The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) issued a report described as a potential roadmap for addressing the nation’s dependence on foreign energy sources and its greenhouse gas emissions.
“Buildings are often overlooked as an opportunity to reduce energy consumption and offer an excellent opportunity to achieve national energy goals,” said ASHRAE President Bill Harrison. He noted that buildings are responsible for 40% of the United States’ energy consumption—more than transportation and industry — and represent 38 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
ASHRAE’s report provides detailed recommendations on shaping energy policy. Some of the suggested provisions include the following.
Energy policy and climate change: Require annual measurements of building energy use and provide funding and direction for data collection and analysis regarding energy use in buildings. ASHRAE recently launched an effort to develop a domestic building-energy labeling program that will provide owners, operators and occupants information on their buildings’ energy consumption.
Federal incentives: The report offers ideas for government incentives for energy-related activities, particularly commissioning, re-commissioning and retro-commissioning; education and training for operations and maintenance personnel; realistic depreciation schedules; and long-term tax deductions.
Research and development: ASHRAE recommends increased research and development efforts in the built environment, particularly for on- and off-site renewable energy, net-zero-energy building technologies, and increased governmental support for private-sector R&D.
Federal agency activities: ASHRAE recommends providing adequate financial and technical resources to federal agencies to meet new energy requirements and promote the use of tools such as building information modeling and integrated design for federal construction projects.
Education: The report stresses the importance of supporting educational programs focused on student competence in STEM fields, and providing funding for “green-collar” job training programs.
A copy of the report or more information about ASHRAE’s government-affairs efforts, including the High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus—a bipartisan effort to bring policy-relevant expertise from across the buildings community to policy-makers—can be obtained by sending an e-mail to Wendy Angel at firstname.lastname@example.org.