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ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 11/4/11
- Faith Being Lost in Super Committee to Complete Work; Policymakers Threaten to Undo Fallback Automatic Spending Cuts
- Congress Comes Closer to Passing DOE Funding Bill for 2012 Fiscal Year
- ASHRAE and Penn State Sign MOU
- High-Performance Buildings Congressional Caucus Holds GPIC Briefing on Capitol Hill
- Washington, DC Engineering Public Policy Internship Seeks ASHRAE Student Applicants
Faith Being Lost in Super Committee to Complete Work; Policymakers Threaten to Undo Fallback Automatic Spending Cuts
The much promised – and feared – super committee (officially called the “Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction”) may follow the path of so many past deficit reduction attempts, and not amount to much after all.
Made up of House and Senate Democrats and Republicans, the super committee is charged with identifying at least $1.2 trillion in federal budget cuts over ten years, and has until November 23 to deliver recommendations and proposed legislation to Congress on how to achieve this target. Congress is then required to vote on this legislation by December 23, 2011. However, with Republicans and Democrats seemingly unable to reach compromise over revenue increases (such as taxes) and how much to cut defense and health care spending, it now appears likely that the Committee and Congress will fail to meet the November and December deadlines.
Unless Congress passes legislation that reduces the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion, automatic spending cuts (also known as "sequestration") are slated to start going into effect on January 2, 2013; however even this is now in doubt. A bipartisan groundswell of support is building among several House and Senate Members for legislation that would either reduce the size of the automatic cuts or eliminate them altogether, arguing that Congress should have more say over federal spending decisions.
Congress Comes Closer to Passing DOE Funding Bill for 2012 Fiscal Year
As early as next week, the Senate may seek to pass legislation that would provide funding to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), General Services Administration, and State Department for fiscal year 2012. This bill would provide $1.7 billion to DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (under which the Building Technologies, Building Energy Codes, and State Energy Programs fall), as well as $105 million for the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
EIA administers the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), and the $105 million for EIA would allow work to resume on CBECS (the last Survey is from 2003).
It is unclear what, if any amendments Senators may offer that would change these funding levels, however ASHRAE has learned that several prominent Republican and Democratic Senators do generally support this bill, as they wish to complete work on the funding bills for the 2012 fiscal year.
The federal government is currently operating under a continuing resolution (CR) that temporarily funds government programs through November 18, 2011. Congress will likely need to pass at least one more CR to give policymakers more time to come to agreement on spending priorities and pass the annual funding bills.
ASHRAE and Penn State Sign MOU
ASHRAE recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) to improve energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of buildings through the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC) for Energy-Efficient Buildings.
To view ASHRAE’s press release on this new partnership, visit http://bit.ly/vLQ9rV.
High-Performance Buildings Congressional Caucus Holds GPIC Briefing on Capitol Hill
The High-Performance Buildings Congressional Caucus held a Capitol Hill briefing on October 27 which sought to educate Members of Congress, their staff, and building community advocates on the work, goals, and purpose of the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC) for Energy-Efficient Buildings.
Below are the briefing description, speakers, and their presentation titles:
Selected last year as the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy-Efficient Building Systems Design Hub, the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC), is led by Penn State and tasked with improving energy efficiency and operability, and reducing the carbon emissions of our nation's buildings, as well as stimulating private investment and job creation. This briefing will cover the new and existing technologies that will be utilized and tested at the Hub along with program goals to transform commercial building retrofits and new construction processes across the United States and to demonstrate building operational energy savings of 50% within the next three years.
The GPIC Concept: Approach and Expectations
ENERGY STAR Product Program Manager, U.S. Department of Energy
The Science and Market Drivers Behind GPIC
Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering, Penn State University
Industrial and Economic Aspects of GPIC
Director, Sustainability at United Technologies Research Center
The GPIC/ASHRAE Partnership
Professor of Architectural Engineering and Director of the Indoor Environment Center
Penn State University
Washington, DC Engineering Public Policy Internship Seeks ASHRAE Student Applicants
ASHRAE is now accepting applications for the 2012 Washington Internship for Students of Engineering (WISE) program. The WISE program provides selected participants with a unique opportunity to interact with and learn from government officials, professional societies, and others who are involved with crafting national public policy that affects the engineering profession and building industry.
Applicants must be ASHRAE student members. Applications are available at http://www.ashrae.org/advocacy/page/1226, and must be postmarked or emailed by December 31, 2011.