Energy & Environment
Industry Reacts to House Passage of Clean
Energy and Security Act
The House of Representatives’ passage of the American Clean Energy and
Security Act brings with it challenges as well as opportunities for the
glass industry. While many in the glass industry have concern about the
cap-and-trade system, if signed into law the bill would also have a significant
impact on commercial buildings—bringing opportunity for increased use
of energy-efficient glazing.
The act would require glass manufacturers to absorb either the increased
cost of carbon emissions (via cap-and-trade) or the increased cost of
having to deal with additional state and federal regulation. As part of
the cap-and-trade system, manufacturers would be provided an allowance
of annual carbon credits. Those manufacturers that are below established
emission maximums would be able to sell or trade carbon allowances to
other companies so that those companies could produce more carbon than
the legally established limit. Some in the industry say these increased
costs could significantly affect the ability of flat glass manufacturers
to do business in North America, as producers in non-regulated countries,
such as China or India, would not be required to meet the regulation.
Some groups, including the Glass Association of North America (GANA),
have been actively involved, speaking out to Congress on behalf of the
“As climate change legislation moves to the United States Senate, GANA
plans to communicate with Senators regarding the recently released GANA
document outlining the flat glass industry’s position on climate change
legislation,” says Bill Yanek, GANA executive vice president. “With regard
to what passed … GANA obviously is encouraged about the alternative energy
aspects of the legislation and that energy-intensive industries such as
glass are given consideration on the initial distribution of emissions
In addition to the carbon emissions costs are very stringent requirements
for reducing energy use. Effective on the date of enactment, the law would
call for a 30-percent reduction in energy use relative to a comparable
building constructed in compliance with the baseline code (Note: baseline
code for commercial structures is the code published in ASHRAE Standard
90.1-2004). Effective January 1, 2015, this requirement increases to a
50-percent reduction in energy use relative to the baseline code for commercial
buildings. Effective January 1, 2018, and every three years thereafter
through January 1, 2030, a 5-percent additional reduction in energy use
relative to the baseline code for commercial buildings would be required.
The act also states that the “secretary shall consider ways to support
the deployment of distributed renewable energy technology, and shall seek
to achieve the goal of zero-net-energy commercial buildings” (a commercial
building that requires a reduced quantity of energy to operate and has
no net emissions of greenhouse gases).
Technologies and design approaches that can help enable the construction
of net-zero energy buildings may also represent an opportunity for the
glass and fenestration industries. This could include further development
of highly insulating glass and window packages.
The legislation also notes a requirement for national energy efficiency
building codes for both commercial and residential buildings. This would
be established no later than one year after the deadline for establishment
of each target (meeting the 50-percent energy use reduction and the additional
5-percent reduction every three years thereafter, as noted above).
In addition to its potential impact on glass manufacturers and commercial
design and construction, the bill would also affect the Energy Star program.
The legislation calls for the establishment and implementation of a rating
system for Energy Star products. The rating system would be developed
within 18 months of the enactment of the bill, “unless the Administrator
and the Secretary communicate to Congress that establishing such a system
would diminish the value of the Energy Star brand to consumers.” The bill
also would require a review of the Energy Star product criteria for the
ten product models in each product category with the greatest energy consumption
at least once every three years.
As of press time, the bill had been received in the Senate.
Buildings Seeking LEED to Provide Performance
As part of LEED v3, the latest version of the U.S. Green Building Council’s
(USGBC) program for green building design, construction, operations and
maintenance, buildings seeking LEED certification will begin submitting
operational performance data on a recurring basis as a precondition to
certification. USGBC will use the performance information collected to
inform future versions of LEED.
“Today there is all too often a disconnect, or performance gap, between
the energy modeling done during the design phase and what actually happens
during daily operation after the building is constructed,” says Scot Horst,
senior vice president of LEED. “We’re convinced that ongoing monitoring
and reporting of data is the single best way to drive higher building
performance because it will bring to light external issues such as occupant
behavior or unanticipated building usage patterns, all key factors that
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