House of Representatives Calls for Energy Use Reductions

SkyscraperLast Friday, the House of Representatives approved a bill that calls for a 30-percent reduction in energy use from the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for residential building and 2004 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1 for commercial building by 2010. By 2020, the bill's goal is to reduce energy use even further in both commercial and residential building, by 50 percent. By 2050, the bill aims for all new commercial buildings to be "zero net energy"-meaning that the building produces as much energy as it consumes. The bill will now go to the Senate for review.

In an effort to reach the goals of the bill, ASHRAE has teamed up with the Department of Energy to promote energy efficiency. However, ASHRAE president Kent Peterson notes that this partnership is one that has been ongoing.

"DOE and ASHRAE have been working together in advancing energy conservation technology since the initial energy crisis of the 1970s," says Peterson. "This new initiative provides an opportunity for ASHRAE and DOE to expand our collective energy conservation efforts, our energy conservation education initiatives and strategic research program focus in leading our country and the world toward a sustainable energy future."

Under the agreement, ASHRAE and the DOE say they are working together toward the following goals:

  • Promoting and supporting the continuing development of ASHRAE standards related to energy efficiency, indoor air quality and sustainability;
  • Supporting implementation of ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, through training programs;
  • Cooperating in and supporting research into clean and renewable sources of energy, energy efficiency in buildings and equipment and the environmental impact of energy and material use;
  • Working within the building community and related professions to encourage the interoperability of building related software and integrated solutions to increase energy efficiency, health and productivity in new and existing buildings;
  • Ensuring sufficient numbers of qualified building design professionals by promoting and encouraging the study of mathematics and science to pre-college students, the study of building design within college curricula and the pursuit of continuing education by practicing design professionals;
  • Providing and supporting technology transfer to building owners and management about the interrelationships between mechanical systems and building operating costs, noting energy, workplace performance, client satisfaction and public safety; and
  • Monitoring the operational, energy and environmental impacts of new counter-terrorism design features and promoting minimization of those impacts.

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