States, Local Jurisdictions, Individuals Recognized for Energy Code Compliance Excellence
This year at the International Code Council’s (ICC) Annual Conference in Atlantic City, NJ, the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) and the Global Buildings Performance Network (GBPN) proudly recognized the winners of the Standard Bearers: Excellence in Energy Code Compliance Award. This award program, in its second year, honors state and local jurisdictions and individuals who have raised compliance with energy codes and achieved energy reduction in buildings using smart, cost-effective strategies.
The winners of the 2013 Standard Bearers Award are:
Georgia Department of Community Affairs
The City of Austin, Texas
Brent Ursenbach, Salt Lake County, Utah
Energy Code Champion
The smart strategies that this year’s winners have used include leading classes, webinars, and presentations (Brent Ursenbach, Utah); bringing together diverse coalitions of stakeholders to establish a loan program for duct and envelope leakage testing equipment (Georgia Department of Community Affairs); implementing a third-party program for performance testing, and making sure all Development Review Department residential inspectors are certified to perform energy code inspections (Austin, Texas).
“This year’s winners highlight the important role that states, local jurisdictions, and individuals play in cost-effectively improving compliance with building energy codes,” said Ryan Meres, Senior Code Compliance Specialist for IMT. “By helping to improve compliance, the winners are not only reducing energy costs, but also ensuring buildings that are safer, healthier, and more resilient for their occupants.”
Read more about the winners in the IMT fact sheet.
President Obama Issues New Executive Order on Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation
Earlier this week President Barack Obama issued a new Executive Order that directs federal agencies to enhance efforts to prepare for climate change and undertake efforts to improve resiliency – including in the built environment.
Significantly, this Order establishes a new interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, which will work with federal, state, local, and tribal government agencies, the private and nonprofit sectors to identify climate change-related vulnerabilities and better coordinate efforts to cost-effectively improve climate change preparedness and resilience.
The Order also requires federal agencies to develop or continue developing, implementing, and updating Agency Adaption Plans – comprehensive plans that take into account climate change via federal agency’s operations and overall mission objectives. Each Agency Adaptation Plan must include (among other things), a description of how each agency will upgrade its current buildings and equipment (including possible relocation) and the construction of new facilities to improve climate adaptation and resilience. Agencies are required to annually report on the progress of their Adaptation Plans through the Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan process, with the first update due 120 days from when this Order was issued (March 1, 2014).
ASHRAE is actively involved in climate change mitigation efforts. For additional information, please see our Climate Change Position Document (PDF) and our Public Policy Issue Brief on Climate Change and Building Energy Efficiency (PDF). You may also wish to contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE’s Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Senate Begins Process of Reauthorizing Key STEM Education, R&D Law
This past Wednesday the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee held a hearing which began the process of reauthorizing the America COMPETES Act of 2010 – one of the nation’s primary drivers of funding, research, and education related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and National Science Foundation (NSF).
During the hearing Senators and witnesses debated the federal government’s role in R&D and STEM education. Committee Chairman Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV) pointed out that the federal government continues to play a significant role in research and development, funding approximately 60% of all academic research. Similarly, witnesses and Senators explained that NSF grants help improve U.S. competitiveness by funding K-12 education programs that encourage students to pursue careers in the STEM fields. Yet other Senators noted that R&D and education are by their nature somewhat unpredictable, bringing up the question of whether the federal government should be spending taxpayer dollars on programs and initiatives where waste may occur in an era of fiscal austerity.
Additional hearings will occur in the House and Senate as the reauthorization process moves forward. ASHRAE is helping to ensure that the voice of its members is clearly heard by Congress through the Society's participation with the STEM Education Coalition, an organization of over 500 technical societies and education community stakeholder associations.
To view the archived webcast of the hearing and read the statements of Senators and witnesses, please visit http://ow.ly/qCY4f.