Regulatory Affairs Committee Addresses Legislative and EPA Issues at National Fall ConferenceSeptember 28, 2011
At the Regulatory Affairs Committee meeting during the AAMA National Fall Conference, Rich Walker, AAMA President and CEO, reviewed NAHB data on energy-efficient tax credits claimed by homeowners in 2009; EPA regulations including LRRP, boiler MACT and ENERGY STAR® Phase Two window criteria; and other federal legislative issues. Also included in his agenda was a discussion of stringent regulatory measures intended for commercial buildings.
Walker began by providing a brief update of developments associated with the EPA Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule. Of particular interest was a committee approved July 12 Appropriations bill amendment offered by Representative Denny Rehberg (MT), which seeks to halt all EPA RRP funding until improved lead testing kits are made available. Shortly after the amendment was successfully voted upon, EPA issued a statement which withdrew their proposal to add extensive clearance and lead lead-dust testing requirements to the existing LRRP.
As for the Boiler MACT rules, Walker discussed the much needed delay in the implementation of the rules. On September 6, NAM sent a letter to House and Senate leaders which contained 100 signatures supporting the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011. The letter pointed out the gravity of the Boiler MACT Rule being delayed to avert $14 billion capital cost for a sector of the economy with thousands of high- paying manufacturing jobs at risk. Following a stay issued by EPA in May, 2011, EPA now states that it will finish reconsideration by October 2011 and issue final standards by April 2012. Bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate which seek to provide additional time for promulgation of the MACT rules.
ENERGY STAR Phase Two revisions for windows, doors and skylights will not likely include life cycle assessment provisions. “Preliminary analysis performed by EPA uses energy intensity by industry sector,” Walker states, “but results are not clear, and assumption refinement is needed.”
An additional specification for Phase Two of the updated ENERGY STAR criteria establishes maximum air leakage levels at 0.3 cfm/ft2. One possibility under consideration, Walker noted, is how to indicate that the required specifications have been met – either with the standard ENERGY STAR® logo designation or the possibility of introducing a hallmark or gold label as options. A one-month comment period on Phase 2 revisions will be conducted following the anticipated distribution of the framework document expected in early October.
Walker also touched on several legislative issues, among them the American Jobs Act, which, in part, focuses on school and community college modernization. Educational facilities are required to utilize established rating systems, such as LEED®, Green Globes and Collaboration for High Performance Schools (CHPS) criteria to be considered as grant recipients.
According to the Buildings Energy Data Book, in 2006 commercial buildings accounted for 18 percent of U.S. primary energy consumption. Walker stated, “U.S. cities are now aggressively attempting to reduce commercial building energy use through legislation which mandates any combination of the following: period energy audits, reporting of commercial building energy consumption through ENERGY STAR portfolio manager and public disclosure of energy use and carbon monoxide emissions.”
While these legislative efforts do not mandate energy-efficient upgrades, building owners are expected to take that initiative following audits and the threat of disclosure of building energy-performance data. This trend toward energy benchmarking is expected in many major metropolitan cities in the near future.
For further information on the Regulatory Affairs Committee presentation, future meetings and activities of interest, please visit the Members Only section of the AAMA website.
Thank you to our Silver Sponsor, Amesbury, and to all our Fall Conference sponsors for making this event a success.