On Dec. 2, Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) introduced the Federal Mechanical Insulation Act (FMIA) into the House.
This legislation seeks to ensure federal buildings are utilizing Mechanical Insulation, an important technology for energy efficiency applied to mechanical systems, including piping, equipment, vessels, HVAC, boilers and other similar equipment.
“This is one small step for legislation and one giant step to raise the consciousness of the Mechanical Insulation industry,” said Pete R. Ielmini, the Executive Director of the Mechanical Insulators Labor Management Cooperative Trust.
Ielmini thanked Sanchez for introducing the bill and acknowledged this is the first step in helping the U.S. government become more energy efficient.
In a prepared statement, Sanchez echoed Ielmini’s comments.
“As we continue efforts to bring down costs, reduce emissions, and protect our environment, energy efficiency has become a leading issue across the country,” said Sánchez. “Still, Mechanical Insulation – a practical and helpful solution – is often overlooked. Mechanical Insulation improves working environments, reduces energy demand, lowers energy costs and increases the asset value of a building. It accomplishes all of this while creating tens of thousands of American jobs. This legislation makes changes to the Energy Independence and Security Act to ensure our federal building managers, where appropriate, utilize mechanical insulation.”
If passed and signed into law, the Federal Mechanical Insulation Act would amend the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) to clarify that energy and water evaluations (i.e., audits) already required under law should evaluate the appropriate use of Mechanical Insulation to achieve energy efficiency goals.
The bill recognizes the important role Mechanical Insulation plays in lowering operating expenses, reducing energy loss and decreasing emissions. As such, the FMIA makes the following three specific changes to portions of the EISA:
- Defines Mechanical Insulation property as materials, facings and accessory products that are part of a mechanical system and reduce energy loss from that mechanical system – thereby allowing for the inclusion of these items to qualify as energy and water efficiency measures;
- Expands the definition of energy and water evaluations to include identification of energy- and water-saving measures (including installation of Mechanical Insulation property, if applicable);
- Requires a qualified individual to properly install Mechanical Insulation. A qualified individual is defined as one who has completed an apprenticeship registered under the National Apprenticeship Act of 1937.
In addition to being introduced by Sánchez, the FMIA is also co-sponsored by Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Danny Davis (D-IL), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Nanette Barragán, (D-CA), Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Sean Casten (D-IL).
A diverse array of industry stakeholders including business and labor interests support the FMIA:
- Central States Insulation Association (CSIA)
- Eastern States Insulation Contractors Association (ESICA)
- International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers (HFIAW)
- Mechanical Insulators Labor Management Cooperative Trust (LMCT)
- North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU)
- National Union Insulation Contractors Alliance (NUICA)
- Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART)
International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers General President Terrence M. Larkin, explained that the legislation is needed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower the carbon footprint of the U.S. and help create jobs for members of the HFIAW.
“…I want to offer my support for the Federal Mechanical Insulation Act of 2022,” said Larkin. “This is the exact type of political cooperation that is needed to bring awareness to the value of Mechanical Insulation as an effective energy-efficient technology that needs to be utilized in all our buildings. This successful legislation will increase the energy efficiency of our structures coupled with increased work opportunities for working families in all our communities.
“Increased insulation utilization will lower the building’s carbon footprint by utilizing Mechanical Insulation improvements and audits. We greatly appreciate the leadership of Rep. Linda Sánchez for her passion and continuing support of our Insulators’ families to elevate the country’s consciousness of the energy conservation landscape,” he added.
For Ielmini, the announcement by Sanchez that the bill was introduced by Congress showed its partnership with the firm State Federal Strategies is paying off, but there is more work to be done to get the bill enacted into law.
“This legislation would not be possible without the collaborative effort and hard work from Richard Sullivan and his legislative team from State Federal Strategies, LLC,” he said. “There is still a lot of work to do to get the bill passed, but we are in the game.”