Category Archives: Energy efficiency

RMI: How applying Deep Retrofit Value makes for Better Buildings

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Buildings consume more energy than any other sector — 42 percent of the nation’s primary energy and 72 percent of its electricity. And at current trend and performance levels, fossil fuel use in commercial buildings will increase, not decrease, by 2050, when 65 percent of today’s commercial square footage is predicted to be still standing.

This is why in 2011 President Obama announced the Better Buildings Initiative and launched the Better Buildings Challenge to push CEOs, university presidents, state and local government leaders, building owners and others to commit their organizations to reduce their annual energy use by 20 percent over 10 years while showcasing the best energy-saving strategies and their results.

Better Buildings has scored major wins in its first two years: More than 170 organizations are in the Better Buildings Challenge, committing more than 3 billion square feet of building floor space. With clear success garnering broad support for energy savings in the near term, the Better Buildings Initiative has driven the commercial and industrial sectors onto the path of mitigating climate change and reducing fossil fuel dependence.

But to reach the finish line, commercial buildings must become closer to being 40 percent more energy efficient by 2050. Achieving these deeper levels of savings more broadly will require a scaling up of investment in energy efficiency. RMI’s new practice guide on how to calculate and present value from deep energy retrofits can help drive that investment.


A new DOE proposal would cement a big leap in lighting efficiency, but Congress is preventing even bigger savings

Read the full post from ACEEE.

New energy-saving standards for certain types of incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE) last Friday mark another important step in improving lighting efficiency in the United States. DOE’s proposal further advances strong standards completed in 2009. Together, the 2009 standards and the proposed increases announced last week dramatically improve reflector lamp and fluorescent tube lamp efficiency by 70% and 23% respectively. Unfortunately, a congressional budget rider prevents DOE from saving even more.

Friday’s proposal covers incandescent reflector lamps, the cone-shaped light bulbs used in track lighting and recessed light fixtures, and fluorescent tube lamps, which are ubiquitous in office buildings. The sheer number of these light bulbs in use means that even modest efficiency improvements will yield large national energy savings. DOE estimates that in 2012 manufacturers shipped about 80 million reflector lamps covered by standards. And based on DOE data, almost 20% of all commercial-sector electricity use goes to power fluorescent tube lamps.

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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Energy efficiency, Lighting


A funny thing happened on the way to Finance Forum: the WHEEL deal

Read the full post from ACEEE.

The moment we have been waiting for has arrived! The Warehouse for Energy Efficiency Loans (WHEEL), a financing platform that will open the market for energy efficiency investment to institutional investors, is open for business. WHEEL acts as a virtual financial warehouse for relatively small individual loans, holding them until there are enough loans to attract attention from large investment houses. These transactions will potentially grow the market and make it easier for homeowners to find lower-cost loans for energy efficiency improvements.

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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Energy efficiency, Funding


Studies: Efficiency still the cheapest energy resource

Read the full story in Midwest Energy News.

Energy efficiency remains far cheaper – especially in the Midwest – than investing in additional generation.

That’s the case even in states where a long history of energy-efficiency has pushed up the cost of squeezing out additional savings.

Those are among the findings of two recently-published studies, one by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL), the other by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

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Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Energy efficiency, Publications


NAACP leaders say energy policy is civil rights issue

Read the full story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

NAACP leaders Thursday called for policies promoting renewable energy and efficiency programs, saying the issue is more than an environmental one.

Local and national NAACP representatives as well as staff from the Sierra Club were promoting a report from the civil rights group’s national office that backs development of renewable energy projects.


Energy Efficiency Progress by America’s Utilities: An Update

Read the full post from NRDC.

Some people are surprised to learn that our electric and natural gas utilities spend billions of dollars a year to help customers need and use less energy. But helping people get more work out of less electricity and natural gas has long been a winning strategy for many of America’s hometown utilities – and a report released this week shows that their energy efficiency budgets reached an all-time high of $7 billion last year.

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Posted by on March 26, 2014 in Energy efficiency, Publications


Energy Efficiency & Demand Response Keep Power Flowing in Extreme Weather

Read the full post at NRDC.

Something extraordinary occurred this winter that kept the lights on and people warm during record-breaking cold. Energy efficiency and demand response emerged to save the day, preventing potentially life-threatening power shortages across much of the Midwest and Northeast.

The subzero weather strained more than just our patience; it put a serious pinch on the energy grid. As demand surged, utilities scrambled to use energy efficiency – customers doing more with less energy – and demand response – conserving in response to specific power grid or economic signals – to keep power flowing.

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Posted by on March 19, 2014 in Energy efficiency


3 paths for plugging in to better energy management

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

Following the lead of mayors and governors across the country, last month President Obama announced energy as a priority for the year. By focusing on energy management, organizations are contributing to the transformation of energy use in the country, saving billions in energy costs and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Retrofit Chicago initiative, aimed at reducing participating buildings energy use in the city by 20 percent within the next five years, is a compelling example of this. For this reason, EDF Climate Corps, an innovative summer fellowship program that places specially trained graduate students in organizations to save energy and related costs, is working to recruit organizations in Chicago this month.

To ramp up energy savings in the area, EDF Climate Corps has already signed on AT&T, McDonald’s Corporation, Shorenstein Properties and Jones Lang LaSalle. Each summer, EDF Climate Corps fellows evaluate organizations for energy savings opportunities, with many uncovering stakeholder engagement as a key savings opportunity.

After 400 EDF Climate Corps engagements, the program has found three key constituencies to tap into for energy management:


Indiana Senate votes to turn off the lights on energy-saving program

Read the full post in the Indianapolis Star.

A 2-year-old program designed to cut energy consumption in Indiana homes, schools, stores and factories could end Dec. 31, under a bill that passed the Senate by a wide margin Monday.

Senate Bill 340 would shut down the Energizing Indiana program, under which energy auditors ­visit homes and businesses and recommend ways to reduce energy consumption. Typical recommendations include switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, wrapping pipes in insulation, turning down the temperature on water heaters and getting rid of old, energy-gobbling refrigerators.

The bill, which also passed the House by a lop­sided vote two weeks ago, now goes to Gov. Mike Pence for his consideration. Its future is not certain.

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Posted by on March 11, 2014 in Energy efficiency, Public policy


ENERGY STAR Hosts Webcast on Tracking Progress of Energy Efficiency Efforts for Wastewater Treatment Plants

ENERGY STAR will host a webinar entitled “Tracking Progress of Energy Efficiency Efforts for Wastewater Treatment Plants” on March 12, 2014 from noon-1pm CDT.

Learn how to track the progress of energy efficiency efforts and compare the energy use of wastewater treatment plants with that of other peer facilities across the country. Attendees will learn how to measure and track energy use and carbon dioxide emission reductions in water and wastewater treatment plants to establish baseline energy use, prioritize investments, set goals, and track improvements over time. Attendees will also receive a live demonstration of the Cash Flow Opportunity Calculator.

For more information and to register, visit:


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