Senator Heinrich Introduces Legislation to Improve School Indoor Air Quality with ASHRAE Input

On October 1, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the "Keeping Schools Safe Act" (S. 4782), which would establish a grant program for schools to improve their HVAC systems to help minimize risks of viral spread. The program would be run by the Secretary of Education, who would be required to consult with organizations such as ASHRAE in developing technical guidance for the grants. ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Members provided technical input on the legislation, in particular the Schools Team, led by Corey Metzger.

ASHRAE President Charles E. Gulledge III, P.E. remarked on the legislation stating, "Providing acceptable indoor air quality is an essential building service and I am heartened to see that Senator Heinrich’s legislation recognizes the importance of buildings and their HVAC systems in minimizing the risk of coronavirus spread in some of our most important buildings: our schools. I am also pleased this legislation would require the Secretary of Education to consult with organizations such as ASHRAE to develop technical guidance for using these funds. With ASHRAE’s 125 years of experience in standards development for the built environment, we welcome the opportunity to provide consultation to reduce viral risks and improve the health and well-being of students and staff."  Thank you ASHRAE members for sharing your expertise!

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IEA Releases "World Energy Outlook 2020"

Yesterday, the International Energy Agency released its flagship publication, "The World Energy Outlook 2020." The report focuses on forecasts over the next decade: strong growth in renewables are expected, but these investments need to be paired with investment in electricity grids to ensure reliability and security of the electricity supply. The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered deep cuts in energy demand, with an expected global drop of 5 percent this year. To view the full report click here.

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Rep. Williams Introduces Bill to Permanently Extend Energy Efficiency Tax Deduction 179D

On October 6, Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) introduced H.R. 8547, the Incentivize Energy-Saving Improvements Act, which would make the Section 179D tax deduction permanent. The 179D tax deduction sets incentives for building owners that reduce their building's total energy and power cost by 50% or more in comparison to past versions of ASHRAE Standard 90.1. 179D needs to be reauthorized by Congress annually and is currently set to expire on December 31, 2020. To learn more about 179D, click here

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CDC Adds Back Guidance Regarding Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its website to acknowledge possible airborne transmission of the coronavirus, especially in enclosed spaces. This information was published after similar guidance was initially removed a few weeks ago since the language was not yet finalized. To read the updated guidance from the CDC, click here. ASHRAE’s position on possible airborne spread of the coronavirus can be found here

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