BECS Staff Responds to ASHRAE SSPC 105 Rejection of AGA Comments.
In May, BECS Codes and Standards staff was notified of SSPC 105’s rejection of AGA’s comments calling for withdrawal of proposed revisions to ASHRAE Standard 105, ““Standard Methods of Determining, Expressing and Comparing Building Energy Performance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” AGA’s rationale for withdrawal was based upon the proposal’s incomplete tables for full fuel cycle energy conversion and emission factors and deficiencies in the use of “captured energy” to account for renewable energy system loses to account for “grid inertia” requirements.  The reasoning of SSPC 105 for the incomplete conversion tables in the proposal was that it provided jurisdictions greater flexibility in using conversion factors more appropriate to its unique energy mix.  AGA’s response to this position was that empty tables suggest only that SSPC 105 could not reach consensus on proper conversion values, leading to a standard that has broad latitude for inconsistent use. As such, the proposed tables were not justified as appropriate “standards” coverage of fuel cycle considerations.  SSPC 105’s responses in neither the case of incomplete tables nor the captured energy application addressed AGA’s arguments for withdrawal.  As a consequence, AGA filed its response this week that it was “unresolved” by the Committee action. 
As reported in the June 9th S&P Global Market Intelligence (attached),  a report on a study by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) “called for policymakers to incentivize residential heat pumps, citing new analysis that finds converting to the technology from natural gas furnaces would cut planet-warming emissions in nearly every U.S. state.” Specifically, the RMI study  “found that replacing a gas furnace with an electric-powered air source heat pump would lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions in 46 of the Lower 48 states. Only Wyoming and Utah, which remain reliant on coal for much of their electric power generation, do not have clean enough grids to yield emissions reductions from heat pump conversions, the study found.”  Note that AGA staff has commented that it is not possible to “scrutinize the RMI analysis since the assumptions aren’t shared.” In addition,  AGA commissioned a study in December 2019 that concluded new high-efficiency gas heating technology could cut greenhouse gas emissions from homes by 24% to 40% through 2050 however RMI and the Sierra Club criticized the report, saying “it relied on technologies that have yet to hit the market.” As a reminder, the RMI  has a “ Building Electrification Program”, which aims to end the burning of fossil fuels in buildings and recall from previous BECS End Use Codes and Standards Updates, RMI has alleged that gas stoves are a primary source of indoor air pollution and that this pollution can be prevented by transitioning to electric appliances powered by clean energy that also boost economic growth.  It is expected that RMI will be actively participating in the model energy codes and standards development proceedings ( i.e. ASHRAE, ICC, etc.) and the gas industry needs to be prepared to respond to the pro-electrification, anti-fossil fuel provisions that can be adopted into the national model codes without a full vetting of justifying the impact of such provisions.
CSA Group Seeks AGA BECS Assistance  in Development of Expanded Hydrogen/Natural Gas Testing on Appliances and Equipment.
In response to a request from a major Canadian natural gas utility to expand testing of gas appliances and equipment for operation on blends of hydrogen and natural gas, CSA Group has requested that AGA work with it and the utility to help develop testing plans for appliances and equipment from field installations for laboratory-based operational testing on various blends.  Currently, it is envisioned that blends to be tested by CSA Group would exceed the current exploratory program blends of 5% and 15% being used in new appliance testing sponsored by CSA Group, AHRI, and AGA, which is scheduled for publication in September.  CSA Group is investigating using under-committed resources from the exploratory testing program for potential contributions to the expanded program. It is envisioned that CSA Group would lead the testing.  AGA  BECS staff will be discussing the program with the Canadian utility and subsequently CSA Group in the coming weeks. Codes and Standards staff has already had engagement with the Canadian utility principal investigator through mutual work on the IGU Research, Development, and Innovation (R, D &I) Committee.
BECS Staff  Presents Overview of ASHRAE COVID-19 Guidance on Energy Solutions Center (ESC) “Webathon.”
Following up on its work on COVID-19 response at ASHRAE for residential buildings and ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force, Ted Williams presented at this week’s Energy Solutions Center (ESC) “Webathon”, a summary of ASHRAE activities and ASHRAE SSPC 62.2’s debate over technical input on guidance to the Task Force.  The Webathon presentation is available in the BECS Committee Area of the AGA website under “Presentations” here.  More information on the three-day ESC Webathon program is available from ESC.  The presentation covered the breadth of ASHRAE activities under the auspices of the Epidemic Task Force and focused upon guidance for residential buildings, including efforts at developing consensus over building air filtration requirements, interaction of fresh air for ventilation with maintaining appropriate temperature and humidity levels, and effectiveness and potential unintended consequences of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on ventilation system air streams.  The presentation also presented considerations of the ASHRAE “position document” on virus-laden aerosols and recent technical discussions of potential virus transmission via aerosols, which is in contrast to droplet-laden transmission associated with the current 6-foot “social distancing” guidance.  ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force information is available from the ASHRAE website here.
State Codes Activity Update
[This is a 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.]
Recent Activity Alerts
The Denver Development Services published a draft of the Denver Green Code.
Code Body Meetings
Uniform Construction Code Advisory Board
Teleconference* (For those of you from the public that would like to attend virtually, please submit a request to
Codes and Standards Committee
Board of Building Regulations and Standards
Fire Prevention & Building Safety Commission Meeting
Florida Building Commission
Building Code Council
Bills with Recent Activity
Bill #
Bill Title
Primary Sponsor(s)
Last Action
Last Action Date
Building codes: earthquake safety: functional recovery standard.
Adrin Nazarian (D)
In Assembly; In committee: Held under submission
Summary:  This bill would require the commission, by June 30, 2021, to assemble a functional recovery working group comprised of certain state entities and members of the construction and insurance industries, as specified. The bill would require the working group, by June 30, 2023, to consider whether a “functional recovery” standard is warranted for all or some building occupancy classifications, using specified criteria, and to investigate the practical means of implementing that standard, as specified. The bill would require the working group to advise the appropriate state agencies to propose the building standards, as specified. The bill would authorize the commission to adopt regulations based upon the recommendations from the working group for nonresidential occupancies. The bill would define “functional recovery” for purpose of these provisions, as specified. The bill would provide legislative findings in support of these provisions.