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January 2021  

Greetings

Hello, and welcome to the first MNASHRAE Newsletter of 2021!

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Upcoming Events

We have several events coming up in the next few weeks including a couple of Chapter meetings and the ASHRAE Winter Conference.

 

University of Minnesota Pandemic HVAC System Operations - From Guidelines to Game Plan

Join the Minnesota ASHRAE Chapter and MASMS on Wednesday, January 27th at 11:00am for a free webinar to hear from Jay Denny about how the University of Minnesota has interpreted Covid-response ventilation guidelines from ASHRAE and the CDC and applied them to their campus building operations.

Register for the meeting here

 

Live Fired Combustion Presentation for YEA Members

Join the Young Engineers in ASHRAE group for a fun virtual hands on approach to tuning combustion on a boiler on January 28th from 4:00-5:00pm. We will live fire a boiler and check combustion, just like on one of our standard boiler commissioning. With that, we will be able to see the effects that full fire, low fire and return water temperature have on combustion efficiency. We can explore what improper combustion may sound or look like on the analyzer, and discuss why it is important that these boilers are properly calibrated.

Register here

 

The 2021 ASHRAE Virtual Winter Conference will take place in a convenient, online format February 9-11. Attendees can join live discussions with top experts, learn the latest updates relating to COVID-19, and have access to 90+ technical sessions for 18 months. Group rates are available, and members register for just $249.

 

 What to Expect:

    • Three days packed with learning and live discussions with top experts
    • Special sessions covering the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic
    • 8 Tracks with 40 live and more than 80 on-demand sessions (most with PDHs), available for 18 months
    • Updates from Society leaders, Women in ASHRAE keynote presentation and recognition of ASHRAE Honors and Awards recipients
    • Virtual technical tours, social events, meet-ups, and networking opportunities

 

Go to the Winter Conference Website for more information and registration.

 

Refrigeration Seminar Save the Dates

The MN ASHRAE Refrigeration Seminar will be held as a virtual event this year.  There will be 4 presentations like we would normally have but due to the nature of the virtual setting, we will split them up between two different days, Febrary 16th and February 23rd from 11:00am-2:00pm each day.

Check the MNASHRAE website for more details about scheduled presentations soon!

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Announcements

We have several students that are active in Student ASHRAE branches that are currently looking for summer internships.  We would love to connect them with local open positions.  If your company is hiring interns and would like us to forward this information to the students, please send an email to [email protected]

 

The 2021 CRC is coming up at the end of April and is to be held in Green Bay, WI.

With COVID still out there and some people being more anxious about going to public places and meetings we are asking you to please take a moment and visit our chapters ASHRAE website: https://www.newiashrae.org/. On the top of the home page you will find a single Poll question; “How will you be attending the CRC in April?” (You may have to scroll to the right a bit depending on your window size)  We are trying to gauge in person attendance, so if you could take a moment and go to this site, it would go a long way in helping us finalize our plans for this event. We are asking for you to do this before 1-29-21 as we have to make our decision soon. At this time we are hoping to have a hybrid meeting with part virtual and part in person. Your responses will help us decide how much, if any, will be in person.

 

COVID-19 Related Resources

 

The ASHRAE family is reminded of just how critical our collective expertise and knowledge is as we come together in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working hard to ensure that members and industry professionals have easy access to critical ASHRAE technical resources. It is extremely important to support each other and come together during these challenging times. Here are a few ways we're working to support you:
 
Members Get Free Online Access to ASHRAE Handbooks 
ASHRAE's top priority is the public's health and safety, and we recognize that many of our members must continue to work while in isolation. To make things a little easier during this difficult time, we are offering members free access to ASHRAE Handbook Online. This powerful tool offers access from any device to the complete four-volume set of ASHRAE Handbooks - nearly 4,000 pages of expert technical guidance, along with sound and video clips, spreadsheets and other supplemental resources. Free member access will be available through June 30th. Learn More
 

New Epidemic Task Force
The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has been established to help deploy ASHRAE's technical resources to address the challenges of the current pandemic and future epidemics as it relates to the effects of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems on disease transmission in healthcare facilities, the workplace, home, public and recreational environments. The primary role of the task force is to maintain communication with members, industry partners, building owners, facility operators, government agencies and the general public. Learn More

 

Free Instructor-Led Course: Reducing Infectious Disease Transmission with UVGI
April 21, 2020 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM EDT
The ASHRAE Learning Institute developed this free online course to help address the coronavirus disease in the operation and maintenance of healthcare HVAC systems. This presentation by 2013-14 ASHRAE Presidential Member and chair of the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force William Bahnfleth, Ph.D., P.E., provides an overview of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) to reduce risk of infectious disease transmission by inactivating pathogens in the air and on surfaces. The course is FREE to everyone, although registration is required. Learn More

 

Newly Updated COVID-19 Resource Page
ashrae.org/covid19 is an online compilation of over 50 free resources related specifically to combating the spread of COVID-19 This page is newly updated and relaunched with additional resources. Available resources include ASHRAE Journal papers, Handbook chapters, ASHRAE standards and guidelines, conference seminars and much more. This page is updated regularly—check back as additional information becomes available. Learn More

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Government Affairs Committee (GAC) Corner

The Sars-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic is reaching an all-time high in the United States. ASHRAE-MN members continue leading by example:  maintaining good hand hygiene, social distances and mask use.  ASHRAE’s Epidemic Taskforce continues to provide guidance on ventilation within our buildings, including residential homes.  See the most recent recommendations here:  click here.

 

  1. Congress Passes Government Funding Bill with COVID-19 Relief Provisions 

In December, Congress passed a $2.3 trillion legislative package to fund the government through September 30, 2021. The package also provided $900 billion in Coronavirus relief and included energy and tax provisions. The 5,593-page bill included the following:

  • Appropriations: With $1.4 trillion to fund the government in FY 2021, there were large increases to several programs that impact the building sector. The bill provides the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) office with $2.86 billion, an increase of $72 million above the fiscal year 2020 level and $9.24 billion for the EPA, $180 million above the 2020 enacted level. The EPA funding includes $40 million for the EnergySTAR program.
  • COVID-19 Relief: The legislation approves up to $600 in direct payments to Americans of a certain income and revives a $300-per-week supplemental benefit for the unemployed. The relief measure also provides billions of dollars in aid for businesses. Additionally, $82 billion was allocated to the Education Stabilization Fund, which includes funding for schools for updating their building systems to improve indoor air quality and minimize viral transmission.
  • Tax Extenders: Several energy focused tax incentives were reauthorized. This included a permanent extension of the 179D tax deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings. The tax deduction also updated ASHRAE Reference Standard 90.1 from the 2007 standard to the most recent standard as of two years before the start of construction, in addition to increasing the deduction by accounting for inflation.
  • HFC Phasedown: The legislation will require a phasedown of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 85% over 15 years, per the schedule in the Kigali amendment to the Montreal protocol. ASHRAE has supported this legislation (the AIM Act) previously and it was included in ASHRAE’s Public Policy Priorities for Society Year 2020-2021.
  • Energy Provisions: Numerous energy provisions were included in the package, including building energy and water efficiency measures for schools, federal buildings and data centers; smart building accelerator program; and reauthorization of the weatherization assistance program. The bill in total includes $35 billion in energy technology authorizations, but money will need to still be appropriated next year.

 

  1. State and Local Budget Issues Persist Heading into 2021

The recently passed federal COVID-19 relief bill includes additional funding for areas linked to state and local government, including nearly $82 million that was allocated to the Education Stabilization Fund, of which $54 billion is designated for K-12 schools and $22 billion for higher education; $14 billion for transit systems; and additional funding for vaccine-related initiatives.
However, state and local budgets will likely still be in flux until the new COVID-19 vaccines are more widely administered and economic activity returns closer to normal. The pandemic has affected states in different ways and at different magnitudes — for example, states that have no individual income taxes and a higher reliance on sales taxes, including Florida and Texas, are enduring some of the steepest declines in revenue. States like Hawaii and Nevada, where tourism and service industries are big parts of the economy, are also deeply affected. The National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) released a "Fiscal Survey of States" report in December showing that in fiscal 2020, 15 states made withdrawals from their rainy-day emergency funds and another 10 have done so already in fiscal 2021. States reported that rainy day fund balances are down about $12.2 billion compared to 2019. Near-term deficit borrowing could mean some localities end up extending their fiscal pain out through the next two or three years. The full NASBO report can be found here.

  1. Schrader and McKinley Introduce Bipartisan Clean Energy Bill 

On December 28, Congressmen Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and David McKinley, P.E. (R-WV) introduced the Clean Energy Future through Innovation Act of 2020. The bill aims to make significant investments and authorize several tax incentives for carbon capture, renewables, energy efficiency and storage. Additionally, the bill would create a Federal clean electricity standard for utilities. The bill was introduced at the end of the 116th Congress and is likely to be re-introduced in the new Congress. To read the full bill, click here.

  1. ACEEE Releases 2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

The 2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released in December, analyzes the energy efficiency efforts of all 50 U.S. states and Washington, DC. It tracks policies and programs to reduce energy use, such as adopting or advancing energy-saving targets, vehicle rules or appliance standards. The 2020 Scorecard found that states, many of which have set ambitious climate goals since 2018, had to abruptly shift their focus to mitigate the health and economic impacts of the deadly global pandemic, but some were still able to make progress on energy efficiency. These include California, New York, Washington, Massachusetts and several others. The report includes details on state progress, as well as highlighting a "state to watch" in each U.S. region. The full report and fact sheets for each state can be found here

  1. State-Level Report on Building Electrification in 2020

The Rocky Mountain Institute released a report in December regarding state-level progress made on building electrification in 2020. Despite having to address the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, many states and cities were still able to take action to address the climate impacts of buildings. These include all-electric building codes and heat pump deployments, as well as an increased focus on requiring all-electric appliances in new construction and phasing out gas appliances in existing buildings. More state-level efforts are expected in 2021, given President-Elect Biden’s climate plan, which aims to cut the carbon footprint of U.S. building stock 50% by 2035. The report, with more information on individual states’ efforts, can be found here

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