Federal Initiatives Eyed

March 1, 2010
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U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), center, addresses attendees at the 12th Danfoss EnVisioneering™ symposium. Listening in are Mack McFarland, left, global environmental manager, DuPont Fluorochemicals, and Robert Wilkins, president of Danfoss North America.



More than 50 HVACR industry professionals gathered at the 12th Danfoss EnVisioneering™ symposium to discuss federal building initiatives and the state of the industry.

Speakers included policymakers, representatives from federal and state agencies as well as industry experts, including U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko, D-N.Y.; Chuck Clinton, senior advisor and lead regional coordinator, National Association of State Energy Officials; Cyrus Nasseri, manager, Energy Efficiency Standards and Rule Making, Federal Energy Management Program, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); Mack McFarland, global environmental manager, DuPont Fluorochemicals; David Doniger, policy director, Natural Resources Defense Council; Drusilla Hufford, director, Stratospheric Protection Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Richard Andres, senior fellow, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University; Jeffrey Harris, vice president for programs, Alliance to Save Energy; and Richard Lord, engineering fellow, Carrier Corp.

MOON VIEW

Tonko, a former engineer, said America’s energy-efficiency challenge is similar to that of putting a man on the moon more than 40 years ago. “In response to Sputnik, President Kennedy challenged us to put a man on the moon,” Tonko said. “We entered the space race as a collaborative nation and emerged victorious.

“Today we face a similar race, a global energy race. There are many players and the stakes are even higher. We must work together as a nation, inspired by President Obama’s leadership, to ensure that America once again emerges victorious. The global energy race is one we cannot afford to lose.”

CHALLENGES

Robert Wilkins, president of Danfoss North America, summarized the challenges facing the HVACR industry. “We’re in the midst of the most important political discussions on energy and refrigerant issues that our industry has seen - issues that will impact our businesses as we move into the next decade and beyond,” Wilkins said.

Clinton noted that, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the federal government has earmarked more than $12 billion for national energy-efficiency and renewable energy programs. He highlighted the Weatherization Assistance Program ($6 billion), which helps low-income consumers weatherize their homes; the State Energy Program ($3.1 billion), which focuses on commercial and institutional buildings; and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program ($3.2 billion), managed largely by local municipalities.

Clinton also cited “incredible efforts being made with public utilities.” ARRA has allocated $4.5 billion for smart grid upgrades, with $100 million available for green jobs through the U.S. Department of Labor.

Clinton did cite what he said were several bureaucratic problems specifically the National Environmental Protection Act, Davis-Bacon Act, and Buy American program. He added that states don’t always have the internal resources to effectively manage and execute energy-efficiency programs. To date, only $200 million to $300 million for ARRA funds have actually been spent. But according to Clinton, the stage is now set for state and local governments to quickly expend all these ARRA dollars for their intended purposes.

Clinton offered some advice to HVACR contractors who want to take advantage of these programs. He said they should contact their state energy office, research programs involving energy service companies (ESCOs) and tap into local programs, such as those implemented under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program.

FEDERAL VIEW

According to Nasseri, Obama has signed Executive Order 13514, “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance.” It requires federal agencies to increase energy efficiency; measure, report, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; conserve and protect water resources; eliminate waste, recycle, and prevent pollution; and foster markets for sustainable technologies and environmentally preferable materials, products, and services.

He noted Title V of the ARRA allocates $4.5 billion to convert General Services Administration (GSA) facilities to high-performance green buildings.

REFRIGERANTS

DuPont’s McFarland cited a study he co-authored that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“A result of the study was the finding that, if we stabilized carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million - the consensus target of many countries - but let HFC use continue along business-as-usual scenarios, then by 2050 the climate contribution of HFC emissions could be 28 to 45 percent as large as carbon dioxide,” he said.

He stressed that demand for HFC refrigerants is expected to grow due to the phaseout of CFCs and HCFCs. Most of that growth will come from developing countries such as China and India. McFarland cited that in 2007 developing countries were already using more HCFC refrigerants than developed countries did at the peak of their use and that most of these HCFCs would be replaced with HFCs over the coming decades in a business-as-usual case.

McFarland also presented a look at how the U.S. market, by sector, could meet cap and reduction targets set forth in the Waxman-Markey proposal.

EPA VIEW

Hufford noted his participation in an international Meeting of Partners (MOP-21) in Egypt, during which the participants discussed phasing down global warming HFC refrigerants globally through the Montreal Protocol. As a result, the developing countries requested more technical information about HFCs and their proposed phase down. “Montreal has a clear, binding commitment for developed and developing countries,” Hufford said.

‘GREEN' MILITARY

Andres explained why the U.S. military is going green. They include supporting the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan, saving money, and contributing to national energy security.

For example, at large military bases in Afghanistan, the problems include rapidly growing energy demands, effectively heating and cooling shelters, other electricity demands, inefficient generators and a need for alternative, indigenous power sources. Andres said the HVACR industry could help the military by providing innovative, energy-efficient solutions.

INITIATIVES

Lord focused on the major initiatives revolving around refrigerants and energy efficiency and the role of total system efficiency to achieve a net zero building by 2030. “Since the 1970s, the approach for improving building efficiency has been a prescriptive approach,” commented Lord. “Most efficiency metrics are component-based and defined at a standard, full-load rating condition. But HVAC is somewhat unique because most of the operation is at lower ambients and part load, and the performance is not equivalent to full load.”

Lord further commented, “The building industry has been active in developing proposals for improved energy efficiency in response to the Energy Policy Act.”

He noted that a new version of ASHRAE Standard 90.1 is scheduled for completion in 2010. The new version’s energy-efficiency standard is targeted to be 30 percent below that of the current standard, established in 2004.

What’s more, the industry is beginning to use new initiatives for Tier II and Tier III standards. These would be used for owners wanting to design a more efficient building, utilities seeking to reduce power and peak load, state and federal buildings requiring higher performance, and owners desiring LEED-certified buildings.

“We’ve made significant energy improvements, but we’re now approaching the limits of technology,” commented Lord. “The most logical approach is to focus on system level. These strategies include designing the building to reduce heating and cooling loads and using renewable sources, energy recovery, natural lighting, natural ventilation, advanced controls, diagnostics and prognostics, and high-efficiency equipment. And we are seeing initiatives start to take shape, such as the ASHRAE [American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers] Building Quotient.”

For more information, visit www.envisioneering.danfoss.com.

Publication date: 03/01/2010

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