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April-May-June 2002

Energy&Environment

U.S. Senate Approves Tax Incentives for Energy-Efficient Windows

The Senate Finance Committee approved language in the middle of February that includes tax incentives for energy-efficient windows in both existing homes and new construction. That language will be added as an amendment to the entire Senate energy legislation package (bill S517).

Whether or not a Senate energy bill passes at all may hinge on the issue of drilling for oil in the Alaskan wildlife refuge. If there is no agreement on that, the whole bill could be dropped, said Kate Offringa, EWC program manager for the Alliance to Save Energy.

The Associated Press reported on Sunday, March 3, 2002, that Senate majority leader Tom Daschle said President Bush’s plan for oil in a remote Alaska wildlife refuge is all but dead for now. “An amendment that would expand domestic production of fuel—principally by drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is opposed by most Senate Democrats and about a half-dozen GOP senators,” reported the Associated Press.

If the bill passes, the Senate and House will get together in conference to iron out the differences in their respective bills and form one piece of legislation. The proposed credit for windows in the Senate bill is much smaller than the one in the House bill, so that’s one of the things that would have to be worked out.

Action from the Senate followed the passage of SAFE (Securing America’s Future Energy) Act 2001 (H.R. 4) by the House of Representatives. The SAFE Act would authorize tax credits of up to $2,000 for the integration of energy efficient products in new residential construction as well as existing homes.

ASHRAE and NFPA to Partner on Energy Code
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) have announced an agreement to partner on an energy code. The code will incorporate ASHRAE’s widely used energy standards, Standard 90.1 and Standard 90.2, and become part of a full set of comprehensive codes developed by NFPA and its partners.

“An energy code, based on the widely used ASHRAE standards, will be an important element of this full set of codes,” said George D. Miller, president of NFPA. “As a result of this agreement, state and local governments that adopt our codes will have in place the latest advances in heating, refrigeration, cooling and lighting design, resulting in significant energy savings.”

The resulting energy code will incorporate the 2001 editions of the 90.1 and 90.2, and reflect any updates or addenda to those standards. The code will apply to all buildings, including low-rise residential structures. The full codes set from NFPA and its partners will be developed through a process accredited by the American National Standards Institute as are all NFPA codes and standards.

“ASHRAE standards have been accredited by ANSI for many years, and we are glad to be involved in a full set of codes developed through ANSI-accredited processes,” said Frank M. Coda, executive vice president, ASHRAE.

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