ASHRAE Government Affairs Update

Grassroots Update: How Does It Work?

In the coming weeks, look for updates to the Government Affairs portion of the ASHRAE website. New content will be made available as to enable ASHRAE regions, chapters, sections, and members to become more involved in grassroots government activities – mostly notably, guidance on running a chapter Grassroots Government Activities Committee (GGAC).

Once the GGAC launches in earnest in Society Year 2013-14 (i.e., after the Annual Conference in Denver, June 22-26), more information will be made available, so stay tuned.

Also, should you be interested in being a GGAC leader in your chapter or section, please contact Mark Wills, Manager, State and Local Government Affairs, at to initiate communication with the Regional Vice Chair for GGAC in your region, a list of whom are provided below.

Richard Vehlow (Region I) 
Doug Cochrane (Region II) 
Dunstan Macauley (Region III) 
Bryan Lampley (Region IV) 
Sonya Pouncey (Region V) 
Kelly Crow (Region VI) 
Chad Moore (Region VII) 
Jon Symko (Region VIII) 
Brian Lynch (Region IX) 
Mark Bender (Region X) 
Jeff Hurd (Region XI) 
Ricardo Esbri (Region XII) 
Yong Kong Ng (Region XIII) 
Ahmed Alaa Eldin Mohamed (Region-At-Large) 

Congress Passes Bill to Fund Government Through September

Working through about 100 proposed amendments, this week the U.S. Senate, followed by the House, passed a continuing resolution (CR) that funds government programs through September 2013, when the federal fiscal year ends.

The $984 billion bill was passed by wide bipartisan margins (73 to 26 in the Senate, and 318 to 109 in the House), and bakes-in the $85 billion in government-wide spending cuts that went into effect on March 1, as a result of sequestration. The specific impacts of the CR and these spending cuts on individual government activities is still largely unknown, but is an issue ASHRAE is paying close attention to, as they will be felt by places such as the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (administers building energy efficiency programs), and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (administers the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey).

The CR, which President Obama is expected to sign into law, banishes the threat of an upcoming partial government shutdown that Members of Congress from both parties feared could harm the economy just as it begins to slowly recover. Congress will now turn its attention to developing funding bills for the next fiscal year, which begins in just seven months.

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

$270 Billion Needed to Modernize & Maintain Nation’s Schools, Report Finds

Published by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the recently issued 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gives the nation’s schools a D, pointing out that in 2012 spending on school construction amounted to about $10 billion – far below the $270 billion, which the report says is needed to modernize and maintain them.

While there were some success stories, the report generally found that states and school districts have limited data on their facilities and plans to improve facility operation. To help improve the state of America’s schools the report provides a number of recommendations, including: requiring the use of life-cycle cost analysis to better evaluate the costs of energy efficiency and sustainability projects; implementing comprehensive maintenance programs; and exploring alternative financing options for facility improvements.

For more information, including an interactive guide to the report, click here.

Study Finds Mortgage Default Rates Lower for Energy Efficient Homes

A new study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for Community Capital and the Institute for Market Transformation finds that owners of energy efficient homes are on average 32% less likely to default on their mortgages. The study examined 71,000 single family home loans in 38 states and the District of Columbia. For additional information and to view the study, click here.

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.