Presentations Available on Website

Power Point presentations have been posted on the GGAC web page. The recently updated CRC Training and the ABCs of Advocacy were used at the Region VIII CRC in late April and are available for download. To access the presentations, go to


Montgomery County, Maryland

The County Council of Montgomery County Maryland (DC suburbs) passed a benchmarking ordinance in late April making it the first county in the US to do so. Benchmarking ordinances have been implemented in a number of cities across the country such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco. The benchmarking will go into effect for county buildings in 2015 and for private buildings in 2016. ASHRAE’s Level II Audit is referenced in the bill.

It is not specified in the bill who can perform the benchmarking services but will be decided and placed in regulations yet to be written. A Benchmarking Work Group will be appointed by the County Executive composed of building owners and managers, industry trade associations, non-profit organizations, and utility companies. Their task will be to submit a report to the County Council and County Executive by September 1, 2015 with recommendations on implementing building benchmarking for privately-owned buildings, including any proposed amendments to County law.

For more information on this and other legislation passed on Earth Day, go to    



Arizona Senate Bill 1227, which would have prohibited all cities and counties in the state from adopting any energy codes, died when the legislative session adjourned.  This bill was sent as contrary to Arizona’s history as a “home rule” state. Thanks to ASHRAE’s two chapters, along with chapters and representatives of other industry organizations in Arizona, who were vocal in voicing their opposition to the bill. 


Nova Scotia, Canada

Aaron Smith, Halifax Chapter GGAC Chair, recently contacted the Building Code Coordinator for the Public Safety Division of the Nova Scotia Labour & Workforce Development Office to commend the government of Nova Scotia for adopting an energy code for commercial buildings. The Province of Nova Scotia adopted the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB) 2011 and the Halifax Chapter of ASHRAE has asked that ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1 be accepted as an alternative compliance path for the design, construction, and renovation of commercial buildings.



ASHRAE Chapter in Argentina Works with National Technological University

Representatives of the ASHRAE Argentina Chapter held a meeting of cooperation with representatives from the Universidad Tecnologica Nacional Facultad Buenos Aires, to build the foundation for future work together. This effort was led by Walter Silva, Chair of the ASHRAE Argentina Chapter and Eduardo Conghos, Chair of that Chapter’s GGAC Committee. This is being done in anticipation of the ASHRAE Congress, Sustainability and Development, to be held there on May 13-14, 2014. Common themes between the two institutions were discussed with the goal of working on these activities together throughout the year.


Manos Verdes Foundation and ASHRAE Argentina Chapter

The Fundación Manos Verdes, which aims to raise awareness in the population regarding the value and environmentally responsible use of our natural resources, met with representatives of the Argentine Chapter of ASHRAE.

Fundación Manos Verdes Executive Director Miss Verena Boheme, the head of the Chapter’s GGAC Committee, Dr. Eduardo Conghos, the holder of the Technology Transfer Committee, Mr. Esteban Baccini and the representative of the Committee on Nominations Mr Florentino Rosón Rodriguez çcoordinated the collaboration between the two institutions with the aim of disseminating information on environmental issues in Argentina for the purpose of achieving awareness of the environment.

Also, it was agreed the Fundación Manos Verdes would participate in the first ASHRAE Congress, Sustainability and Development, this year.

Fundación Manos Verdes aims to promote interdisciplinary exchange between Latin America and Europe, particularly Germany, in the environmental area, from the transfer of knowledge and environmental technologies between schools, Universities, government agencies and NGOs.


Buenos Aires Institute of Technology and ASHRAE Argentina Chapter

The Argentina Chapter of ASHRAE, through its chairman Architech Walter Silva, signed the formal support for the proposal developed by the Instituto Tecnologico Buenos Aires (ITBA) for the project “development of replicable strategies for renewal residential urban areas in Latin America: Energetically Sustainable Homes” (REINVEST).

This project provides an international scientific and technological program in Iberoamerica and it is framed within the subject area.  It aims to develop a methodology to be applied in the selection and implementation of technologies in residential buildings. This will promote the evolution of urban areas in Latin America towards energy sustainability through cooperation and knowledge transfer between the participating research groups.

The research proposal submitted will be developed by a network of researchers and technologists belonging to various Latin American Countries, among which are the professionals of the Argentina chapter of ASHRAE. This project will track their work and results, evaluating them with professionals in the field of energetic technologies.

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