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ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 1/2/2015

Federal Activities

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

 

ASHRAE’s Government Affairs in 2014: A Year of Many Accomplishments with Much to Look Forward to in 2015

When it comes to government affairs, this past year has been one of ASHRAE’s busiest on record, and a big thanks goes out to all of the volunteers, staff, and friends in other associations that have helped make 2014 so successful. The Society has used its vast volunteer-developed and driven technical expertise to help policymakers at all levels of government craft better legislation and regulations by informing them of the great work of our members, including our standards, guidelines, professional certifications, research, publications, conferences, and related activities. We’ve played key roles on many bills that were considered, passed, and in some cases, signed into law. The Society has also commented on several proposed federal rulemakings and information requests.

The work of the new (114th) Congress is already underway, with the first 100 days promising to be especially busy. At the same time, federal agencies will continue their rulemaking activities. Looking forward, ASHRAE is well-positioned to build on last year’s accomplishments as we seek to fulfill our mission of advancing the arts and sciences of heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigerating to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world. Together, we are shaping tomorrow’s built environment today.

Below is a snapshot of what we’ve accomplished in 2014:

  • Submitted comments on the following rulemakings:
    • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE):
      • AHRI Petition for Repeal of Final Rule for Test Procedures for Residential and Commercial Water Heaters
      • Energy Conservation Standards for Small, Large, and Very Large Air-Cooled Commercial Package Air Conditioning and Heating Equipment
      • Request for Information on Planning for the 2017 Solar Decathlon and Beyond
    • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
      • Proposed Rule for Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Generating Units
    • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
      • Updating Energy Efficiency Standard for Multifamily Homes to 90.1-2007
  • U.S. Agency for Agency for International Development (USAID):
    • Request for Information on the Partnership on Climate Data and Information on Resilient Development
  • Nominated ASHRAE Presidential Member Kent Peterson to the U.S. General Services Administration’s Green Building Advisory Committee (GBAC).
    • Kent has been accepted to another term on the GBAC.
  • Helped draft and organize NGO and Capitol Hill support for passage of the following bills:
    • Energy Efficiency Improvement Act (formerly known as the Better Buildings Act) (H.R.2126)
      • Passed by the House by a vote of 375 to 36.
      • Considered, and nearly passed by the Senate.
    • Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act (H.R.4092)
      • Passed the House by unanimous consent.
    • Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S.2074, S.2272)
      • Considered and nearly passed in the Senate, twice.
    • National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015 (H.R.3979)
      • Signed into law by President Obama.
      • Worked with several stakeholder organizations, including the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), House and Senate Armed Services Committee and Committee members to support inclusion of a reference to ICC 700 National Green Building Standard in the report for the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2015.
  • Supported the following bills during the drafting phase and/or following introduction:
    • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R.803)
      • Signed into law by President Obama.
    • Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act (H.R.2689, S.1308)
      • Passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
    • Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (H.R.540, S. 1261)
      • Incorporated into the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act (H.R.2126), which passed the House by a vote of 375 to 36.
    • A Bill To Encourage benchmarking and disclosure of energy information for commercial buildings (H.R.3820)
      • Incorporated into the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act (H.R.2126), which passed the House by a vote of 375 to 36.
  • Access to Consumer Energy Information (“E-Access”) Act (H.R.5073)
  • Property Assessment Protection Act (H.R.4285)
  • Championed a sign-on letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee in support of building energy codes and standards in the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2015.
  • Played a key role in organizing NGO and Capitol Hill opposition to building energy codes and standards language included in the report for the House Energy & Water Appropriations Bill for FY 2015.
  • Working with NAHB, energy efficiency advocacy groups, technical societies, and Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) to improve building energy codes and standards language in the Energy Savings and Building Efficiency Act (H.R.5027).
  • Submitted a floor statement for Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) on the release of the 2012 CBECS data.
  • Submitted testimony to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs for a hearing entitled “Examining Conference and Travel Spending Across the Federal Government”.
  • Sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee supporting the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act (H.R.4092).
  • Sent a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee in support of the Mechanical Insulation Installation Incentive Act (H.R.184).
  • Issued Three Action Alerts:
    • Encouraging ASHRAE members to submit comments on DOE’s notice of proposed rulemaking on energy conservation standards for small, large, and very large air-cooled commercial package air conditioning and heating equipment.
    • Encouraging ASHRAE members to support passage in the Senate of the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act (H.R.2126).
    • Encouraging ASHRAE members to support inclusion of the reference to ICC 700 in the NDAA FY 2015 (H.R.3979).

 

 

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].

 

Chicago Releases Data on First Year of Benchmarking

The City of Chicago released its first-ever energy benchmarking report from data collected under the Energy Benchmarking Ordinance. The 2014 City of Chicago Building Energy Benchmarking Report finds millions of dollars in savings are possible in the city’s largest nonresidential buildings. The findings are based on the first set of benchmarking data from 2013, provided by building owners and managers (or their representatives) who have measured, verified, and reported their energy usage.

The citywide effort included 348 of Chicago’s largest buildings, representing 260 million square feet of space and approximately 11% of citywide energy use in buildings. According to the ordinance, municipal and commercial buildings 250,000 square feet and over were required to comply by June 1, 2014; the overall compliance rate was over 90%.

Next year, residential buildings over 250,000 square feet and commercial buildings from 50,000 to 250,000 square feet will be phased in and will benchmark, verify, and report their energy use by June 1, 2015. All buildings that reported in 2014 will benchmark and report by June 1, 2015, but are not required to verify data again until 2017. 

Professionals certified by ASHRAE as Building Energy Assessment Professionals (BEAP) were included as approved providers for this new service. Information on this ASHRAE certification can be found at www.ashrae.org/BEAP.  

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