American Gas Association Update on End Use Codes and Standards

AGA  Sponsors the International Code Council (ICC) Building Safety Month (BSM) in May.
Again this year, AGA is a major sponsor of the ICC Building Safety Month (BSM) celebrated by jurisdictions worldwide during the month of May. Building Safety Month is a public awareness campaign to help individuals, families and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures. The campaign reinforces the need for adoption of modern, model building codes including the International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC), a strong and efficient system of code enforcement and a well-trained, professional workforce to maintain the system. The campaign is presented by the ICC and its 57,000 members worldwide along with a diverse partnership of professionals from the building construction, design and safety community. AGA’s support of Building Safety Month reflects our continued commitment for the need for safe and sustainable structures where we live, work and play.
Codes and Standards Begins Coordinating with Other Stakeholders on International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) Appeal of Final Actions.
Following up on last Friday’s “Update” item on IECC final actions and appeal opportunities, Codes and Standards has reached out to NAHB, APGA, NPGA, and AHRI to develop common ground on final actions deserving coverage in appeals and opportunities to file joint appeal motions. Four code changes will be the subject of AGA’s appeal covering electrification-related initiatives and potential violations of federal pre-emption of national minimum efficiency standards for appliances and equipment.  It is anticipated that not all organizations contacted by Codes and Standards would, on their own, appeal all four code changes, but it is recognized that a single unified appeal petition would likely produce the most favorable results.  AGA BECS staff  has reviewed the ICC appeals procedures documented in ICC CP#1, ”Appeals,” and is targeting specific staff actions as providing the basis for a procedural appeal covering the subject four code change proposals.  Next week, the BECS staff will draft an annotated outline of the appeal petition for circulation among the contacted organizations.  The draft will also be shared with the BECS Committee membership for review and comment.  All appeals of the IECC final actions are due May 8th.
DOE Publishes a Request for Comment Pertaining to the Prioritization of Rulemakings.
On Tuesday, April 15th, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a Federal Register notice initiating an effort to elicit information from stakeholders and the public concerning the prioritization of appliance and equipment efficiency rulemakings pursuant to the Department’s updated and modernized rulemaking methodology titled, “Procedures, Interpretations, and Policies for Consideration of New or Revised Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedures for Consumer Products and Commercial/Industrial Equipment” (Process Rule). This rule expands early opportunities for public input on the Appliance Program’s priority setting of its rulemaking activities. DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding this request for comment until May 15, 2020. One potential area of interest for the BECS Committee is filing comments requesting a high priority for DOE to  act more quickly on  finalizing  a gas industry proposed rule that would establish separate product classes for natural gas furnaces as DOE outlined in the July 11, 2019 Federal Register.  Comments can be may submitted identified by docket number EERE–2020–BT–STD–0004 , by email (PrioritySetting2020STD0004@ee.doe.gov), Federal eRulemaking portal (http://www.regulations.gov) postal mail, or hand delivery/courier. Additionally more information can be found here on the Process Rule.
The Natural Resources Defense Council and Others File Lawsuit Challenging DOE’s “Process Rule”.
On Monday, April 14th,  the Natural Resources Defense Council  filed a lawsuit (attached) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit challenging the Energy Department’s “process rule” that limits when the agency can create new energy efficiency standards for appliances. The DOE rule finalized in January requires that any new energy efficiency rule must save 0.3 quadrillion BTUs over 30 years, a standard that DOE says only 60 percent of efficiency rules created over the last 30 years have met. Energy efficiency advocates slammed the rule as setting too high a bar for creating rules that would drive efficiency improvements.  Politico reported that  Joe Vukovich, attorney and clean energy advocate for NRDC’s Climate and Clean Energy program, said in a statement. “Household and business budgets will feel the harsh blow, as will the environment, because of this DOE’s relentless efforts to undermine the energy efficiency standards program and benefit industry.”  As a reminder, AGA is on record supporting the updated DOE “Process Rule” and the rule has the support of appliance manufacturers.  AGA legal  and BECS staff is considering filing AGA needs to consider filing a “motion to intervene” on behalf of DOE on this court filing. The revised DOE  Process Rule is an important upgrade for developing appliance and equipment minimum efficiency standards in an open and  transparent manner.
DOE Publishes a Request for Information Pertaining to Test Procedures to Consumer Water Heaters.
On Wednesday April 16th, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)  published a Federal Register notice initiating a data collection process through this request for information (RFI), to consider whether to amend DOE’s current test procedure for consumer water heaters and residential-duty commercial water heaters. DOE is seeking data and information pertinent to whether amended test procedures would more accurately or fully comply with the requirement that the test procedure produces results that measure energy use during a representative average use cycle for the product, and not be unduly burdensome to conduct. DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding this RFI until June 1, 2020. Commenters can submit comments identified by docket number EERE–2019–BT–TP–0032 , by email (WaterHeaters2019TP0032@ee.doe.gov), Federal eRulemaking portal (http://www.regulations.gov) postal mail, or hand delivery/courier. Frequently Asked Questions on the request for information pertaining to Water Heaters.  The BECS Committee will be previewing the RFI and one potential comment can be to include provisions and testing criteria for separate product classes for natural gas water heaters covered by the test procedure.
State Codes Activity Update.
[This is a new weekly feature of the “Friday Update” covering state code calendar activities as presented by the online utility “Fiscal Note,” which is sponsored by APGA and AGA Code and Standards.  PLEASE NOTE:  Fiscal Note provides summary information on selected items on its “alerts,” but to maintain brevity, summaries are not included in the “Friday Update.” Codes and Standards can provide this information upon request.]
 
Priority Activity Alerts
State
Date
Title
NY
04/04/2020
This Guidance responds to questions raised by Code Enforcement Personnel regarding whether building departments should remain open and operating during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This Guidance also provides helpful information for Code Enforcement Officials regarding the recently issued Executive Orders.
NY
04/09/2020
The NY State Department of Economic Development issued guidance for determining whether a business enterprise is subject to a workforce reduction under recent executive orders.
CO
04/06/2020
Gov. Polis signed an Executive Order amending and extending D 2020 017 to extend the state-wide stay at home order until April 26, 2020. View here. The Governor also rescinded Executive Order D 2020 013 requiring all Colorado employers to reduce their in-person workforce by 50%. This is being rescinded because it is superseded by the stay at home Executive Order.
 
Upcoming Code Body Meetings
State
Body
Date
Address
Agenda
FL
Florida Building Commission
04/07/2020
Teleconference
MA
Board of Building Regulation and Standards
04/14/2020
Teleconference
CA
Planning Commission Meeting
04/16/2020
Teleconference
 
Bills with Recent Activity
State
Bill #
Bill Title
Primary Sponsor(s)
Last Action
Last Action Date
N/A
N/A
NO RECENT UPDATES
N/A
N/A
N/A
Summary: N/A