Washington Post
Apr. 22, 2019

In a typical year, taxpayer spending on the federal disaster relief fund is almost 10 times higher than it was three decades ago, even after adjusting for inflation, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal data.

Experts say the surge in disaster spending reflects the effects of climate change and the growth of people and infrastructure in disaster-prone regions, such as the Gulf Coast. The federal government released a more than 1,000-page report last fall finding that climate change is affecting the U.S. economy. More . . .

The Architects' Newspaper
Apr. 22, 2019

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule that tightens restrictions on the use of asbestos-containing products in the United States. Made in response to the wave of criticism the EPA received last summer, the ruling makes adjustments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), forcing companies to gain prior approval from the agency before importing certain items for commercial sale or introducing them into domestic manufacturing processes. The EPA promises to evaluate these items in order to further restrict their use or ban them from the marketplace altogether. 

The agency expanded the scope of the rule that was first unveiled last summer by adding four new categories of products and a “catchall” category that would require the review of any asbestos uses not previously noted. Under the final rule, 19 asbestos-containing products including adhesives, sealants, roofing felt, as well as millboard, pipeline wrap, reinforced plastics, and vinyl-asbestos floor tile will be prohibited from entering the market without a risk evaluation by the EPA. Additionally, all five uses of asbestos previously banned under the 1989 law, such as rollboard and flooring felt, will remain prohibited. More. . .

Engineering News-Record
Apr. 24, 2019

New York’s largest buildings will have to be retrofitted to produce fewer carbon emissions under one of the first laws passed by the city council as part of the city’s sweeping Green New Deal. Under the law approved April 18, all buildings 25,000 sq ft or more must reduce their emissions 40% from 2005 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

About 50,000 buildings, or 2% of the city’s building stock, will be required to cut emissions, including the Empire State Building and Trump Tower.

“New York City just enacted the broadest climate change policy for any city in the world,” says John Mandyck, CEO of New York’s Urban Green Council. “The law is really breaking new ground.” More . . .

Washington Post
Apr. 19, 2019

Virginia regulators have voted to join a regional carbon cap-and-trade program, becoming the first Southern state to do so. The effort could lead to a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from the state’s largest power plants.

But there’s a hitch. Republican lawmakers put language into the state budget that effectively prevents Virginia from participating.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) could veto the language but must do so by a May 3 deadline. More . . .

Monday, April 29, 2019, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
485 Russell Senate Office Building
(wireless connection permitting)

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is holding a briefing to explore how the quality of buildings contributes to the national economy and promotes healthier environments, and to learn how Congress can support such benefits. Because Americans spend over 90 percent of their time indoors, the design, construction, and operation of buildings greatly influence the health, productivity, and safety of their occupants.
  • William Fisk, Senior Scientist/Mechanical Engineer, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; ASHRAE Fellow
  • Ryan Colker, Vice President for Innovation at the International Code Council (ICC) and Executive Director of the Alliance for National and Community Resilience
  • Randy Burkett, President and Principal Designer of Randy Burkett Lighting Design Inc., FIALD, FIES, International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD)
This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to expedite check-in.


Ap r. 25, 2019

Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), EPA is promulgating a rule to ensure that any discontinued uses of asbestos cannot re-enter the marketplace without EPA review, closing a loophole in the regulatory regime for asbestos.

Apr. 24, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) invites public comment on its Request for Information (RFI). The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Building Technologies Office (BTO) seeks input from the public about research and development opportunities in building energy modeling (BEM). In particular, BTO is interested in feedback on planned research and development initiatives and their prioritization, on program scope, and on data-sets, metrics and targets for assessing program effectiveness and impact.

Apr. 24, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) invites public comment on its Request for Information (RFI) on research and development opportunities for innovations in sensors and controls for building energy management. Through this RFI, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Building Technologies Office (BTO) seeks input on research and development opportunities for the integration and optimization of systems at the whole-building level through connected and controllable loads for increased energy affordability, improved occupant comfort, and enhanced provision of grid services that will strengthen the integration between buildings, other distributed energy resources, and the electric grid. This RFI will inform BTO's strategic planning moving forward in identifying early-stage and innovative technology solutions to meet these goals. Successful solutions will strengthen the affordability, reliability, and resiliency of the energy consumed by the buildings sector, contributing to DOE's priorities for the energy sector as a whole.

Apr. 19, 2019

Notice of an in-person meeting, and teleconference/web meetings, is being provided according to the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. This notice provides the schedule for a new teleconference/web meeting of the Green Building Advisory Committee (the Committee), the extended schedule for previously announced and ongoing biweekly Task Group teleconference/web meetings, and the updated schedule for a previously announced full advisory Committee meeting. All of these meetings are open for the public to either listen to or observe. Individuals interested in attending some or all of these meetings must register to attend as instructed below.

The Committee will hold a newly announced full teleconference/web meeting on Tuesday May 28, 2019, from 3:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (EDT), to 4:00 p.m., EDT.

International Trade Administration
Apr. 12, 2019

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (REEEAC or the Committee) will hold a meeting on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at the U.S. Department of Commerce Herbert C. Hoover Building in Washington, DC. The meeting is open to the public with registration instructions provided below.

DATES: May 7, 2019, from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). Members of the public wishing to participate must register in advance with Victoria Gunderson at the contact information below by 5:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, in order to pre-register, including any requests to make comments during the meeting or for accommodations or auxiliary aids.


Do you have a news item or announcement that would be of interest to the sustainable building policy community? Email it to info@agoragov.com and if appropriate we will include it in a future Washington Word.
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