WASHINGTON - As part of its newly created advocacy program, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) testified at a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) hearing on DOE's proposed 2006 appliance standards rulemaking process.

The hearing dealt with DOE's plan to bring all appliance rulemaking activities into compliance with the applicable statutory requirements. The department will finalize its standards scheduling plan after consideration of comments received.

"ASHRAE's participation and presentation in the DOE hearing was because of our 'proactive' approach that the Society is initiating for the legislative and budgeting processes in Washington, D.C.," said Terry Townsend, president-elect and chair of ASHRAE's Government Advocacy Committee. "Since ASHRAE Standard 90.1 is referenced in not only the new Energy Policy Act of 2005 but also Title III of the Energy Conservation and Production Act, our members need to have a strong and authoritative voice in recommending priorities for DOE and other government agencies to operate under next year - something that we as a Society have been relying upon other organizations to do for us in the past.

"The response to our participation by the DOE leadership in this hearing was, quite frankly, surprising - they really appreciated ASHRAE's participation and hoped that it signaled a strengthening of the working relationship between ASHRAE and DOE."

The Energy Conservation and Production Act requires that whenever ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1, "Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings," is revised, DOE must make a determination within a year on whether the revised standard would improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings. The last version of Standard 90.1 to be ruled on by DOE was the 1999 standard. ASHRAE is encouraging DOE to make a determination on the 2004 standard.

"Standard 90.1-2004 has significant improvements in energy efficiency over the 2001 version," said Chuck Miré, ASHRAE director of government affairs, who gave the testimony. "This means that Americans could anticipate increased energy efficiency through the adoption of even stricter energy codes across the country in 2007 or 2008. ASHRAE strongly urges the DOE to complete a determination at the soonest time possible on the latest available version of ASHRAE 90.1."

ASHRAE's advocacy program was created to provide technical guidance to government in developing programs related to the built environment. An update on the program will be given at ASHRAE's 2006 Winter Meeting in the Issues Update seminar hosted by the Chapter Technology Transfer Committee.

The seminar, "How Government Advocacy Can Impact ASHRAE, Our Members and the HVAC&R Industry," will be held from 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 23.

Publication date: 12/19/2005