Monday, January 30, 2012

ASHRAE - Government Affairs Update

Good day and welcome to ASHRAE's Government Affairs Update! Along with the Government Affairs Webpage, these periodic Email updates feature information on government affairs-related activities of interest to ASHRAE members and others interested in the built environment. Archives of previous updates are available from the Government Affairs Webpage ( 
Please pass this information on to interested colleagues who also may subscribe from the ASHRAE Government Affairs Webpage. 

If you have any recommendations regarding content, or have questions about or would like to participate in Washington Office activities, please contact ASHRAE Government Affairs staff at (202) 833-1830 or

ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 1/27/2012
  • New Website for Government Affairs Office
  • Grassroots Activities – Regions, Chapters, and Members – Are Indispensible to Realizing Positive Public Policy
  • Available Now! ASHRAE Issues Update Seminar: U.S. State Building Energy Codes Legislation and Regulations
  • Building Energy Efficiency Spotlighted in President Obama’s State of the Union Address
  • Congress Returns – Energy and Funding Issues Likely Contentious Hotspots as Elections Near

New Website for Government Affairs Office
In keeping with ASHRAE’s recent rebranding, announced during the Winter Meeting, the Government Affairs website has a new look – and a new URL. When you visit, you’ll find an easier-to-navigate, one-stop-shop resource to meet your ASHRAE public policy needs. From Capitol Hill to the city council, we’ve got you covered – and keep your eyes peeled in the weeks and months to come for updates, new material, and more.

Grassroots Activities – Regions, Chapters, and Members – Are Indispensable to Realizing Positive Public Policy
To date (January 25), 33 of the 47 legislatures (including the District of Columbia’s Council) meeting in regular session this year – the legislatures in Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas are not slated to meet in 2012 – have convened and are already discussing measures of import to ASHRAE at both a Society and chapter level – and at a stunning rate. Through utilization of a new monitoring service, nearly 800 bills have been pinpointed by ASHRAE Government Affairs staff as relating to building energy codes and standards; “green” building; engineer licensure; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education; indoor air quality; “smart grid”; and more – all issues of interest to ASHRAE members.

However, success at the grassroots level requires that communication be a two-way street. While staff can serve as a clearinghouse and dissemination point of policy information in the states, provinces, or localities, we need your help in tracking what is going on – especially relative to proposed code changes or issues regularly taken up by state agencies or boards (e.g., PE licensure, continuing education). What works in Kentucky may work in Minnesota, so Government Affairs staff must be kept abreast of the goings-on so that we can provide you with the appropriate tools, contacts, coalition partners, etc., to stimulate adoption of pro-ASHRAE public policy.

This is a great means by which ASHRAE staff can help ASHRAE members “on the ground” to be kept up-to-speed on these issues. Not only is this a way for ASHRAE members to become engaged in the public policy process, but it presents a terrific opportunity for personal and professional development; you can take part in effecting positive change while, making yourself more valuable as a technical and policy expert within your community and within your firm/organization – and within your ASHRAE chapter.

If you would like to become a more complete ASHRAE member, please consider becoming a grassroots “champion.” To learn more and to be brought up-to-date on policy concerns of the greatest import to the HVAC&R professionals in your area, please contact the Government Affairs Office at or call (202) 833-1830 and ask for Mark Wills (Manager, State and Local Government Affairs).

Available Now! ASHRAE Issues Update Seminar: U.S. State Building Energy Codes Legislation and Regulations
Just days ago four regional experts presented on U.S. building energy codes legislation and regulation at ASHRAE’s Winter Conference in Chicago, Illinois. You can listen to and view their presentations on timely issues of interest to ASHRAE members at

In addition to the Issues Update Seminar, there are some 200 plus presentations available for on-demand viewing in the ASHRAE Chicago Virtual Conference.  To view the technical program, which was presented Sunday, Jan. 22, through Wednesday, Jan. 25, go to

For more information or to purchase the Chicago Virtual Conference $484 ($299, ASHRAE member, company registrations available, too), go to

Building Energy Efficiency Spotlighted in President Obama’s State of the Union Address
President Barack Obama delivered his annual State of the Union address to Congress this past Tuesday. In his address, the President outlined his policy priorities in his so-called “Blueprint for America Built to Last”, which includes increasing building energy efficiency.

“Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy.  So here’s a proposal:  Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings.  Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, more jobs for construction workers who need them”, said the President during the address.

To view the transcript of President Obama’s remarks, visit

To view President Obama’s policy blueprint, which contains more detailed proposals, visit

Congress Returns – Energy and Funding Issues Likely Contentious Hotspots as Elections Near
House and Senate members have returned to Washington, DC and are now determining the issues that will be tackled this year, as Democrats and Republicans prepare for the coming November elections, in which all House members and one-third of the Senate are up for reelection.

Among those issues that will likely be addressed this year is building energy efficiency, which could come in the form of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S.1000) – a bill that ASHRAE has been closely working on. Even if S.1000 passes the Senate, it is unlikely to make it through the House; however this bill is likely to set the stage for future legislation, and is thus worth close attention.

Federal funding and the continuing debt crisis are also on the list of contentious issues this year. On February 13, President Obama is expected to release his budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2013. Although scant details are available on this statement of the Administration’s priorities, it is largely considered dead on arrival in Congress, as the Republican-controlled House will press forward with Republican’s own vision for the country.

The release of the President’s budget request kick-starts the budget and funding season in Congress, which is forecasted to result in gridlock at least until the November elections, as philosophical and priority differences persist between Democrats and Republicans. Ultimately, the ability of Members of Congress to reach agreement will determine many things, including how active federal agencies are able to be in areas such as building energy efficiency, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.


ASHRAE Washington Office
1828 L Street, NW * Suite 810 * Washington, DC 20036
(202) 833-1830 * fax: (202) 833-0118 *

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