House & Senate Focus on Debt Issues, But Energy Not Far Off the Agenda
The U.S. House of Representatives is on recess this week, and Members were back in their districts meeting with constituents and preparing for reelection bids.
Senators were scheduled to take their turn back in their states next week, but will instead stay in Washington, DC. While the focus of the extended work period will be on addressing the nation's looming debt issues, energy legislation continues to hang close to the center of attention on Capitol Hill, and although they may not always be in the spotlight, work continues on several bills of interest to ASHRAE. Below are short summaries and updates of highlighted legislation:
Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011 (S. 1000): Would direct the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to establish goals of net zero energy buildings for new commercial and residential buildings by 2030. This would be accomplished by updating the national model building energy codes for commercial and residential buildings. ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2010 and the 2009 IECC would be the baselines for commercial and residential buildings, respectively. Under this bill, DOE would establish both aggregate and intermediate energy savings targets. If DOE determines that subsequent editions of 90.1/IECC do not meet the energy targets, DOE may request changes to the relevant standard to meet the target, taking into consideration whether DOE’s proposed changes are technically feasible and life-cycle cost-effective, construction practices, and potential costs, savings, and other benefits for consumers and building owners, including the impact on overall building ownership and operating costs.
ASHRAE/ICC would have 180 days to incorporate these changes into 90.1/IECC. If ASHRAE/ICC does not incorporate these changes, DOE would create its own code to be used as the new national model building energy code for commercial/residential buildings. Such a code would be based on 90.1/IECC, but DOE may also consider other model codes or standards.
Senators are currently working with DOE to determine if there is anything in the bill that DOE currently has the authority to do without the need for the respective provisions in S. 1000. The results of this examination are expected in the next couple of weeks, and a markup of the bill, in which amendments to the bill may be offered, may occur shortly thereafter.
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (H.R. 1540/S. 981): Passed in the Senate in late May, this bill includes a requirement for the Department of Defense (DoD) to deliver a report to Congress containing a cost-benefit analysis of adopting ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1 versus ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 for the sustainable design and development for construction and renovation of DoD buildings and structures. This report would also contain information on the energy efficiency improvements and long-term payback that would occur if DoD adopted Standard 189.1.
Standard 189.1 serves as a jurisdictional compliance option of the International Green Construction Code.
Department of Defense Energy Security Act of 2011 (H.R. 2266/S. 1204): Introduced in June, this bill contains many of the same ASHRAE-related provisions as the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. However this bill would go a step further, and require the Secretary of Defense to prescribe DoD-wide standards for the design, construction, and renovation of DoD facilities that would mandate energy efficiency standards equivalent, at a minimum, to ASHRAE Standard 189.1. These standards would go into effect by January 1, 2014.
Provisions of the Department of Defense Energy Security Act may be offered as amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act.
Practical Energy Plan Act (S. 1321): This legislation was introduced just yesterday (6/30), and would set energy targets for Standard 90.1 and the IECC, using 90.1-2007 and the 2009 IECC as the baselines for commercial and residential buildings, respectively. Similar to the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, if future versions of Standard 90.1 and the IECC do not meet the energy targets, DOE would submit amendment proposals to ASHRAE/ICC, with supporting evidence, which would enable Standard 90.1/IECC to meet the energy targets. If Standard 90.1/IECC do not incorporate these changes, and the energy targets are still unmet, DOE would establish a modified code that meets the targets.
Promoting Electric Vehicles Act of 2011 (S. 948): Would require DOE to work with ASHRAE, the International Code Council (ICC), and others to develop and publish guidance for model building codes that, taking into account Smart Grid integration, include separate circuits for publicly available electric vehicle charging infrastructure, as appropriate, in new construction and major renovations of private residences, buildings and other structures.
Guidance would also be developed for model construction permitting or inspection processes that allow for purchasers of plug-in electric vehicles to have charging infrastructure installed within one week after an installation request is submitted.
ASHRAE continues to work closely with House and Senate staff on the development and progress of the above featured and other legislation. For more information, please contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE Manager of Government Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org