Spending Bill a Mixed Bag for Energy-Efficient Construction

Originally published by: ASHRAEJanuary 29, 2014

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Overcoming considerable political and philosophical differences, the U.S. House, Senate, and President have enacted a bipartisan omnibus spending bill that provides $1 trillion in discretionary funding for federal programs. Below are snapshots of program funding. 

Department of Energy (DOE):

$117 million for the Energy Information Administration (an increase of $12.2 million). EIA administers programs such as the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS).

$177.9 million for the Building Technologies Office (a decrease of $40.7 million). This program funds DOE’s involvement in building energy standards/codes, and related activities.

$50 million for the State Energy Program (a decrease of $7 million).

$174 million for the Weatherization Assistance Program (a decrease of $10 million).

$28.2 million for the Federal Energy Management Program (a decrease of $1.7 million).

The funding law establishes a new independent “Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories”, which will be charged with examining and providing recommendations to DOE and the Congressional Appropriations Committees on the alignment of the Department’s national labs with DOE’s strategic priorities. The Commission will also determine whether there are opportunities for more effectively and efficiently using the capabilities of the national labs, including consolidation and realignment. The report is due by February 1, 2015.

General Services Administration (GSA):

$58 million for government-wide policy activities (a decrease of $4.5 million). GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings is funded under this area. The law includes language encouraging GSA to implement or use green building certification systems for new construction, major renovations, and existing buildings when the system is a voluntary consensus standard as defined by the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-113) and OMB Circular A-119 and in accordance with its own recommendations on green building certification systems under section 436(h) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Department of Commerce:

$850 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (an increase of $42.9 million).

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