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July-August 2021 Government Affairs Updates
 
July-August 2021 Government Affairs Updates:
 
Government Outreach

ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Vice-Chair Delivers “Back to School” Presentation
 
On August 12, the Healthy Schools Network hosted a “Back to School” webinar on Energy Savings and Healthy Indoor Air. Dennis Knight, Vice-Chair of ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force, and Tracy Washington, Program Manager at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency served as panelists.  The webinar was moderated by Pamela Pugh, Vice President of the Michigan State Board of Education. The webinar explored how schools can achieve both energy savings and healthy indoor air. To watch a recording of the presentation, please click here.


ASHRAE’s Co-Chairs of the Task Force for Building Decarbonization Briefs DOE

On August 3, Presidential Members Tom Phoenix and Don Colliver, who co-chair ASHRAE’s Task Force for Building Decarbonization (TFBD), provided a briefing for the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office. The briefing provided an update of the work of the TFBD, including that of the multiple Working Groups.  Phoenix and Colliver described how ASHRAE’s expertise, credibility, and global standing in its development of consensus-based standards can be leveraged to advance building decarbonization.
 

Central Indiana ASHRAE Chapter Assists City on New Benchmarking Policy
 
On July 12, the Indianapolis City Council passed Proposal 185, a Benchmarking and Transparency Ordinance. The ordinance requires city-owned facilities over 50,000 square feet to benchmark and report their energy and water usage starting in 2022, and city-owned facilities over 25,000 square feet starting in 2023. Non-city-owned buildings in the commercial, multifamily, and industrial sectors over 100,000 square feet will also follow the benchmarking requirements starting in 2023, and those over 50,000 square feet starting in 2024. The benchmarking requirements will phase in over time to ensure that building owners have the support needed to comply. ASHRAE Members Alex Rovder and Doug Fick, from the ASHRAE Central Indiana Chapter, provided a letter of support for the ordinance from the Chapter and also engaged with the local engineering community in providing technical support. In June, Doug Fick submitted written testimony for the City’s Public Works Committee meeting, which was also shared at the City Council meeting in July. This Benchmarking Ordinance is a key part of the city’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. To read the full city plan, Thrive Indianapolis, click here. 
 

Global Government Affairs
 
UN Releases Assessment Report on the Physical Science Basis of Climate Change
 
The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a report updating the science on climate change.  The report finds that “it is indisputable that human influence has warmed the climate system,” and states that “recent changes in the climate are widespread, rapid and intensifying and impacts are affecting every region on Earth.” 
Further, the United Nations Statement on the report concludes, “Unless there are rapid, sustained and large-scale reductions of climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2, methane and others, the goals of limiting global warming to 1.5C compared to pre-industrial levels . . . will be beyond reach.” To read the report summary, full report, and technical analysis, click here. 
 
ASHRAE is advancing strategies to reduce carbon emissions (decarbonization) in the built environment and is committed to helping local, state, and federal government entities reach their climate goals through building technologies. To learn more, you can read ASHRAE’s Public Policy Issue Briefs on Building Decarbonization and Climate Change and the Built Environment.
 

IEA Report on Empowering Cities for a Net Zero Future 
 
In July, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report entitled, “Empowering Cities for a Net Zero Future,” which explores how leveraging big data and digital technologies can reduce energy consumption in cities, which account for more than 70% of annual global carbon emissions.  Using these technologies will create “smart cities” that have improved energy performance and enhanced resilience. Click here to read the report.
 

New Climate Study Shows 25 Cities Account for Over 50% of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
 
The journal Frontiers in Sustainable Cities recently published research indicating that just 25 cities comprise over half of total global greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers analyzed a sample of 167 cities and metropolitan areas in 53 countries, including from countries that are major emitters, such as China, the U.S. and India. They found that 25 cities accounted for 52% of the sample’s emissions. All but three of these cities—Moscow, Istanbul, and Tokyo—were located in China, including major cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. However, the analysis also found per capita emissions are higher in cities in wealthier countries compared to developing nations. This aligns with total contributions to worldwide emissions, which are higher overall from China, but higher per capita from the U.S. Stationary energy uses like fuel and electricity for residential, commercial, and industrial buildings were responsible for up to 80% of North American and European emissions. In about one-third of the cities analyzed, more than 30% of emissions were from road travel, while rail, water and air transportation comprised less than 15%. For cities in developing countries, meanwhile, urbanization has led to increased vehicle traffic and growing transportation sectors, leading to a larger share of emissions from those sources. A link to the full research paper can be found here.
 

UNICEF Report on Children’s Climate Risk 
 
UNICEF has published its first report measuring the impacts of climate change on the world’s children. The report creates a Children’s Climate Risk Index that gauges how vulnerable children are to extreme weather and climate stressors. According to the report, countries in the global south are often the least responsible for climate-changing emissions, yet their children are the most vulnerable within the 33 extremely at-risk countries responsible for only 9% of global carbon dioxide emissions. The report also measures the number of children who face more than one significant climate challenge, such as extreme droughts, floods, and severe weather. Almost every child on earth is exposed to at least one of the hazards, with 2.2 billion exposed to two or more, 1.7 billion exposed to three or more, and 80 million children exposed to at least six major climate challenges.
 
 
Federal Government Affairs
 
DOE Issues Model Energy Code Determinations for Residential and Commercial Buildings
 
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued its final determination that the updated model building energy codes, the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2019, will increase energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings. DOE analysis estimates the following national average savings for buildings meeting the updated code (as compared to the previous respective editions).
 
Each State has until July 28, 2023 to certify their state building codes meet the updated editions of the IECC and Standard 90.1. Supporting technical analysis, as well as links to the Federal docket and public comments received, are available here.
 
 
Department of Energy Seminar Series
 
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Energy Codes Program will be offering a series of virtual seminars every other Thursday at 1:00 p.m. EST. The seminar program is a follow-up to the National Energy Codes Conference and includes topics of interest to energy code stakeholders, for both residential and commercial buildings.
 
The seminar on September 23 is entitled “Evolution of Commercial Building Design and Construction” and will feature Chuck Gulledge, 2020-2021 ASHRAE President. To learn more about the upcoming seminars, along with registration links, please click here.
 

DOE Releases Proposal for Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Furnaces and Commercial Water Heaters
 
The U.S. Department of Energy is seeking comments on its proposal to undo a Trump-era rule that created two new product classes of water heaters and home furnaces, which efficiency advocates worried would allow less efficient products to remain on the market. Once published in the Federal Register, the proposal is open to a 30-day comment period.
 

DOE Announces Nearly $83 Million to Increase Building Energy Efficiency and Cut Consumers' Energy Bills
 
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $82.6 million in funding to 44 projects that invest in new energy-efficient building technologies, construction practices, and the U.S. buildings-sector workforce. These projects are part of DOE’s efforts to lower Americans’ energy bills and help meet President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Click here to learn more.
 
 
 
U.S. Congressional Activities
 
House Members Introduce the Clean Energy Future through Innovation Act
 
Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and David McKinley (R-WV) have introduced the Clean Energy Future through Innovation Act which would provide investments in energy innovation, including carbon removal, advanced nuclear power, renewable energy, efficiency and storage. A section-by-section of the bill can be found here
 

House Members introduce the NIST for the Future Act (H.R. 4609)
 
On July 21, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology Chairwoman, Haley Stevens and Ranking Member Mike Waltz, along with Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and Ranking Member Frank Lucas, introduced the NIST for the Future Act. The NIST for the Future Act would reauthorize NIST for five years, providing $7.9 billion in total funding during that time. The draft legislation includes a focus on several measurement research areas including engineering biology, advanced communications, quantum information science, artificial intelligence, and others.
 

Democrats in Both Chambers Sign Letter Supporting Civilian Climate Corps
 
Over 80 Democrats in Congress have signed a new letter addressed to their party leaders in support of the Civilian Climate Corps. The Civilian Climate Corps has become a top climate priority for many Democrats, and it has backing from the White House and several environmental groups. President Biden called for $10 billion in the American Jobs Plan to go towards creating a climate corps and has asked for $86 million in his fiscal 2022 budget request.
 
 
State and Local Government Affairs
 
DOE Updates State and Local Fact Sheets on ASHRAE 90.1 and IECC
 
The U.S. Department of Energy has assessed recent editions of ASHRAE 90.1 and the IECC to quantify the associated energy & cost savings. These analyses take into account varying state-level conditions, such as incremental costs, utility rates, climatic conditions and construction trends. The fact sheets for each U.S. state, as well as certain major metropolitan areas, show the specific energy and cost savings associated with adopting the 2021 IECC and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2019. The fact sheets provide an overview of the expected savings to homeowners and building owners. Links to these fact sheets can be found on the DOE website here.
 
 
California Adopts 2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards
 
On August 11, the California Energy Commission adopted the 2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards for newly constructed and renovated buildings, designed to help the state meet its clean energy goals. Homes and businesses use nearly 70 percent of the state’s electricity and are responsible for a quarter of its greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, 50% of existing single-family homes and 60% of apartment complexes were built before the state’s first energy standard was established. The new standards will encourage electric heat pump technology for space and water heating; establish electric-ready requirements for single-family homes; and strengthen ventilation standards to improve indoor air quality. The 2022 update will be submitted to the California Building Standards Commission and considered for final adoption in December. If approved, it would go into effect on January 1, 2023, giving builders, contractors, and other interested parties a year to prepare for the changes. More information on the 2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards can be found here
 

Colorado Enacts Building Performance Standards
 
The State of Colorado has enacted a building benchmarking statute, through the "Energy Performance for Buildings" legislation, that went into effect on September 6, 2021.  The law requires owners of large commercial, multifamily, and public buildings 50,000 square feet or more to report their annual energy use to the Colorado Energy Office. The law also establishes building performance standards with which buildings will have to comply. The performance standards will be developed through a “Building Performance Standards Task Force.” The BPS Task Force will convene by October 1, 2021. More information can be found on the Colorado Energy Office site here
 

North Carolina to Set New Limits on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Energy

The North Carolina Environmental Management Commission recently voted to begin a rulemaking process that would set limits on carbon emissions from energy plants. Gas and coal-fired power plants are the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change in North Carolina, making up about 35% of total emissions. Electric utilities and state officials have set goals for reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 70% from 2005 levels by 2030 and reaching net-zero by 2050, but there is currently no specific plan in place. The rulemaking is expected to continue into 2022 and will include a public comment period and public hearings. 
 

West Virginia Proposed Update to Commercial Energy Code Includes ASHRAE 90.1-2013 
 
The state of West Virginia has published a proposed update to the state building code that includes updating the Commercial Energy Code to incorporate ASHRAE 90.1-2013, and the Residential Energy Code to incorporate the 2015 IECC. The full text of the proposed update can be found on the state website here. This proposal from the state Fire Commission will be open for public comment until July 26.  Comments on the proposal can be submitted to Fire Marshal Ken Tyree at Kenneth.e.tyree@wv.gov.
 

Hawaii Passes Climate Bills and Updates 2050 Sustainability Plan
 
Last week, Hawaii Governor David Ige signed 7 bills regarding sustainability and climate adaptation. These are focused on helping the state prepare for sea level rise and develop a plan to minimize impacts on state facilities, addressing coastal erosion, creating new jobs through a green jobs program, and promoting a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the state has completed its 10-year update of its 2050 Sustainability Plan, which includes a goal of 100% renewable energy use in the electricity sector by 2045. More on Hawaii’s 2050 Sustainability Plan can be found here.
 
Other News and Events
 

ACEEE Releases Analysis on Federal Energy Efficiency Standard Proposal for Power Generation
 
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released its analysis of a federal energy efficiency standard. Under ACEEE's proposal for a Federal standard for power generation, Congress would authorize DOE to set annual energy savings targets for large and medium-sized electric and natural gas utilities, where each utility's 2022 target would be based on the savings it achieved in 2021. Then, beginning in 2023, the targets would increase by 0.25 percent each year, up to certain caps. DOE would pay utilities 3 cents for each kWh of electricity and $3 for every million Btus of natural gas that they save beyond their targets and would charge a penalty of double that for each kWh or million Btus below the target. ACEEE believed that this proposal could save households and businesses about $160 billion on energy bills over the 2022-2050 period, while also reducing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 1.4 billion to 2.4 billion tons.
 
As described in a recent ACEEE policy brief, an energy efficiency standard can complement a clean energy standard because it reduces the amount of electricity demand that must be met with clean energy to meet climate and air quality goals. As a result, it reduces the cost of a clean energy standard to utilities and their customers and can enable greater carbon savings. It also provides many other benefits, such as increased home comfort and improved health.
 

New DOE Fact Sheets Highlight EERE’s FY 2022 Budget Request
 
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office (EERE) has released six new fact sheets that highlight EERE’s FY 2022 budget request and detail the programs and activities that will support
EERE’s five decarbonization goals:
In addition to these five decarbonization goals, EERE has identified four principles to help guide its investments: energy justice, workforce development, diversity in STEM, and engagement with state and local governments
 

U.S. Department of Energy Issues State and Local Resource Guide for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
 
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy recently issued a 2021 Resource Guide for state and local leaders on energy efficiency and renewable energy. It includes up-to-date information on partnerships with DOE, technical assistance, and best practices in clean energy leadership. The Resource Guide can be found here
 

Building Energy Codes Working Group of the International Energy Agency Releases New Report 

The Building Energy Codes Working Group of the International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a new publication entitled, Building Energy Codes and Other Mandatory Policies Applied to Existing Buildings. To reach climate and carbon goals, existing buildings need to be addressed and many governmental entities are grappling with how to use energy codes and other mandatory regulatory instruments to reduce carbon emissions from existing buildings. This report of the Building Energy Codes Working Group synthesizes results from two major types of policies: building energy codes and building energy performance standards. Click here to read the report.
 




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