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ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 1/16/2015

ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 1/16/2015

Federal Activities

  • Congressional Committee Assignments Given Out
  • Sens. Portman and Shaheen Offer Energy Efficiency Amendment to Keystone XL Pipeline Bill
  • Plans Unveiled for Reintroduction of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act
  • Rep. Sires Introduces Community Parks Revitalization Act – Promotes Green Buildings, Energy Efficiency, and Benchmarking
  • DOE Proposes Rule on Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedures for Commercial Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Water-Heating Equipment
  • DOE Seeks Feedback on Defining Zero Energy Buildings
  • DOE Issues Final Rule on Test Procedures for Direct Heating Equip & Pool Heaters
  • HUD Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee to Hold Teleconference on Multifamily Manufactured Housing

 

GGAC Regional and Chapter Activities

  • National Engineers Week is February 22-28, 2015
  • Vermont Board of Professional Engineering to Hold Public Hearing on MOE
  • Washington State Considering Additional Energy Efficiency Measures
  • City of Atlanta Considers Benchmarking Ordinance
  • ASHRAE Central Florida Chapter Supports City of Orlando’s Proposed BERDO

Federal Activities

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

 

Congressional Committee Assignments Given Out

Power in Washington flows through Chamber Leadership and committee assignments, making appointment to preferred committees one of the most important steps new or returning Members of Congress can take to best serve their constituents and build the case for reelection. Committees provide Members of Congress an opportunity to gain expertise and exert extra influence over legislation that falls within the jurisdiction of their committees. You can often predict what types of legislation a Member is interested in or will introduce based on the committees they serve on.

To view Senate committee assignments visit http://www.senate.gov/general/committee_assignments/assignments.htm

While some House committees have not yet formally determined their members, all will eventually be available at http://www.house.gov/representatives/. The committee websites themselves list their members. The director of committee websites can be found at http://www.house.gov/committees/

 

Sens. Portman and Shaheen Offer Energy Efficiency Amendment to Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

Earlier this week Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act as an amendment to the S.1, which would approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act would establish a voluntary new “Tenant Star” program that would help align the interests of commercial building owners and their tenants to increase energy efficiency while providing recognition and certification similar to the Energy Star program. The bill would also correct regulations on grid-enabled water heaters, improve federal data center energy efficiency, and require federally-leased buildings without Energy Star labels to benchmark and disclose their energy usage data.

Last year the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act passed the House by a vote of 375 to 36 and nearly passed the Senate.

Although President Barack Obama has issued a veto threat of S.1, some Senators are using the bill, which is being considered under an open rule, as an opportunity to discuss their priority issues. Congress does not currently, and is not expected to have enough votes to override the President’s veto.

 

Plans Unveiled for Reintroduction of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) plan to reintroduce their Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act sometime before March. The bill nearly passed the Senate floor twice in the past Congress. This bill is considered by many to be the single most significant energy efficiency bill in more than a decade. It is unclear what, if any changes will be made to the bill when it is reintroduced later this year.

ASHRAE has supported this bill in the past, and will evaluate the legislation when text becomes available.

 

Rep. Sires Introduces Community Parks Revitalization Act – Promotes Green Buildings, Energy Efficiency, and Benchmarking

Representative Albio Sires (D-NJ) recently introduced the Community Parks Revitalization Act (H.R. 201). This bill would authorize the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to establish a grant program that supports rebuilding, remodeling, expanding, integrating, or developing existing or building new recreational areas and facilities, including improvements in park landscapes, infrastructure, buildings, and support facilities. Priority would be given to projects that apply the LEED Green Building Guide or other sustainability benchmarks that incorporate energy efficiency components, such as energy efficient lighting and heating ventilation and air conditioning systems and apply the SITES sustainable landscape guidelines of the Sustainable Sites Initiative.

The bill has been referred to the following committees: Natural Resources; Education and the Workforce; Financial Services.

 

DOE Proposes Rule on Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedures for Commercial Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Water-Heating Equipment

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for energy conservation standards and test procedures for commercial heating, air-conditioning, and water-heating equipment. Comments are due by March 24, 2015. A public meeting and webinar will be held on February 6, 2015 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

Full information on the rulemaking and meeting is available here.

 

DOE Seeks Feedback on Defining Zero Energy Buildings

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a request for information to develop a common definition of Zero Energy Buildings. Comments are due by February 20, 2015. Full information on this notice is available here.

 

DOE Issues Final Rule on Test Procedures for Direct Heating Equip & Pool Heaters

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a final rule on test procedures for direct heating equipment and pool heaters. The rule discusses ASHRAE standards 146, 103, and 90.1. For additional information, please click here.

 

HUD Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee to Hold Teleconference on Multifamily Manufactured Housing

On February 11 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee will hold a teleconference to discuss multifamily manufactured housing. The teleconference numbers are: U.S. toll-free: 1-877-336-1829, and Access Code: 8764141. Full information is available 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].

 

National Engineers Week is February 22-28, 2015

A reminder that National Engineers Week this year is February 22-28. Chapters earn PAOE points when elected or appointed officials issue proclamations at the request of the Chapter. Any proclamations issued due to Chapter involvement should be forwarded to [email protected]. Promotional materials, including a draft proclamation with cover letter, are available on the ASHRAE GGAC webpage.

 

Vermont Board of Professional Engineering to Hold Public Hearing on MOE

The Vermont Board of Professional Engineering with hold a public hearing on Thursday, February 5, 2015 regarding the possible changing of licensing requirements in that state. There is the potential that a bill will be introduced in this session of the Vermont legislature to increase the educational requirement for some engineering professions from a bachelors to a masters. The hearing will begin at 8:30 a.m. in:

Office of Professional Regulation—City Center

89 Main Street, 3rd Floor

Montpelier, Vermont 05620-3402

For directions to the meeting, go to https://www.sec.state.vt.us/contact-information/office-locations/office-of-professional-regulation.aspx. The public is invited to attend.

 

Washington State Considering Additional Energy Efficiency Measures

On December 17, 2014, Governor Jay Inslee announced a package of additional actions to transition Washington to increased energy independence through use of clean energy, to reduce carbon pollution in Washington and to meet the statutory greenhouse gas limits adopted by the state Legislature in 2008. The proposals are based on work conducted under the Governor’s Executive Order 14-04.

Governor Inslee’s proposal has a number of components. In addition to carbon emission reduction, clean transportation, and a clean fuel standard, the package requests $60 million for the Clean Energy Fund to help research institutions, utilities and businesses develop, demonstrate and deploy new renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions. Additionally, the state Department of Commerce will work with legislators and affected parties to draft legislation to secure better energy use information for consumers, including improved utility bills and expanded commercial building energy benchmarking. Implementation of this legislation will be partially supported by U.S. Department of Energy funds provided to the West Coast states to develop expanded energy information and disclosure programs. Also included are proposals for energy efficiency in agriculture, industry and state government operations.

For more information, policy briefs and reports, please visit: http://www.governor.wa.gov/issues/climate/waleg15.aspx.

 

City of Atlanta Considers Benchmarking Ordinance

On January 7, 2014, the Atlanta City Council’s Community Development Human & Resources Committee convened to review a package of energy efficiency policies. At large, the amended ordinance is intended to increase building energy efficiency within the commercial sector. The proposed ordinance is divided into four phases: Benchmarking; Formal Report; Energy Audit; and Retro-Commissioning. Jay Perkins, Grassroots Government Activities Committee Chair for the Atlanta Chapter, was in attendance.

Benchmarking will provide a proper understanding of the baseline energy consumption for a building, and the scope will be buildings >10,000 square feet municipal-wide, and >25,000 square feet city-wide. The benchmarking of the municipal and city buildings is set for completion by April and June 2015, respectively. The benchmarking data will be combined into a transparency piece – a formal report (released online) covering the baseline energy information obtained. Under the proposed ordinance each building owner will be required to undergo an energy audit once every 10 years to drive optimal performance and highlight opportunities for improvement. As planned, retro-commissioning is to occur simultaneous with auditing with a proposed two year payback or less. Penalties for non-compliance with benchmarking, auditing or retro-commissioning will be assessed at $1,000/year – the maximum penalty allowed.

The City of Atlanta noted support for the ordinance and reiterated the thorough research and investigation that went into the proposed ordinance. During the meeting Mr. Perkins proposed a standing panel (moving forward) to oversee the implementation of the ordinance. That suggestion is being taken into consideration by the city.

 

ASHRAE Central Florida Chapter Supports City of Orlando’s Proposed BERDO

The ASHRAE Central Florida (CFL) Chapter has sent a letter of support from its Grassroots Government Activities Committee (GGAC) to the City Council of the City of Orlando regarding the city's proposed Building Energy Rating and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO). The City of Orlando was one of eleven Cities selected to be funded through the Institute of Market Transformation (IMT) and the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) City Energy Project (CEP) to develop public policy that will advance the energy efficiency markets in their respective geographic regions. 

The ASHRAE CFL Board of Governors wishes to be directly involved in the drafting of the language of the BERDO policy since there are significant ramifications to the industry from this policy. They wish to ensure that the considerations of the building technology engineering community are taken into account with any measures that go beyond the initially proposed disclosure component. They have requested that the CEP staff extend an invitation to the ASHRAE CFL Chapter to review the policy language as it is currently stated and on future discussions regarding additional mandatory benchmarking, auditing, or implementation of energy conservation measures. It is hoped the ASHRAE Building Energy Quotient (bEQ) building energy labeling program will be considered by the CEP team to be one of the paths of compliance for the "beyond ENERGYSTAR" aspects of the policy.

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