Monday, March 26, 2012

ASHRAE - Government Affairs Update

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. Should you wish to unsubscribe, information appears at the end of this Email.

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ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 3/23/2012
  • From Coast to Coast and Across Borders, ASHRAE Grassroots Sprout
  • ASHRAE Provides Suggestions to EIA for Improving the 2012 CBECS
  • Prominent House Republican Releases Budget – Is There Any Relevance for ASHRAE?
  • High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Holds Briefing on SBIC’s Beyond Green Awards
  • Pentagon Seeks Less for Construction, More for Conservation
  • Lawsuit Prompts Smart Meter Opt-Outs for Opponents in Hawaii

From Coast to Coast and Across Borders, ASHRAE Grassroots Sprout
ASHRAE’s new grassroots government activities initiative is growing day-by-day. As noted in the last edition of Government Affairs Update, ASHRAE members in California weighed-in in force on a proposal, which, if adopted, would prohibit engineers, commissioning agents, and other licensed professionals from performing acceptance tests, while allowing only testing, adjusting, and balancing (TAB) agents and electrical contractors to perform such tests. Though the outcome of member input in still in question, it underlies the importance of ASHRAE members getting involved when appropriate.

How else is ASHRAE expanding its advocacy scope at the chapter level?
  • An ad hoc Society subcommittee is crafting training materials – an “Advocacy 101,” if you will – so that the message of member involvement may be easily disseminated and put to good use.
  • Those materials will be put to the test at upcoming Chapter Regional Conferences (CRCs) in Regions II (covers eastern Canada) and XI (covers the Pacific Northwest and western Canada) and, thereafter, will be made available to North American regions and chapters through various avenues.
  • Also speaking to Canadian chapters, Government Affairs staff is working with leaders in Regions II and XI to develop a “gap” analysis to see where member engagement – particularly as far as adoption of ASHRAE standards (e.g., iterations of Standard 90.1, Standard 189.1) – is most needed.
  • Government Affairs staff is in conversations with the Southeastern Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) – one of the now six regional energy efficiency organizations – to ascertain where their efforts on promoting efficiency in the built environment through high-performance codes and standards may gel with what Regions III, IV, VII, and VII members are trying to do on that front as well.
  • Members in the Central Florida chapter are starting the process of banding together with other engineering societies in the Sunshine State to fight any efforts by the state engineering licensing board to impose “master’s or equivalent” requirements on individuals seeking PE licensure.
These are just a handful of initiatives ASHRAE is undertaking to expand its reach in the grassroots arena, so should you want to become part of the movement toward a vibrant network of engineer-advocates:
  • Continue reading Government Affairs Update for the latest news from Capitol Hill and beyond;
  • Review advocacy resources available on the Government Affairs Website;
  • Contact your chapter leaders about your interest in promoting and preserving the profession;
  • Follow us on Twitter (@ASHRAEGovAffs, @ASHRAE_Ames) for regularly updated streams of articles and information related to advocacy, standards, and many other topics; and
  • Contact ASHRAE’s Washington, DC staff to learn more.
ASHRAE members cannot stand on the sidelines while public policy is made without their technical expertise, so get in the game and make a difference!

ASHRAE Provides Suggestions to EIA for Improving the 2012 CBECS
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is moving full steam ahead with the 2012 edition of the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) – a national survey of U.S. commercial building energy consumption, characteristics, and expenditures. The first step in rolling out the 2012 CBECS is designing the questionnaire for the Survey.

In an effort to improve the Survey, EIA reached out to ASHRAE and several other building community stakeholders, and asked us to submit suggestions for improving the questionnaire. ASHRAE’s comments can be found at

EIA is now collecting comments from interested individuals and groups on the 2012 CBECS. A formal request for comments will soon appear in the Federal Register, however interested individuals and groups are encouraged to email Joelle Michaels, CBECS Survey Manager (, and request additional information prior to the announcement to give yourself more time to respond.

In-depth information on the 2012 CBECS and prior Survey editions can be found at

Prominent House Republican Releases Budget – Is There Any Relevance for ASHRAE?
Earlier this week U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released his budget proposal in a document titled “The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal”. This plan would slash spending for a large list of programs to help reduce the federal deficit. This plan is getting a lot of press – and it recently won approval by the House Budget Committee (albeit narrowly – the vote was 19 to 18, with two Republicans voting against it). A key question for ASHRAE is, does it have much relevance for the Society?

The short answer is ‘no’ – at least not directly. Chairman Ryan’s budget does not directly address building energy efficiency, indoor air quality, climate change, water conservation, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. (These are areas that ASHRAE pays particular attention to.)

The absence of these issues does not mean that they aren’t considered important by House leaders, rather that they are not main political targets in Chairman Ryan’s budget plan.

For more information on House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan’s budget proposal, including summary tables, charts, and video, visit

High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Holds Briefing on SBIC’s Beyond Green Awards
The High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition held a briefing on Capitol Hill this past Thursday showcasing the winners of the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council’s (SBIC) Beyond Green High-Performance Building Awards. Winners presented case studies from a wide variety of building types from across the country, which highlight the successful integration of sustainability and energy efficiency with cost-effectiveness, safety and security, accessibility, historic preservation, and aesthetics.

Additional information on the Beyond Green awards can be found at

Pentagon Seeks Less for Construction, More for Conservation
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is making an effort to increase energy efficiency and conservation while pushing down costs. Here are a few interesting excerpts from a recent press release on the Pentagon’s FY 2013 budget request:
  • The budget request includes $547 million to replace or renovate 11 Defense Department schools that are in poor or failing condition, mostly overseas. By the end of fiscal 2018, more than 70 percent of DOD schools will have been replaced or undergone substantial renovation.
  • DOD is the owner of 300,000 buildings. The Department has a $4 billion energy bill for its installations that comes almost entirely from commercial power grids. DOD is trying to change that through energy conservation programs and innovations in alternative energy.
    • The Department has created 70 test projects on innovations in areas such as microgrid and storage technologies, advanced lighting controls, high performance cooling systems, waste heat recovery and on-site generation, she said.
Check out the full release at

Lawsuit Prompts Smart Meter Opt-Outs for Opponents in Hawaii
Privacy and security concerns in Hawaii have resulted in a lawsuit that has halted the installation of smart meters in Hawaii for those that oppose the devices. More information is available at

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