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Chapters Making A Difference With State Legislators

Chapters Making A Difference With State Legislators

From eSociety,  March 2017

By Jim Scarborough, Manager - Grassroots Government Affairs

Although Standard 90.1 is unparalleled in the world of energy efficiency, ASHRAE has remained somewhat unknown to elected leaders. That is undergoing a tremendous transformation thanks to the leadership of ASHRAE’s Grassroots Government Advocacy Committee (GGAC). Across the country and beyond, ASHRAE chapters are holding Day on the Hill visits to highlight to legislators the success of ASHRAE and the benefits our standards provide in human comfort, energy efficiency, and economic value.

Chapters in Oklahoma have led this effort, now holding their Third Annual Day on the Hill. Their persistence has produced great results. Oklahoma legislators now actively seek out the state ASHRAE chapters to review proposed legislation and offer advice and feedback. Legislators seek out our members! This legislative session alone, ASHRAE Chapters in Oklahoma have weighed in on at least four bills that they are following closely and all because the Chapters in Oklahoma decided to engage.

Chapters in four other states have held a Day on the Hill in their state legislatures to promote ASHRAE and raise awareness of the Society and its mission.

Georgia – Volunteers visited the office of every legislator in Georgia on February 15, distributing information on ASHRAE. ASHRAE headquarters was the staging area, and filming was done there and in front of the State Capitol for a promotional video created for GGAC use. Interviews were held with the volunteers both before and after the event to capture thoughts and feelings.

Texas –Volunteers visited the State Capitol on February 21. In addition to office visits, an Engineers Week Proclamation was approved by the Texas House, and all ASHRAE members in the House Gallery were asked to stand while the proclamation was approved. The chapters were also given space in the Capitol to set up a display about ASHRAE with posters, banners and literature. That display remained in place for a week. 

North Carolina – Volunteers visited legislative offices on February 22 providing general information literature about ASHRAE. Several volunteers made appointments go back and visit their personal legislator within the next few weeks. The NC State Legislative Building is undergoing an asbestos abatement program, making our information about indoor air/environmental quality quite timely.

Arkansas – The Arkansas Chapter in Little Rock partnered with Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) to have their "Day on the Hill" on March 14. Their day included conversations with legislators and staff before, during and after a pre-programmed luncheon. ASHRAE was part of several organizations focused around Advance Energy Applications at the capital. This allowed a focus on attendees to leverage a larger population of constituents.One special moment occurred when the Chairman of the Public Service Commission approached ASHRAE, asking about ASHRAE Standards for communications, application and integration of smart meters, and various other topics.

Discussions and planning are under way to have similar events in several other U.S. states as well as in Canada and India.

For more information on how your Chapter can organize a Day on the Hill in your legislature, contact