President Obama Issues Memo on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance
U.S. President Barack Obama sent a new memo to the heads of federal agencies and departments that establishes new goals for renewable energy and energy management practices. Of particular interest may be section 3 of the memo, “Building Performance and Energy Management”, in which agencies are required to continue installing building energy meters and sub-meters (as required by the National Energy Conservation Policy Act), install water meters where cost-effective and appropriate, enter energy and water metered data into Portfolio Manager, publicly disclose annual benchmark energy performance data through the U.S. Department of Energy’s we-based tracking system, and incorporate the Green Button data access system/program into report, data analytics and automation, and processes.
As agencies seek to implement these new and continuing requirements, ASHRAE may be able to be of assistance through our technical expertise, standards, and guidance. To this end, preliminary discussions have begun to obtain more information.
If you have any questions, please contact ASHRAE’s Government Affairs Office at WashDC@ashrae.org.
Year Set to End Without Major Energy Efficiency Bill; Policymakers Begin Looking for Alternative
Many long hours have been spent since 2011, when the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S.1392), also known as Shaheen-Portman, was first introduced, and with another year about to end without passage, some Members of Congress are becoming restive, looking for new avenues to advance energy efficiency legislation.
Despite the grumbling, at this stage, Shaheen-Portman is still the primary vehicle for energy efficiency in Congress. Yet, as supporters continue rallying behind the bill, the familiar obstacles of clearing time on the Senate’s packed schedule, and reaching an agreement on the number and nature of amendments to the bill remain. Already 120 amendments have been introduced, and since one-third of the Senate is up for reelection in 2014, more amendments are expected, as Senators seek to use Shaheen-Portman as an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to either advancing energy efficiency or taking stances on other issues important to them and their constituents – even if those issues are not immediately related to energy efficiency.
The future for Shaheen-Portman is both clear and vastly uncertain. Senators Shaheen and Portman will undoubtedly try again to pass the bill through the Senate, but a small group of Senators could keep passage from occurring – and an attempt of this nature is fairly likely. Thus, the real questions are whether the combined efforts of supportive Senators talking with their colleagues, and stakeholder groups mobilizing constituents, will be enough to convince key Senators from offering unrelated amendments that would hold-up or derail passage of the bill.
What will the New Year bring? Keep reading the Government Affairs Update and email Mark Ames, ASHRAE’s Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs, to find out.
Tax Incentives for Energy Efficiency to Expire At Years' End
Earlier this week, U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) released his latest proposal to reform the national tax code. The plan does not include an extension to the Section 179D commercial buildings tax deduction, which is set to expire at the end of 2013, and specifically suggests repealing, or allowing to expire, the following tax provisions (among others):
- 25C – residential energy efficiency
- 45L – construction of energy efficient new homes
- 45M – energy efficient appliances
A large group of stakeholders, including the National Association of State Energy Officials, are actively working with Chairman Baucus and the Finance Committee to encourage the extension and improvement of these tax provisions.
The Senate is expected to consider comprehensive tax reform next year, yet its exact course remains unclear. Chairman Baucus has announced that he will not seek reelection next year, and is expected to be nominated by President Obama to serve as the U.S. ambassador to China. This will create a temporary leadership vacuum on the Finance Committee and may be further impacted by the results of the Congressional elections in late 2014.
To view the Chairman's proposal, visit http://ow.ly/rXqoB. For additional information, you are also welcome to contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE's Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs.
New Director of DOE Energy Efficient Buildings Hub Announced
Martha Krebs has been appointed as the new Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficient Buildings (EEB) Hub. The Hub seeks to catalyze the increased use of building energy efficiency technologies, systems, and best practices through market transformation and applied research.
Krebs previously served as the Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives at the University of California (UC) at Davis Office of Research, and has also worked as science advisor for the California Energy Commission, the Deputy Executive Director for Research & Development for the Commission, and other positions.
To view the full press release on this appointment and obtain additional information on Krebs, visit http://ow.ly/rXpmQ