Energy Bill Stalls, But Industry Efforts Move Forward
Comprehensive energy legislation, first introduced in Spring 2001, has been tabled until at least January, when members of the 108th Congress will take their seats. In the meantime, however, building-industry associations are moving forward with efforts to restrict buildings’ energy use through tightened efficiency standards.
A pared-down version of the “Energy Policy Act of 2002” (previously known as the “Energy Policy Act of 2001”) was rejected in the closing days of the lame-duck session that ended last week. This sets the stage for major changes to the bill, in the face of a new Republican majority in both the House and Senate.
The proposed legislation covers such controversial issues as electric-industry deregulation and oil drilling in the Alaska Natural Wildlife Refuge. As Senate-committee chairmanships pass from Democrats to Republicans, further debate on these issues is expected.
Taking more restricted aim on the energy used in commercial buildings, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has proposed two addenda to its Standard 90.1-2001, “Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.” The group also has published new guidelines to help designers measure actual energy savings, once improvements have been implemented.
Addendum “g” to Standard 90.1-2001 revises lighting power-use limits downward, possibly by as much as 29 percent. The revisions address new research on fluorescent-fixture light-loss factors and space characteristics of new commercial construction. Addendum “i” would boost the efficiency of small three-phase air-conditioning units to the level the U.S. Department of Energy now requires for single-phase units.
The new ASHRAE Guideline 14-2002, “Measurement of Energy and Demand Savings,” is intended to help engineers and building owners quantify retrofit-related energy savings. Utility-sponsored demand-side management programs generally require these kinds of calculations when determining rebates or other incentives.