ASHRAE releases policy recommendations for new Congress

ASHRAE releases its potential roadmap for the federal government, highlights include energy policy and climate change, research funding, implementing energy efficient measures


As the 112th Congress gets underway, ASHRAE has provided a potential roadmap for the federal government to use in addressing issues related to energy efficiency and environmental concerns.

Protecting America’s Economy and Conserving Our Environment: The Buildings Answer” provides policy recommendations for the new Congress from the Society. ASHRAE notes that “fueled in part by population growth and the rise in building floorspace, the nation’s demand and consumption of energy is expected to grow by 14 percent through 2035. Residential and commercial building energy expenditures accounted for $445.8 billion in 2008, and lead the way in primary energy use, accounting for approximately 40 percent, ahead of industry (32 percent) and transportation (28 percent).”

“As part of the call for fiscal and environmental conservation, all individuals and stakeholders must work to discover ways to use our financial resources wisely and protect the environment,” Lynn G. Bellenger, ASHRAE president, said. “Through innovative design and retrofits, buildings are one of the most cost-effective means of solving the nation’s fiscal and energy challenges.”

ASHRAE’s report provides detailed recommendations on shaping energy policy. The following is a sampling of topical areas and summary recommendations:

- Energy Policy and Climate Change

  • Require posting and annual updates of buildings’ energy use
  • Include energy efficiency as a renewable fuel source within renewable standards portfolio
  • Encourage decoupling of utility rates from energy sales
  • Encourage states to implement utility demand-side management programs
  • Provide adequate funding and direction for data collection and analysis of energy use in buildings
  • Support implementation of Smart Grid and micro-grid systems
  • Remove barriers to grid-connection for on-site power generation
  • Require states to adopt commercial building energy codes with ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2004 as a minimum

- Incentives for Implementing Energy Efficiency

  • Set realistic depreciation schedules for HVAC and R equipment to encourage high-efficiency replacements
  • Ensure adequate planning time in extension or implementation of tax credits/deductions
  • Incentivize widespread use of building commissioning, re-commissioning and retro-commissioning
  • Support implementation of technologies utilizing energy previously deemed as waste heat
  • Encourage ongoing education and training for operations and maintenance personnel and building designers and constructors

- Research and Development to Achieve Energy Goals

  • Make the Business R&D Tax Credit permanent
  • Continue increased funding under the American Competitiveness Initiative
  • Fund research on:
    • on-site and off-site renewable energy technologies
    • building technologies for improved indoor environmental quality and energy efficiency
    • building technologies and designs to achieve net-zero energy buildings
    • human factors of building operation, occupancy and energy use
    • characteristics and control of indoor contaminants
    • improving teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts

- Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

  • Establish ASHRAE Standards 62.1, 62.2 and 55 as the major national minimum guidelines on indoor air quality (IAQ) and thermal comfort management
  • Support research to significantly advance understanding of the impact of IEQ on work performance, health symptoms and perceived environmental quality in offices
  • Fund research to understand the influences of HVAC&R on airborne pathogen transmission in public spaces and develop effective control strategies
  • Continue government support for IAQ-related education and implementation programs
  • Support research on the intersections between building energy efficiency and IAQ

- Federal Agencies as National Leaders

- Education as a Critical Tool Government-wide

- Activities to Further Science and Technology

- Edited by Gust Gianos, CFE Media, Consulting-Specifying Engineer,

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