ASHRAE Government Affairs Update

President Obama Nominates New DOE, EPA Heads

With the current leadership of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set to depart, President Barack Obama has released his long-anticipated nominations for their replacements. If confirmed by the Senate, Dr. Ernest “Ernie” Moniz will become the new DOE Secretary, and Gina McCarthy will become the new EPA Administrator. Below are their bios.

DOE: Dr. Ernie Moniz

Dr. Ernest J. Moniz is the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research at MIT, where he has served on the faculty since 1973, has focused on energy technology and policy. Dr. Moniz also serves as the Director of the MIT Energy Initiative and the MIT Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. From 1997 until January 2001, Dr. Moniz served as Under Secretary of DOE. Prior to that, he served as Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President from 1995 to 1997. In addition to his work at MIT and the Department of Energy, Dr. Moniz has served on a number of boards of directors and commissions, including the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (2009-Present), the Department of Defense Threat Reduction Advisory Committee (2010-Present), and the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (2010-2012). Dr. Moniz is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Humboldt Foundation, and the American Physical Society. In 1998, he received the Seymour Cray HPCC Industry Recognition Award for vision and leadership in advancing scientific simulation. Dr. Moniz received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude in physics from Boston College and a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford University.

EPA: Gina McCarthy
Gina McCarthy is currently the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at EPA. McCarthy was appointed Assistant Administrator in 2009 after having served as the Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from 2005 to 2009. McCarthy came to the Connecticut DEP from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where she began her career as Canton, Massachusetts’ first full time health agent in 1980. She went on to serve the Commonwealth for 25 years in a variety of environmental positions, including Undersecretary for Policy at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs and Deputy Secretary of the Massachusetts Office for Commonwealth Development where she was in charge of coordinating environmental, transportation, energy, and housing agency policies. McCarthy earned a BA in Social Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts Boston and a joint Master of Science in Environmental Health Engineering and Planning and Policy from Tufts University.

For details, contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE Manager of Federal Government Affairs at or 202-833-1830.

How Are Federal Agencies Being Impacted by the Sequester? OMB Releases Report

Last week the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a report outlining more of the specific impacts that the automatic $85 billion spending cuts known as the “sequester” will have on federal agencies and offices. These reductions began going into effect on March 1, and will continue rolling out through the fiscal year until Congress and the President can reach agreement on an alternative path to addressing our nation’s deficit and debt issues. Below are specific funding cuts of greatest interest to ASHRAE members:

-Energy Information Administration, which administers the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS): -$5 million

-Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which administers the Building Energy Codes and related buildings programs: -$91 million

-General Services Administration’s Government-wide Policy account, which includes GSA's Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings: -$3 million

-Army, military construction: -$408 million

What these cuts actually mean in terms of changes to individual government grant and other programmatic activities remains unclear, since the funding reductions roll out somewhat slowly, giving time to Congress and the President to act. It does appear however that large reductions in federal spending (compared to prior years) will be the new norm for the foreseeable future, and as a result, we’ll see fewer or smaller scale government grants and activities.

For details, contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE Manager of Federal Government Affairs, at or 202-833-1830. To view OMB’s full report, click here

Sens. Shaheen and Portman Circulate Energy Efficiency Draft Legislation

U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) are circulating a new draft of their Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, which focuses on improving the energy efficiency of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings through support for building energy codes, workforce training, and financing.

After extensive collaboration with ASHRAE and other stakeholder organizations, the Senators introduced a previous version of this bill in the 112th Congress, and unsuccessfully sought to attach it as an amendment to other legislation in the hopes of winning passage. Undeterred, Senators Shaheen and Portman are again working with ASHRAE and others, and may reintroduce their bill later this month, beginning their efforts anew to help improve the energy efficiency of our nation’s built environment.

For details, contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE Manager of Federal Government Affairs, at or 202-833-1830.

U.S. House Committee Holds Hearing on Energy Efficiency

The U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee held a hearing last week on public-private energy efficiency activities in several areas, including the built environment. This extensive hearing featured testimony from three panels of witnesses, including:

Panel I
The Honorable Lisa Murkowski
U.S. Senator, Alaska
Ranking Member, Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee 

The Honorable Jeanne Shaheen
U.S. Senator, New Hampshire

Panel II
The Honorable Dr. Kathleen Hogan
Deputy Ass’t Secretary for Energy Efficiency
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
U.S. Department of Energy

Panel III
Mr. Kevin C. Kosisko
Vice President for Service
ABB, Inc.
On behalf of: National Electrical Manufacturers Association and Industrial Energy Efficiency Coalition

Ms. Britta MacIntosh
Vice President, Business Development
On behalf of: Federal Performance Contracting Coalition

Mr. James Crouse
Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Capstone Turbine Corporation
On behalf of: U.S. Combined Heat & Power Association

Mrs. Helen A. Burt
Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer
Pacific Gas and Electric Company

To view video of the hearing and read witness testimony, click here.

ASHRAE Grassroots Go “Social” on Facebook

As has been reported many times in Update, the Grassroots Government Activities Committee (GGAC) is coming online in earnest after this summer’s Annual Meeting in Denver. This new standing committee will be comprised of Regional Vice Chairs (RVCs) representing all 14 of ASHRAE’s regions, who, in turn, will coordinate the activities of chapter GGAC chairs and strategize accordingly as to future initiatives and tactics aimed at getting ASHRAE and its members recognized and utilized as technical resources for policymakers.

To broaden the reach of GGAC efforts, the committee has gone high-tech by creating a Facebook Page, which, if visitors to the page “like” it, will provide frequent updates about issues important to ASHRAE members in the U.S. and abroad. Moving forward, as notable activities at the chapter and regional level arise, the committee will post about public policy successes and challenges members face in their communities.

If your chapter is engaged in government activities at the jurisdictional level, please let the committee know by commenting on the Facebook Page or by contacting Mark Wills, Manager of State and Local Government Affairs at so the message can be passed on, discussed, and recognized as appropriate.

ASHRAE's Government Affairs Updates detail information on government affairs-related activities of interest to ASHRAE members and others interested in the built environment. Archives of previous updates are available from the Government Affairs website.