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Stimulus Bill Priority: Energy Efficiency

Monday, February 23, 2009

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ASHRAE reported that special funding measures included in the economic stimulus package signed into law by President Obama are contingent on provisions of ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007 and its energy-saving features.

ASHRAE said that if states are to receive additional funding from the $16.8 billion allotted to the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, governors would be required to work toward implementation of a building energy code at least as stringent as Standard 90.1-2007. In addition, the states would be required to develop a plan for achieving 90% compliance with the code, including provisions for training and enforcement programs.

Standard 90.1 provides minimum requirements for the energy-efficient design of buildings in the U.S., except low-rise residential buildings. Written during the 1970s energy crisis, Standard 90.1 first was published in 1975 as an effort to cut energy use in buildings. The 2004 version of the standard is referenced in the U.S. Energy Policy Act, which requires states to adopt commercial building codes that meet or exceed the standard’s requirements.

ASHRAE has set a goal of making the standard 30% more stringent than the 2004 version by the scheduled 2010 publication of an updated standard.

The stimulus package, formally titled the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, focuses on economic stimulus through both tax credits and public-sector spending, with a special focus on infrastructure and energy. Several provisions are of interest to and could bring new opportunities to the building sector, including:

  • Tax credits for the production of renewable energy, extended until at least 2012;
  • Research expenses associated with renewables, conservation, and carbon capture and sequestration, which could result in higher credits in 2009 and 2010
  • Department of Energy authorization to provide grants of up to 30% of the cost of installation of items such as fuel cells, solar, small-wind, geothermal heatpumps, and combined heat and power systems;
  • Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy funding of $21.4 billion for research, weatherization assistance, grants, and other programs;
  • Department of Labor funding of $750 million for job training, with significant focus on emerging industry sectors including energy efficiency and renewable energy; and
  • Sizeable funding of federal agencies for retrofitting and upgrading existing facilities to meet federal energy and water-use requirements and alleviation of maintenance backlogs.

More information: www.ashrae.org.

   

Tagged categories: ASHRAE; Energy efficiency; Sustainability

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