ASHRAE Government Affairs Update


U.S. Reps. McKinley & Welch Introduce HOMES, Better Buildings Acts

Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced two bipartisan bills designed to catalyze energy efficiency investments in residential and commercial buildings -- the Home Owner Managing Energy Savings (HOMES) Act (H.R.2128), and the Better Buildings Act (H.R.2126)

In its simplest sense, the HOMES Act would establish a rebate program for residential energy efficiency retrofits. The amount of the rebate would range from $2,000 for a 20-24% reduction in home energy use, to $8,000 for a 50% or greater reduction in home energy use. The rebate would be provided to the owner of an owner-occupied home or a tenant-occupied home. Owners would have the option of transferring their rebate to the contractor performing the retrofit.

In contrast, the Better Buildings Act seeks to improve commercial building energy efficiency by facilitating greater cooperation between building owners and occupants through the development of model commercial leasing provisions that encourage the use of cost-effective energy efficiency measures, enhanced data collection, sharing of best practices, and the creation of a voluntary new Tenant Star certification system that is based on the widely successful Energy Star program for buildings that would help commercial building occupants demonstrate their commitment to energy efficiency.

The Better Buildings Act may be offered as an amendment in the House or Senate to the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (H.R.1616/S.761).

Representatives McKinley and Welch are the Republican and Democratic Co-Chairs of the High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus. The Caucus is supported by High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition - a private sector coalition of over 160 building community stakeholders that works with the Caucus to educate federal policymakers on the importance of high-performance buildings and how to achieve and promote them. ASHRAE helped found, and currently chairs the Caucus Coalition.

For details on any of the above, contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE's Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs, at For details on the Caucus Coalition, contact Doug Read, ASHRAE's Director of Government Affairs, at

U.S. Sen. Alexander Lays Out Energy 'Grand Principles' -- Includes Green Buildings

Demonstrating that many building issues truly are bipartisan, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) gave a speech in which he outlined several principles and grand challenges to improve U.S. energy policy -- including making new buildings green buildings. To view his prepared remarks, visit here

Sen. Alexander sits on several powerful committees, including Energy and Natural Resources, and is the senior-most-Republican of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, which is responsible for providing funding to federal agencies such as the Department of Energy and Energy Information Administration.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Announces Resignation

Jon Wellinghoff announced that he will step down as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), but will stay in office until a replacement is named and confirmed. FERC is an independent federal agency charged with regulating the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil.

ASHRAE's Senior Officers Hold Meetings in Washington, D.C.

ASHRAE's President, President-Elect, Treasurer, and Executive Vice President were all in Washington, D.C. recently for their twice-a-year round of meetings with technical society and federal agency leaders. Below is a list of organizations they met with:

Air Conditioning Contractors of America 
American Institute of Architects 
Army's Office of Installations, Energy & Environment 
Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Radiation and Indoor Air 
General Services Administration's Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings 
National Association of Home Builders 
National Association of State Energy Officials 
Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association 
U.S. Green Building Council 

For details on any of the news items listed above, contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE's Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs, at

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.