Moving the Needle on Commercial Energy Efficiency Standards
On April 23rd, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed two key bills into law.
- HB1281 raises the Magnolia State’s energy efficiency bar much higher than its previous optional 1975-published standard by adopting the 2010 iteration of ASHRAE Standard 90.1, “Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings,” as its commercial energy code. This development makes Mississippi the first Southeastern state – and only the third in the U.S. – to adopt that standard for commercial buildings.
- Furthermore, HB1266 makes Standard 90.1-2010 the statewide energy standard for public facilities.
Several ASHRAE members worked very hard to encourage the state and its lawmakers to make dramatic enhancements to its building energy standards, so hats off!
Furthermore, in recent weeks, West Virginia officially adopted Standard 90.1-2007. Once it takes effect July 1, 2013, it will be the only commercial building energy standard in the Mountaineer State. To familiarize design professionals, code officials, and construction consumers with Standard 90.1 before its imminent implementation of Standard 90.1, ASHRAE’s Mountaineer Section; AIA West Virginia; AEE’s West Virginia contingent; and the state’s Energy Office offered two eight-hour workshops May 1st and May 3rd. More on these workshops will be reported in upcoming editions of Government Affairs Update.
A job well done, Mountaineer Section, in working with other stakeholders and state officials in getting this important policy work done. It is just another instance demonstrating why the efforts of Grassroots Government Activities volunteers Society-wide will be so important in the years to come.
In the April 19 edition of Government Affairs Update, the issue of building and/or energy code/standard cycle delay proposals was discussed. An important point not noted in that article was that, per ASHRAE policy, neither the Society nor its chapters or sections may endorse the adoption of any specific model code or standard. However, if a chapter or section wishes to comment in a general way about adoption of or compliance with up-to-date energy codes and code-intended standards, like ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010, that would fall within the parameters of official Society policy.
For further information on any of these items, please contact Mark Wills, ASHRAE's Manager of State and Local Government Affairs, at email@example.com.
Energy Efficiency Legislation Expected to Clear First Hurdle in Senate
The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S.761/H.R.1616), also known as Shaheen-Portman/McKinley-Welch, is set to pass its first major test in the Senate – an Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup which will occur on Wednesday, May 8th (webcast available here or here).
As previously reported, this bipartisan bill is one of the leading building energy efficiency bills in Congress, and has broad support by the building community.
During the markup, amendments will be offered to the bill and voted on. Of the possible amendments that could be offered, we are aware that the sponsors of the bill (Senators Shaheen and Portman) will submit a friendly amendment on industrial workforce skills training that will likely be adopted. Several other proposals and concept language have been circulating, and may also be offered by other Senators during the markup.
Following the reintroduction of S.761, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on this bill in late April at which Dr. Kathleen Hogan, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, testified. The archived webcast of that hearing can be viewed here.
For additional information, please contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE’s Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Healthy Schools Day Focuses Nation on Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality is a contributing factor to health and student learning. To help highlight this important issue, this past Tuesday (April 30th) was National Healthy Schools Day. Sponsored by the Healthy Schools Network, this day included a series of related events throughout the United States.
Statements of support came from a wide range of policymakers, including:
Bob Perciasepe, Acting Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency: “Protecting children’s health where they learn and play is one of EPA’s most important responsibilities. Harmful pollution in and around school environments can affect our kids’ health and the quality of their learning. That’s why National Healthy Schools Day is so important. When we send our kids to school, we should feel confident that we’re sending them to a classroom that is healthy and safe.”
Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education: “Healthy and safe facilities are a foundation that enables every student to achieve to his or her full potential, every year from preschool to career. Healthy school environments are especially vital for our youngest learners, whose health and development are the most vulnerable to contaminants, asthma triggers and other environmental health hazards.”
U.S. Senator Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee: “National Healthy Schools Day is an important reminder that we must do all we can to ensure our children have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink wherever they are. I will continue to fight any efforts to weaken the landmark environmental laws that protect the health of our children and families.”
High-Performance Building Week Starts May 14th
Organized by the High-Performance Congressional Caucus Coalition (HPBCCC), High-Performance Building Week is set to kick off a slew of Capitol Hill briefings beginning on May 14th designed to educate policymakers on the importance of the built environment and the central role that it plays in our daily lives. Events during the week include a briefing that unveils the National Institute of Building Sciences’ 2013 Consultative Council findings and recommendations; a briefing on how high-performance homes can save money while creating jobs; networking receptions with building industry stakeholders and policymakers, and other events. For the full calendar of activities, please visit the High-Performance Building Week webpage.
The HPBCCC is a private sector coalition of over 160 building community stakeholders that works with the bi-partisan High-Performance Buildings Congressional Caucus to educate federal policymakers on the importance of high-performance buildings and how to achieve and promote them.
For additional information on the HPBCCC, please contact Doug Read, ASHRAE’s Director of Government Affairs and Chairman of the Coalition, at email@example.com, and visit www.hpbccc.org.
President Obama Honors Building Safety Month
Founded by the International Code Council, Building Safety Month (celebrated every year in May) is a means of educating the public and policymakers at all levels of government on the importance of developing, adopting, and enforcing safe and efficient model building codes, and ensuring that code officials and related building industry workers receive needed training and possess up-to-date knowledge.
In honor of Building Safety Month, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation declaring May 2013 as National Building Safety Month, in which he said:
“When natural disasters and other hazards put American lives at risk, robust codes and standards for our buildings play an important role in keeping us safe. They ensure our homes and businesses are resilient to the challenges of our time—not just by making them structurally sound, but also by boosting their energy efficiency.”
“I encourage citizens, government agencies, businesses, nonprofits, and other interested groups to join in activities that raise awareness about building safety. I also call on all Americans to learn more about how they can contribute to building safety at home and in their communities.”
For additional information on Building Safety Month, including planned events and ways to get involved, visit http://ow.ly/kGfnO.