Industry News & Announcements

 >>Top 5 Areas to Be Impacted by Greater Efficiency in 2015
Source: / Mike Kandel 
The U.S. Department of Energy projects the top five residential energy end uses impacted by greater efficiency in 2015 will be space heating, space cooling, water heating, lighting, and refrigeration.  Read more here.


>>President Obama's FY2016 Budget Request Highlights Importance of Energy Efficiency  
Source: / Reed Brown
President Obama released his Budget Request for FY 2016. The request outlines some impressive goals and highlights the President’s priorities for the remainder of his term. We are very pleased to see that one of these priorities is the commitment to doubling the nation’s energy productivity by 2030, as evidenced by his proposed budgets for programs that support energy efficiency. Read more here.

>>Home Performance Industry Predictions for 2015  
Source: / Peter Troast
A few of the experts in the industry share their take on what 2015 has in store. From economic and political trends, to the impact technology will have on our day to day business, this is a full view of what to expect in the year to come. Some of the topics include: Instrumentation and Technology Working Together, Adjusting to Changing Priorities, Investments in Large-scale Residential, Expanding Market with Access to Financing, Defining Our Terminology To Cut Through the Confusion, Sales & Marketing Skills to the Fore, Technology Will Power the Industry, Important Consumer Upgrades, and more! Read more here.   

>>New Training Tool Broadens Pool of Home Energy Score Assessors
DOE announced the release of the Home Energy Score Simulation Training, a new online simulation tool that provides free, targeted training and testing to individuals interested in providing the Home Energy Score – a standard energy efficiency assessment and score generated only by qualifying professionals. The Home Energy Score Simulation Training (the Sim), developed by Interplay Learning, lets candidates walk through different virtual homes (colonial, ranch, and townhome) with numerous combinations of energy-related characteristics (e.g., heating, cooling, hot water equipment; wall construction; insulation levels; footprints). The Home Energy Score team will host a webinar on March 4 from 2-3 p.m. ET for anyone interested in learning more about the Home Energy Score, the Sim, and new credential requirements.

>>Legalization of Marijuana - Feeling the Effects in a Zero-Tolerance Industry 
Source: / Katie Kuehnew-Hebert
Using marijuana – whether for medical or recreational reasons – is becoming legal in more and more states, causing contractors to double-down on their zero-tolerance policies. Read more hereReprinted with permission from Constructor, January/February 2015, a publication of the Associated General Contractors of America. 

>>ASHRAE/IAQA Consolidate
A consolidation between ASHRAE and the Indoor Air Quality Association has been finalized and  approved by the Boards of Directors for ASHRAE and IAQA at ASHRAE’s recent 2015 Winter Conference in Chicago. "We are excited about the opportunities presented by this consolidation," ASHRAE President Tom Phoenix said. " President IAQA Kent Rawhouser said, "This is an historic event for both associations and has great promise for growth and development for both organizations." Read more here

>>EPA Welcomes New "Top Cop" for Criminal Enforcement Program in New England
Tyler Amon, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, has been selected as the new Special Agent-in-Charge of its Area Office in Boston. He will supervise all environmental crimes investigations throughout EPA’s Region 1 jurisdiction, encompassing Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Criminal Investigation Division (CID) mission is to investigate allegations of the most egregious violations of the federal environmental statutes, and to assist the Department of Justice in the prosecution of individuals and corporations charged with criminal offenses. Read more here

>>20 New Partners Join the Better Buildings Challenge
The Energy Department on January 29 announced that more than 20 new partners in the Department's Better Buildings Challenge have committed to improving energy efficiency across their respective building portfolios by 20% over the next 10 years. These new partners span 70 million square feet of fast-food, restaurant, manufacturing, university, and government facilities. The new partners will work with the Energy Department to share their successful efficiency strategies and help pave the way for other organizations to follow. Among the new partners are: Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia; Bank of America, San Francisco, California; and Celanese Corporation, Irving, Texas.
Also, the Energy Department recognized the City of Roanoke, Virginia, for its leadership in the Better Buildings Challenge. Roanoke has committed to 20% savings by 2020 across more than 25 buildings, covering 1 million square feet. Roanoke has already achieved 16% savings since 2009. See the Energy Department news release and the Department's Roanoke news release.

>>ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Agree to Develop Biomass Requirements for Green Building Standard
The development of biomass requirements is being explored by ASHRAE, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), for inclusion in their co-sponsored green building standard. ASHRAE/IES/USGBC Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High Performance Green Buildings, contains minimum requirements for the siting, design and construction of high-performance green buildings in support of reducing building energy, resource consumption and other environmental impacts. At ASHRAE’s 2015 Winter Conference held recently in Chicago, the committee voted not to accept the proposal to simply add the word biomass to this definition. However, in its response to the proposal, the committee stated that they intend to work on a definition of biomass as well as requirements on the use of biomass to meet the renewable energy requirements of the standard, according to chair Andy Persily.