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Posts Tagged ‘DOE’

Prelude to the Department of Energy’s Energy Standards

June 17th, 2016 Comments off

electric_meter_fotoseach_2_comThe United States Government Publishing Office summarizes the Energy Conservation Standards for Manufactured Housing according to the Department of Energy guidelines thusly: ”The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is publishing a proposed rule to implement the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which directs DOE to establish energy conservation standards for manufactured housing. DOE proposes to establish energy conservation standards for manufactured housing based on the negotiated consensus recommendations of the manufactured housing working group (MH working group).

The MH working group’s recommendations were based on the 2015 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the impact of the IECC on the purchase price of manufactured housing, total lifecycle construction and operating costs, factory design and construction techniques unique to manufactured housing, and the current construction and safety standards set forth by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

MHProNews understands the Dept. of Energy will accept public comments before and after the July 13, public meeting in Washington, D. C., but no later than Aug. 16, 2016. ##

(Photo credit: fotosearch–electric meter)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

MHARR’s Mark Weiss Chides the DOE and MHI for their “Buddy System”

June 3rd, 2016 Comments off

m_mark_weiss_mharr_pesident__mhpronews__creditThe Department of Energy (DOE) sent the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) a copy of the  proposed new energy standards rule before its official publication, leading MHProNews and MHLivingNews publisher L. A. “Tony” Kovach to contact M. Mark Weiss, the President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) for his take on the matter.

When asked why the DOE would send the rule before it is published in the Federal Register, Weiss says DOE knows of the opposition in the industry to the rule, plus MHI can put a positive spin on the rule to ameliorate the blow. Weiss notes, no doubt somewhat wryly, DOE would not afford MHARR the same courtesy—probably because he has vehemently opposed the rule from the beginning.

He says the rule adds unnecessary costs to the homes, discriminating against smaller businesses and consumers who will have to pay more, wiping out a chunk of potential buyers.

When Kovach suggested the new rule removes energy efficiency choices from consumers, Weiss responded that it is a one-size fits all approach. He says, “MHARR and other opponents of the rule have shown that today’s manufactured homes are already energy-efficient and that enhanced energy packages are already available on an optional basis for those home buyers who want them. Some home buyers choose to spend their dollars on those optional energy packages, while others choose upgraded kitchens, upgraded bathrooms, upgraded flooring, or other amenities, but that is their choice.”

The National Association of Home Builders did a study that revealed increasing the price of a new manufactured home by $1,000 would rule out 347,901 potential buyers; raising the price of a double-section MH $1,000 would disqualify 315,385 households from being able to afford it.

The DOE Working Group that developed the rule says the added cost to each home should be $2,000 to $4,000, while MHARR says it is more like $6,000 and possibly more.

Says Weiss, “At best, going along and supporting this process reflects bad judgment on the part of MHI. At worst, it amounts to seeking government assistance in hurting the industry’s small businesses.”

He says MHARR will continue to oppose the new rule, and will have an announcement to make, plus comments to the DOE, once the rule is published in the Federal Register.

For the entire interview click here. ##

(Photo credit: MHProNews -M. Mark Weiss)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

MHARR says the DOE is Seeking Support for New Manufactured Home Energy Standards

June 11th, 2015 Comments off

mharr logoThe Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) tells MHProNews a Department of Energy (DOE) contractor, Navigant Consulting, is contacting producers of manufactured housing, especially smaller manufacturers, to obtain feedback on new proposed energy standards for manufactured housing. MHARR maintains the new standards are unnecessary and excessively costly, although they are supported by larger manufacturers.

The recommendations resulted from the Working Group process of last year and may form the basis for a DOE rule which is expected soon. MHARR says because of its vehement opposition to these new standards, the DOE is seeking feedback from individual producers that will support its position in establishing these new rules. MHARR wants to be notified if and when Navigant attempts to contact manufactured home producers. ##

(Image credit: Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

MHARR Questions Energy Department rules Governing Manufactured Housing

March 25th, 2015 Comments off

mharr logoOn March 16, a delegation of Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) executives met with U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Dr. Kathleen Hogan, and other officials, to discuss manufactured housing (MH) energy rules under consideration by DOE. MHARR tells MHProNews the rulemaking process by DOE has been tainted from the beginning, aimed to obtain a particular result that would be harmful to the overall MH industry.

Specifically, MHARR says one rule was prematurely leaked to an interested party; and a directive to DOE from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to begin the rulemaking process from the beginning was basically ignored. Further, the DOE negotiated rulemaking would prohibitively raise the costs of MH to the consumer.

In a March 20, 2015 letter to DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz, MHARR has asked for a complete internal investigation of the rulemaking process from 2007 to the present by DOE’s Inspector General. Additionally, MHARR wants the opportunity to present relevant materials at a future meeting. For the full report and the letter to Secretary Moniz, please click here. ##

(Image credit: Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com   Article submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

MHARR Objects to DOE Energy Standards for Manufactured Housing

March 13th, 2015 Comments off

2015-03-13_2127The Department of Energy (DOE) Request for Information (RFI) dealing with the DOE’s development of manufactured housing energy standards and subsequent Solar Heat Gain Coefficient for MH has elicited a strong response from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

MHProNews has learned MHARR has objected to the DOE rulemaking, saying the DOE selectively leaked “a draft proposed energy rule to parties in interest,” and ignored an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directive to restart the rulemaking from the beginning.

MHARR, therefore, objects to any decision involving DOE’s SHGC analysis, saying DOE should “terminate the present rulemaking and return this matter to Congress for reconsideration based on full hearings and participation by all interested stakeholders.”

In addition, notwithstanding that manufactured homes already have energy costs equal to or better than other types of housing, MHARR says the sustained procedural irregularities in this rulemaking led it to vote against the standards as a member of DOE’s Working Group. MHARR further avows to work against any such standards in the future. ##

(Image credit: Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com   Article submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Manufactured Homes: Solution to Need for Baby Boomer Housing

June 19th, 2014 Comments off

Manufactured housing communities (MHCs) may be an environmentally friendly solution for housing the millions of retiring Baby Boomers, and are often safe, pleasant areas that provide a sense of community, ideal for retirees, according to motherearthnews.com. Noting 20 million Americans live in MH, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) estimates 23 percent of heads of manufactured homes are retired. Not only is there much less waste in building manufactured homes since they are built in a factory to exact specifications away from the weather, but research by the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) reveals energy efficient MH can save 55 percent in energy costs when compared to a home without energy saving materials and appliances. With the U. S. producing 30 percent of the world’s waste, as MHProNews has learned, manufactured housing is one way to reduce the carbon footprint. Additionally, as more people live in manufactured homes, the negative connotations associated with MH will eventually dissipate. ##

(Photo credit: archerland2005/flickr.com–manufactured home)

Government Budget Includes Manufactured Housing Provisions

February 2nd, 2014 Comments off

The omnibus spending bill that Congress passed and the president signed to keep the federal government operating through 2014 includes provisions relating to manufactured housing. One in particular specifically requires the secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) select an administrator of the Office of Manufactured Housing within 120 days or risk a $50,000 daily budget cut.

The measure also provides up to $7,530,000 to operate the manufactured housing program, of which $6,530,000 is to be derived from the Manufactured Housing Fees Trust Fund and $1,000,000 from the government’s general fund. HUD is also required to modify fees to ensure the $7.5 million appropriation, MHProNews.com has learned. Additionally, the spending bill directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to work with HUD, the industry and tenant groups to improve the energy efficiency of manufactured homes, while taking into account the initial costs as well as long-term maintenance of any modifications.

(Photo credit: Jeff Beiermann/theworld.com–Nebraska manufactured home producers)

MHARR’s HUD/MHI Missive: on the record, “No Comment,” but off the record…

February 1st, 2014 Comments off

broadside-darius-danny-ghorbani-president-mharr-salvo-on-hud-logo-manufactured-housing-association-for-regulatory-reform-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews-.jpMHARR’s president “broadsided” HUD – as well as MHI – on Thursday, January 29th with an emailed release. The timing seemed odd, observers told MHProNews, as this took place in the immediate aftermath of an extraordinary semiannual oversight hearing on Capitol Hill. Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s Financial Services Committee had members from both parties peppering Richard Cordray with questions on the handling of manufactured housing regulations by the CFPB.

MHProNews outreaches to MHARR and MHI officials alike drew no reply (MHARR’s DC office) and no comment (MHI’s office).  But off the record statements have come in from a variety of sources, including those close to both of the manufactured housing industry’s national associations, state association leaders and other professionals in the industry.

One neutral source said off the record, “I agree with each of Danny’s comments about HUD.  I disagree about lack of progress or losing ground.”

A source close to MHI said, we …”have much bigger battles to fight than engaging in a war of words with someone who hasn’t accomplished anything for our industry since the passage of (the) Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000,” a reference to Danny Ghorbani, President at MHARR.

One MHARR source told us they agreed with every aspect of the MHARR release.

However, while some echoed that, other members in the MHARR camp are split on the release’s attack on MHI, and some related strategic and tactical issues. Some see the Darius “Danny” Ghorbani led group as acting properly, while others see MHARR’s president as being dead right on issues, but wrong on engagement methods with MHI, and often tactically mistaken in dealing with regulators.

Or as one MHARR member said when asked about the division in their ranks on tactics, timing and wording, “obviously, we are a varied group at MHARR.”

A veteran of DC and industry issues told MHProNews, “…note the wide-spread, bi-partisan support for the industry at the (Financial Services Committee) hearing. And, more importantly…such a broad and loud outcry (at the recent Financial Services Hearing with CFPB’s ) doesn’t happen organically, but as the result of a strategic (and) successful lobbying effort on behalf of…” state associations and MHI.

Indeed, in a video MHProNews plans to feature in the near term, 10 members of the committee raise concerns with Cordray, including the ranking Democrat, Maxine Waters (D-CA). Others included, Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN), Reps. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Bill Clay (D-MO), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Greg Meeks (D-NY), Steve Pearce (R-NM) and Terri Sewell (D-AL).

“What is certain is that manufactured housing has not had this level of momentum on Capitol Hill in at least 6 years, if not longer.” another source told us.  “MHI and the aligned states (associations) have done a lot of good work, in a tough political environment.  Anyone who knows politics and lobbying knows that it takes time to get things done, especially when you don’t have tons of money to throw at lobbying. Danny’s (Ghorbani) disappointed that MHARR working with MHI for a year has not shown huge results? Excuse me? What can he point to of substance that he achieved in the last few years? Things are tough in DC! Danny’s timing looks short sighted, or worse, in the light of the facts and history.”

Will the MHARR release slow momentum in DC or on the Hill? “Unlikely.” said one when asked. “The states and MHI have some real traction at this point. Danny’s broadside won’t harm MHI, the states, perhaps not anyone but Danny himself. Some will be glad he did it, because they share Danny’s frustrations with HUD.  But is this the way to get real change done? There is a real difference of opinion within the ranks of MHARR, (whose members) often agree with Danny on policy and goals, but not always agree on his style or timing.”

MHProNews will monitor the topic, as sources aligned with MHARR tell us that a concerted ‘tag team’ effort to use the MHARR release will be made by a handful of disgruntled MHI members in the days ahead.

The full MHARR release – which sparked the comments above – is linked here. ##

(Editor’s Note: Remember, “We Provide, You Decide.” ©  Opinions on this topic or others of industry interest are welcomed and encouraged.)

(Image Danny Ghorbani smiles at the broadside by the USS Missouri at HUD’s logo. Image Credits: Wikicommons, HUD logo and MHProNews)

Modular Entry from Solar Decathlon on Display in Albuquerque

December 17th, 2013 Comments off

Combining forces, the University of New Mexico and Arizona State University entered a solar modular home in the U. S. Dept. of Energy (DOE)s’ Solar Decathlon held in Oct. at Irvine, California, winning first prize in the “energy balance” category and in the top ten in other categories. “SHADE (Solar Homes Adapting for Desert Equilibrium) pays tribute to the interdependence of desert plant life while maximizing occupant comfort and flexibility,” according to what the organizers related to bizjournals.com. The house features rainwater cachement tanks, modular furniture, solar canopies, capillary radiant heating and a “whole-house” control system. MHProNews has learned the modular home will be on display at Mesa del Sol in south Albuquerque, New Mexico through March.

(Photo credit: Joanie Griffin/bizjournals.com—SHADE)

Sam Zell says, Open the Kimono

November 20th, 2013 Comments off

sam-zell-nareit-reitworld-2013-lunch-speaker-credit-globest-posted-daily-business-news- (1)Sam Zell told the REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) Industry in San Francisco, “Open Kimono, total transparency.” That was the key to success for REITs, said the chairman of Equity Lifestyle Properties (ELS), Equity Group Investments (EGI) and Equity Residential (EQR). Zell said that when the government passed the original REIT Act, the purpose was to create an opportunity for the “little old lady of Pasadena” to be able to invest and own a piece of America’s commercial real estate. “The whole concept that we were wrestling with in 1993 was how we could fulfill that objective.” globest tells MHProNews. “If you believe that the US position as a reserve currency is very important, than you have a leadership responsibility to take steps to protect it and I don’t think it is happening, and the risk is huge.” words that echoed our earlier report, “Our Way of Life is Very Much Threatened.” Zell add that “Every time the Government interferes and try to deter the rules of economics, it doesn’t work.”

A related Sam Zell story can be found in the Industry In Focus reports, linked here. ##

(Photo credit: globest)