2021 May-June Government Affairs Updates
Monday July 5, 2021


May-June 2021 Government Affairs Updates:
 
Government Outreach


ASHRAE President Participates in High Performance Buildings Coalition Congressional Event

In recognition of High Performance Building Week, 2020-21 ASHRAE President Charles E. Gulledge III, P.E spoke on a panel titled Building Better: Congressional and Private Sector Efforts to Promote High Performance Buildings. The event was organized by High Performance Buildings Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) and the High Performance Building Coalition, which is a comprised of more than 200 manufacturers, trade associations, and other stakeholders who support policies and legislation that advance the next generation of buildings.
 
Joining Gulledge on the panel were chief executives from the International Code Council (ICC), the Green Building Initiative (GBI), and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAMPO). The panel discussion was followed by a Q&A session moderated by Lakisha A. Woods, CAE, President and CEO of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS).
 
To watch the event, click here.

Global Government Affairs
 
Governments Commit to the
Mission Innovative Initiative 2.0 
 
Twenty-three governments around the world have committed to the second phase of the Mission Innovation initiative, which aims to accelerate progress towards the Paris Agreement goals and pathways to net zero. Collectively, this group comprises of 90% of global public investment in clean energy innovation and this second phase of the agreement focuses on power systems, zero-emissions shipping, and clean hydrogen. Learn more about the initiative here and its members here
 
IEA Releases Roadmap for Net-Zero Emissions by 2050
 
On May 18, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published a new report outlining a roadmap to net zero emissions by 2050 for the global energy sector. According to the timeline outlined by the IEA in the report, to reach net-zero by 2050, the world should push for all new buildings to become zero-carbon ready by 2030 and that by 2040, 50% of existing buildings should be renovated so that they are zero-carbon ready. The report also mentions how the green transition has the capacity to create 14 million jobs by 2030, but it stressed that the work opportunities need to be spread around to ensure that as fossil fuel jobs disappear, newly unemployed workers can make the switch to working at clean energy facilities.
 
 
IEA Releases Report on World Energy Investments for 2021

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its World Energy Investment report for 2021. According to the report, annual global energy investment is set to rebound by nearly 10% to $1.9 trillion in 2021. The IEA report also states that the $750 billion that is expected to be spent on clean energy technologies and efficiency worldwide in 2021 would need to double in the 2020s to maintain temperatures well below a 2 degree Celsius rise and more than triple to keep the door open for a 1.5 degree Celsius stabilization. To read the full report, click here.
 
Federal Government Affairs
 
White House Announces New Building Performance Standards Federal Facilities
 
The White House announced that the Federal government will develop "building performance standards" for federal facilities. The White House has not yet set a timeline for developing building performance standards or released any specific benchmarks, saying only that it plans to "establish metrics, targets, and tracking methods to reach federal carbon emissions goals" for federal buildings. The federal government is the single largest energy consumer in the U.S., and its more than 360,000 buildings represent almost 60% of its energy use, according to the Better Buildings Progress Report.
 
DOE Releases a Roadmap for Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings
 
On May 17, the Department of Energy's Building Technologies Office released A National Roadmap for Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings. The roadmap, which was developed in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and The Brattle Group, aims to support the goal of tripling demand flexibility and energy efficiency in the buildings sector by 2030 relative to 2020 levels. The roadmap makes 14 recommendations to help stakeholders expand the prevalence of grid-interactivity in buildings.
 
Biden Administration Releases its FY22 Budget Request  
 
The Biden Administration has released its detailed $6 trillion budget request for Fiscal Year 2022. Some highlights of the proposal include:

To learn more about the President’s budget request, click here
 
President Biden Signs Executive Order on Climate-related Financial Risk 
 
On May 20, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that directs federal financial regulators to consider climate-related financial risk across the economy. The executive order also calls for the National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy to develop a government-wide climate financial risk strategy within 120 days which will include public and private financing opportunities to reach the administration’s net-zero emissions goal by 2050. To read the full executive order, click here
 
GSA and NREL Publish Blueprint for Expanding Deployment of Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings
 
The U.S. General Services Administration( GSA) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have published a blueprint for integrating grid-interactive technologies into building renovation and improvement projects. The blueprint provides best practices and guidance on how to integrate GEB technologies into current and future federal energy savings performance contracts. To view the full report, click here.
 
EPA Announces Several Initiatives to Advance Efficiency and Reduce Emissions in American Homes and Buildings
 
On May 17, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced several advancements in the ENERGY STAR program that aim to work towards President Biden’s goal of reducing emissions by over 50% by 2030. They include:

For more information about these efforts, click here
 
U.S. Department of Energy Seeks Public Input on Impacts of Increasing Light Bulb Energy Efficiency
 
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published a request for information (RFI) that seeks input from stakeholders on general service lamps ("GSLs"). The move is part of an effort to re-evaluate a rule from the Trump administration in December 2019 that allowed for less energy-efficient bulbs and also determined that more stringent standards weren’t needed since analysis found that increasing efficiency could cost consumers. DOE is re-reviewing this determination following President Biden’s executive order from January which calls on agencies to review any Trump-era guidelines that are inconsistent with tackling climate change. 
 
 
U.S. Congressional Activities
 
Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Push for Creation of a National Climate Bank
 
Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Don Young (R-AK) sent a letter to House leadership urging them to include a $100 billion national climate bank as part of any major infrastructure overhaul. The four members of Congress argued that a climate bank has been a "proven model" in states and would create millions of jobs while advancing clean energy to scale if taken to a national level. The signatories have also cosponsored H.R.806 - Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator Act, legislation that would create a national climate bank overseen by the Department of Energy.
 
Energy and Commerce Committee Leaders Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Enhance Cybersecurity for U.S. Energy Infrastructure
 
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Full Committee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Energy Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Rush (D-IL), and Energy Subcommittee Ranking Member Fred Upton (R-MI) reintroduced several bipartisan energy bills designed to secure America’s energy infrastructure. They include:

 
State and Local Government Affairs
 
Nevada State Legislature Passes Major Clean Energy Bill
 
Last week, the Nevada legislature approved a major clean energy bill that aims to accelerate construction of a massive transmission project, increase spending on electric vehicle infrastructure, and require that the state join a regional transmission organization (RTO) by 2030. The bill, SB 448, takes steps to advance Nevada's goal to reach 100% carbon-free resources by 2050, which was set in a 2019 bill that also raised the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% by 2030. The new bill goes further than the 2019 legislation, requiring utilities to achieve an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2030. Another important aspect is the accelerated construction of the Greenlink Nevada project, which is intended to create a "transmission triangle" that would connect population centers to open areas that have significant potential for geothermal and solar energy production. 
 
State of Washington Passes Legislation Banning Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
 
Last week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) signed HB 1050, "Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fluorinated gases." This law will ban the use of HFCs with a global warming potential (GWP) of over 750 in all stationary air conditioning systems by 2026. It seeks to reduce the climate impact of refrigerants used in air conditioners by roughly 70%, and in commercial refrigeration systems by around 90%. The bill is based on regulations recently approved in California, by that state’s Air Resources Board. The bill also adds a provision that that the specified deadlines would only apply if the state building code council adopts ASHRAE and UL safety standards (ASHRAE 15, 15.2 and 34, and UL standard UL 60335-2-40 edition 4) into the state building code before January 1, 2023. 
 
City of Chicago Creates Building
Decarbonization Working Group
 
On June 2, Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, Illinois announced the creation of a new Working Group on Building Decarbonization for the city. The group will craft recommendations intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment and includes a goal to power all buildings with renewable energy by 2035. Currently, buildings account for 70% of Chicago’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The working group will be comprised of 55 individuals from private businesses, nonprofits and community groups. The city worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the group Elevate Energy to research 12 other North American cities' decarbonization policies and best practices. The working group is expected to announce its recommendations for implementing a decarbonization strategy this fall. More information on the working group can be found here.  
 
 
Other News and Events
 
Register Now for the DOE’s 2021 National Energy Codes Conference
 
The U.S. Department of Energy will be hosting its virtual National Energy Codes Conference on July 20-22, 2021. The event will focus on the evolving needs of states and local governments, and the building community at large to meet their energy and climate goals. This free event includes discussion panels and interactive breakout sessions on net-zero energy, decarbonization, workforce development, and increased equity in the built environment. The registration link and schedule can be found here.
 
NIST Engineering Laboratory to Host Virtual Symposium
 
The NIST Engineering Laboratory will be hosting its third annual symposium virtually on July 20 and 21. Recipients from the 2019’s Disaster Resilience Grant Research Program will present their research and on topics related to Disaster and Failure StudiesNational Earthquake Hazards Reduction ProgramWind Impact Reduction, and Reduced Ignition of Building Components in Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Fires ProjectClick here to register.
 
Grant Funding Now Available from New York State Carbon Challenge Program
 
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has announced a Commercial and Industrial Carbon Challenge program to provide grant funding of between $500k and $5 million for single projects or project portfolios that reduce carbon emissions for large commercial and industrial customers. Projects can include energy efficiency or process efficiency measures, on-site generation, battery storage, beneficial electrification, carbon capture, or other proven efficiency or renewable energy technologies. Applications are primarily evaluated on their overall carbon savings goal and their project plans. Applications will be accepted through 4:00 PM Eastern Time on July 30, 2021 for competitive programs. More information can be found on the Regional Economic Development Councils website here
 
ASHRAE Members Author New Article on Indoor Respiratory Infection
 
A new article has been published in the magazine Science regarding respiratory infection transmission, and its authors include ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force members William Bahnfleth, Jaap Hogeling, Yuguo Li, Chandra Sekhar, and Pawel Wargocki. (Resources developed by the Epidemic Task Force to address the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.) The article suggests that the rapid growth in our understanding of the mechanisms behind respiratory infection transmission should drive a paradigm shift in addressing the transmission of respiratory infections. This includes recognizing that preventing respiratory infection, like reducing waterborne or foodborne disease, is a tractable problem. A link to the full article can be found here
 
New Study Finds Cities Worldwide
Lack Climate Plans and Funding 
 
A new study from the Carbon Disclosure Project indicates that about one in four cities around the world lacks the funding to plan for or adapt to climate change. The study, which included 800 cities, found that about 43% do not currently have a plan to adapt to climate change, and 25% cited budgetary restraints as the primary reason. Cities are facing increased risks of flooding, overheating, water shortages, and infrastructure damage. There has also been more difficulty in obtaining funding for adaptation, as compared to emissions reduction, because the benefits of adaptation and resilience tend to be harder to quantify. More data from the study can be found at the Carbon Disclosure Project here





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