At ASHRAE’s Winter Conference last week in Dallas, opportunities for ASHRAE chapters, sections, and members to engage with policymakers in their respective jurisdictions came very much to the fore.
Perhaps most importantly, the new Grassroots Government Activities Committee (GGAC) kicked off in earnest with a training session for the Committee’s membership, which includes the incoming Regional Vice Chairs (RVCs) for Grassroots Government Activities, as well as the four-member committee executive (i.e., Chair, two Vice Chairs, Communications Coordinator). In this training, attendees discussed:
- How the GGAC fits in with the extant Society Member Services framework.
- Encouraging chapters, sections, and members to connect with policymakers in their area.
- Zeroing in on public policy concerns specific to chapters’ and sections’ respective areas.
At the end of this session, RVCs provided suggestions on what worked and what did not. These evaluations are under review and will help guide development of training provided to chapter and section leaders at upcoming Chapter Regional Conferences (CRCs).
Beyond this very targeted training, members participated in a dialogue with national energy efficiency leaders – including the Chair of the Standard 90.1 development committee (Steve Skalko) on ways in which U.S. state and federal energy policies manifest themselves in the day-to-day work of ASHRAE members. The discussion focused in large part on challenges and opportunities regarding up-to-date energy standards and codes and how ASHRAE members can best provide technical assistance and policy guidance to policymakers on energy efficiency-related measures.
Another way in which ASHRAE members may best impact public policy in their communities is by working with like-minded organizations in creating a “force multiplier” instead of acting alone on a policy “island.” ASHRAE and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which formalized an ever-growing relationship and will serve to strengthen organizational ties between us. Furthermore, this signing emphasized the opportunities available to chapters and sections in working with NASEO members in their respective states. To that end, Dub Taylor, NASEO’s Past Chair and the Director of the Texas State Energy Conservation Office, participated in the RVC training and provided guidance on how ASHRAE may best work with his organization’s members to effect constructive change in energy efficiency policy.
“ASHRAE and NASEO share common interests in buildings, government affairs, energy codes and standards,” ASHRAE President Tom Watson said. “This MOU allows us to further those interests and share information on improving the energy efficiency of buildings and systems.”
If you were in Dallas – or even if you were not – you still can have a role in these activities. Perhaps the best way to get involved is to become a chapter or section GGAC Chair. In this role, you will be part of a larger community of international advocates and technical experts – and a vital link between ASHRAE members and government decision-makers in your community. To learn more about being a GGAC Chair, please contact Mark Wills, manager of State and Local Government Affairs, at email@example.com, or 202-833-1830.
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the top Republican of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, issued a detailed plan for energy legislation in the 113th (current) Congress entitled “Energy 20/20: A Vision for American’s Energy Future.” This comprehensive, 123-page manifesto delves into energy production, conservation, technology, governance, environmental, and funding issues, laying out challenges and proposing solutions or next steps. The entire document, and in particular, the portion addressing building codes may be of interest to ASHRAE members:
“Building codes are and should be part of the discussion, but codes are only as good as their enforcement, which drops off when state and local budgets are squeezed by a weak economy,” said the report. “One thing is certain: efficiency and conservation across all sectors must be part of an all‐of‐the‐above solution. By 2020, the federal government should shift to a wholesale efficiency approach that would integrate existing ‘silos’ of efficiency measures such as building codes, lighting, and appliances so that they work as a system to increase the overall efficiency of buildings.”
Proposed next steps in energy efficiency include commissioning a review by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) of current and past funding and performance of federal energy efficiency programs, with the possibility of proposing consolidated or streamlined programs as a result.
A summary and full blueprint, along with related fact sheets and press materials can be found at http://1.usa.gov/YOT2Qn.
Frequently, interest in, and the decision to enter the field of engineering is based upon a personal connection that someone has made with someone in the profession. National Engineers Week (better known as Eweek) runs from February 17 to 23, and is a grassroots, volunteer-driven opportunity to give back to your profession and community by working with students to inspire the next generation of engineers. For more information on how to get involved, visit www.eweek.org.
Anyone criticizing the federal government for not doing much need only look to these past few weeks in which the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), General Services Administration (GSA), and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), have issued a slew of requests for public input on proposed rules, reports, and program development.
Those requests that may be of interest to ASHRAE members include:
Request for information on energy conservation standards for commercial air conditioning and heating equipment.
Comments are due by March 4, 2013.
Request for comment on a proposed rulemaking on test procedures for residential furnaces and boilers.
A public meeting will be held on March 13, 2013.
Comments are due by April 22, 2013.
Request for comment on a rulemaking on energy conservation standards for commercial and industrial pumps.
A public meeting will be held on February 20, 2013.
Comments are due by March 18, 2013.
Request for comments on a rulemaking on energy conservation standards for commercial and industrial fans and blowers.
A public meeting will be held on February 21, 2013.
Comments are due by March 18, 2013.
Request for comments on a proposed rulemaking on test procedures for measuring the energy efficiency of induction cooking tops and ranges.
A public meeting will be held on March 4, 2013.
Comments are due by April 15, 2013.
Request for information on the development of DOE’s commercial building energy asset score. The score provides information regarding the efficiency of a building’s major energy consuming systems and is intended to enable greater understanding of building performance and potential savings. DOE is developing this voluntary program as part of its effort to achieve a 20 percent improvement in the energy efficiency of commercial buildings by 2020.
Comments are due by March 11, 2013.
Request for comments on a proposed determination regarding commercial and industrial compressors as covered equipment.
Comments are due by February 28, 2013.
Request for comments on a supplemental proposed rulemaking on test procedures for residential clothes dryers.
Comments are due by March 18, 2013.
Request for information on GSA’s review and recommendation to the U.S. Secretary of Energy of a green building certification system(s) that is most likely to encourage a comprehensive and environmentally-sound approach to the certification of green federal buildings.
Comments are due by April 5, 2013.
Request for comment on the redesign of the American Housing Survey.
Comments are due by April 2, 2013.
ASHRAE is currently considering the possibility of submitting comments on these requests. Please feel free to contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE’s Manager of Federal Government Affairs, on any of these agency actions.
NIST Study Shows States Cut Costs, Reduce Emissions While Increasing Efficiency by Adopting Newer ASHRAE Commercial Building Energy Standards
A new 10-year study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reveals that by adopting the latest edition of ASHRAE Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, for commercial buildings, states can realize an average of over 22 percent in energy cost savings and reduce building-related carbon emissions by 20 percent – all while cutting building lifecycle costs by about 1 percent.
To view the press release, visit http://1.usa.gov/XWBVXZ.
The full report (which includes a four-page executive summary) can be accessed at http://1.usa.gov/XWCalR.
Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy Issues Recommendations
Earlier this week, the Alliance to Save Energy’s (ASE) Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy released its recommendations for doubling U.S. energy productivity by 2030.
Championed by Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), former New York Governor George Pataki, and industry leaders, the recommendations focus on activities such as increasing investments for energy efficiency projects in the building environment; strengthening and increasing compliance with building energy codes; and educating and engaging policymakers, consumers, and the business community on building energy efficiency through building energy disclosure, ratings, and benchmarking.
A summary and full version of the Commission’s report is available at http://bit.ly/WRZl2E.