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ASHRAE Senior Leadership Meets With D.C. Agencies, Organizations

ASHRAE Senior Leadership Meets With D.C. Agencies, Organizations

From eSociety, June 2017

For more than 10 years, ASHRAE senior leadership representatives have met with high-level government officials and federal agencies to discuss the Society’s initiatives and priorities.

This past April, four of ASHRAE’s senior officers and members of the ASHRAE staff met with representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, two divisions of the Department of Energy —the Building Technology office and the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office—and four other non-government organizations in Washington, D.C.

The non-government organizations were the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS).

The separate meetings’ discussions varied based on the groups’ interest and priorities, but a few topics were touched upon in the majority of the meetings: an energy-efficiency initiative in danger of being eliminated and Standard 90.1. The meetings also touched upon other initiatives aimed to increase energy efficiency such as Race to Zero and Solar Decathlon.

President Trump’s budget proposal recommended privatizing the EPA’s ENERGY STAR ® program—a voluntary program founded in 1992 that is focused on reducing energy consumption and pollution through energy-efficiency designations.

ENERGY STAR has saved consumers over $350 billion throughout its existence, though federal funding annually totals only about $50 million for the program. ENERGY STAR is not the only item on the chopping block. Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget includes cuts to both the EPA and DOE.

Under the President’s proposal, the EPA’s budget would be cut by 31.4% from $8.2 billion in fiscal year 2017 to $5.7 billion in fiscal year 2018. The EPA’s budget has not dipped below $6 billion since fiscal year 1990, about two years before the creation of ENERGY STAR.

The DOE’s budget would drop from $29.7 billion in fiscal year 2017 to $28 billion in fiscal year 2018, a 5.6% difference under this same proposal.

However, Congress drafts and approves the federal budget, which is then signed by the President so any proposed reductions will be thoroughly reviewed in the budget process. A number of the cuts outlined above have been met with great skepticism by members of Congress in both parties.

Encouraging Uniform Adoption of Standard 90.1
Another highly-discussed topic focused on urging states to use the most up-to-date version of Standard 90.1, known as Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, instead of using previous versions.

ASHRAE’s leaders, the government agencies and the NGOs want to develop ways to encourage states to adopt the newest version of the standards. All states are federally required to follow the most recently updated Standard 90.1, but there is no penalty if that guideline is not followed.

One of the reasons the organizations are trying to encourage states to adopt the newest version goes beyond helping all states be as energy-efficient as they can. Uniform guidelines could help industry professionals.

For example, a contractor who has projects in both Delaware and New Jersey has to work with different versions of Standard 90.1. Delaware adheres to Standard 90.1-2010 while New Jersey complies with Standard 90.1-2013, according to the DOE.

As of early June, no states have adopted Standard 90.1-2016, the newest version that was released in October, according to the DOE.

Eight states do not enforce statewide energy-energy codes or have home-rule, according to the DOE. The remaining 42 states and Washington, D.C., either comply with previous versions of Standard 90.1, state-specific codes or versions of the International Energy Conservation Code that might include amendments for Standard 90.1.

ASHRAE Senior Leadership usually meets with high-level government officials twice a year. The next meetings are scheduled for the fall.

In April, the four ASHRAE leaders were President Tim Wentz, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE; President-Elect Bjarne Olesen, Fellow Life Member ASHRAE; Treasurer Sheila Hayter, P.E., Fellow Member ASHRAE; and Vice President Ginger Scoggins, P.E., Member ASHRAE. ASHRAE Executive Vice President Jeff Littleton and Jim Scarborough, manager of Grassroots Government Affairs from the ASHRAE D.C. Government Affairs Office, also attended the meetings.