Archive/Subscribe | December 30, 2014

Industry News & Announcements

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>>ASHRAE Expands Scope, Renames Research Journal
In recognition of the changing role of HVAC&R since it was first published 20 years ago, ASHRAE’s HVAC&R Research has a new title, an expanded scope and an updated look. Beginning in January 2015, the journal will be known as Science and Technology for the Built Environment. All manuscripts in process now will be published in the journal under its new name. Learn more at
>>Energy Codes for Ultra-Low-Energy Buildings: A Critical Pathway to Zero Net Energy Buildings
Source: / Jennifer Thorne Amann
Research Report A1403, "Energy Codes for Ultra-Low-Energy Buildings: A Critical Pathway to Zero Net Energy Buildings", was released Dec. 17. A zero net energy (ZNE) building is a home or commercial building that on average produces as much energy as it uses, achieved through energy efficiency and renewable technologies.  Building energy codes can help us transition to ZNE construction for new residential and commercial buildings by 2030. We will need to expand the scope of codes to capture all building energy uses, address whole building systems instead of focusing on individual components, and shift our focus from building design to actual building energy use by adopting outcome-based codes. We should also ensure ZNE performance post-occupancy by considering the impact of building occupants and operators and by incorporating future-proofing measures.  By addressing these areas, we can establish the foundation for ZNE by 2030 while providing energy savings and related benefits in the interim. Complementary policies, targeted research, market transformation, and the coordination of efforts and advocacy will help us achieve these goals. Read more here.
>>A Year Of Energy Efficiency, With More to Come 
As the year and the 113th Congress come to a close, we felt it was a good time to reflect on the energy efficiency work from 2014. Energy efficiency was a hot topic in 2014, both on and off the Hill. While Congress may not have passed any significant energy efficiency legislation, the issue did take center stage on several occasions and remains an important topic for both parties in the House and Senate. Read more here.

>>Philip Kerrigan, Jr. (1978-2014)
The Building Science Corporation family recently suffered a terrible loss. Phil Kerrigan, who was with BSC since 2001, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at age 36. He leaves behind his wife, Sarah, and children William, 5, and Emily, 21 months. Donations to Phil's family can be made here.

>>EPA Announces 2014 Annual Environmental Enforcement Results
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual enforcement and compliance results reflecting a focus on large cases driving industry compliance and that have a high impact on protecting public health and the environment. In fiscal year 2014, EPA enforcement actions required companies to invest more than $9.7 billion in actions and equipment to control pollution and clean up contaminated sites. EPA’s cases resulted in $163 million in combined federal administrative, civil judicial penalties, and criminal fines. Read more here.

>>Sens. Shaheen and Portman Introduce a Shorter Version of Their Efficiency Bill 
Source: / Jeannine Anderson
On Dec. 3, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced a shorter version of their bipartisan energy efficiency bill. The bill, S. 2971, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014, is identical in content and title to H.R. 2126, which passed the House on March 3, 2014, by a vote of 375-36. The bill stalled in the Senate last May when it failed to get enough votes (60) to avoid a filibuster. 

Whether the Senate will take up the bill in the remaining days of the 113th Congress is an open question, but by re-introducing a bill that is identical to one that has already passed the House, Sens. Shaheen and Portman appear to have boosted the measure's chances of passage. Read more here.  

>>Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has released an interim final rule that imposes comprehensive federal security regulations for high-risk chemical facilities. This rule establishes risk-based performance standards for the security of our nation’s chemical facilities. It requires covered chemical facilities to prepare Security Vulnerability Assessments, which identify facility security vulnerabilities, and to develop and implement Site Security Plans, which include measures that satisfy the identified risk-based performance standards. It also allows certain covered chemical facilities, in specified circumstances, to submit Alternate Security Programs in lieu of a Security Vulnerability Assessment, Site Security Plan, or both. Read more here or ACC's response here.

>>Low-GWP Refrigerants Roadmap
The current generation of refrigerants, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), have significant global warming potential (GWP) when released to the atmosphere. This research and development (R&D) roadmap for next-generation low-GWP refrigerants provides recommendations to the Building Technologies Office (BTO) on R&D activities that will help accelerate the transition to low-GWP refrigerants across the entire HVAC&R industry. Read more here or click here to view roadmap. 

>>House Passes Bill to Limit EPA 'Secret Science'
The House passed legislation in November to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing new regulations unless it provides the scientific data to justify them. Passage of the measure, H.R. 4012, the "Secret Science Reform Act," fell largely along party lines with a vote of 237-190. Read more here.

>>Advancing Energy Efficient Buildings: From the Lab to Your Neighborhood 
Accounting for about 40 percent of American energy use and about $400 billion in annual energy costs, buildings are fertile grounds for money-saving and pollution-preventing energy efficiency improvements. U.S. buildings offer hundreds of billions of dollars of investment opportunity that can yield as much as a trillion dollars in energy savings in the next decade. Read more here.


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