Friday, July 13, 2012

BOMA International Advocacy Update - The Fiscal Cliff, Code Development and Energy Efficiency

Congress Likely to Face "Fiscal Cliff" at Year’s End – BOMA’s Grassroots to Respond

Should it fail to act prior to the November elections, Congress will have to address what has become known as the "fiscal cliff" during a lame duck session, as a wide array of temporary tax rates will expire and a variety of spending cuts will take effect that together total roughly $7 trillion. In addition, Congress must also consider how to handle the tax "extenders," most of which expired at the end of 2011, including the 15–year leasehold depreciation provision. Among the tax provisions set to expire include the Bush era tax cuts, reduced rates on dividends and capital gains, the payroll tax break, reduced rate and exemption levels for the estate tax, and the patch to the alternative minimum tax (AMT). On the spending front, Congress must decide how to address automatic cuts to defense and domestic programs that were triggered as a result of the failed Super Committee as well as reductions in Medicare reimbursements for doctors and emergency benefits for the long–term unemployed that will run out.

ICC Board Establishes IgCC Code Development Cycle in 2014

The Board of Directors of the International Code Council recently voted to move the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) into a separate development cycle in 2014. The ICC "family" of model codes are developed on a three–year publication cycle with the next editions due in 2015. Because of the large volume of code change proposals ICC must process for each of their thirteen codes during the publication cycle, ICC divided the codes into two groups, each with a one–year development process, starting in 2012. The third year of the publication cycle was initially expected to allow for publication of the new editions along with development of Commentaries and other field aids for each code, but the expected crush of proposals to modify the IgCC forced the Board to institute an additional development cycle in the third year.

BOMA advocates are heavily involved in the current 2012 cycle processing changes for the commercial building, plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas and private sewage disposal codes. The 2013 cycle will now process change proposals for the energy, existing commercial buildings, fire, property maintenance, residential, swimming pool, wildland–urban interface and zoning codes. The IgCC will be the only code processed in the 2014 cycle. 

ASHRAE releases Second Existing Building Energy Efficiency Guide

The Energy Efficiency Guide for Existing Commercial Buildings: Technical Implementation is the latest in the series of advanced energy efficiency guidelines wwwed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air–Conditioning Engineers, and the second existing building guidebook in the series. BOMA co–sponsored the development of the publication and will make the book available in the BOMA Store. This guide focuses on increasing energy efficiency through measuring and tracking efficiency and implementing a plan. It provides practical, easy to understood technical guidance for energy upgrades, retrofits and renovations to help building engineers and managers achieve at least a 30 percent improvement in energy performance.

BOMA also co–sponsored ASHRAE’s previous publication of the Energy Efficiency Guide for Existing Commercial Buildings, the Business Case for Building Owners and Managers. This guidebook provides the rationale for making economic decisions related to improving and sustaining energy efficiency in existing buildings. BOMA was significantly involved in the development of both of these existing building guidelines, serving on the steering committee overseeing the project and working to ensure the business case for the actions suggested was rigorously applied.

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