Legislation Aims to Develop National Energy Efficiency Strategy

by experts at the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy found that initial version of ESIC would have saved consumers $4 billion by 2020 and helped

businesses add 80,000 jobs to the economy.

Several industry groups have come out in support of the legislation.

Among these, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) joined with more than 350 different associations and companies to urge the government to maintain energy conservation requirements currently in place for federal buildings.

AIA officials say the legislation “would promote greater use of energy efficiency technology in commercial and residential buildings and by manufacturers.” They also fear, however, that during the review of the bill requirements for federal buildings could be weakened, according to a letter sent to Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R –Alaska).

“Weakening or repealing federal building energy policies will dramatically harm the federal government’s ability to design and build facilities that use less energy, save taxpayers money, and protect the environment,” reads the letter. “Therefore, we urge you to oppose efforts to weaken the energy consumption and GHG emission requirements of EISA Sec. 433(a) and other important energy-saving policies.”

Ben Gann, director of legislative affairs and grassroots activities for the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), points out that a previous version of the legislation would have established a “zero-net-energy” building performance goal by 2030. However, after negotiations with Sens. Shaheen and Portman that language was removed and no longer includes provisions to create a de facto federal energy code administered by DOE.

“Any increase in efficiency standards for new building codes would be completely voluntary,” says Gann. “The [DOE] is still allowed to offer building efficiency targets, as part of the International Energy Efficiency Code (IECC) and ASHRAE Standard 90.1, but Shaheen-Portman requires DOE to establish all targets and determinations related to national model codes through public notice and comment rulemaking procedures.

He adds, “The bill does require DOE to make publicly available the analysis and methodology it uses to calculate energy savings as IECC/ASHRAE codes and standards are revised from one version to the next, and incorporate economic considerations, including return on investment and small business impact review analysis.”

Additionally, Gann points out that the legislation could provide funding to “those states that achieve and document full compliance with both the commercial and residential building energy codes.” -John Hollis

John Hollis is the incoming editor of the USGNN.com™ daily news service.

 

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