Category Archives: 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:


House passes Welch bipartisan energy efficiency legislation

Read the full story at

By a vote of 375-36, the U.S. House of Representatives this afternoon approved energy efficiency legislation authored by Representative Peter Welch. The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act, H.R. 2126, is the first significant bipartisan energy initiative approved by the House in the 113th Congress.


EFAB Report: Municipal Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction

Report from the Environmental Financial Advisory Board discussing the challenges and steps leading up to energy efficient retrofits; describes various financing mechanisms; references several reports that provide more in-depth analysis; and lists financial resources available to support municipalities’ efforts in energy efficiency.


Tomorrow’s truck loses weight, but at what environmental cost?

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

A lighter gas-powered pickup truck that gets 30 miles per gallon looks great on paper, but glance up the supply chain and the energy-efficiency picture blurs.


New Refrigeration Efficiency Standards To Take a Bite out of Supermarket and Restaurant Energy Costs

Read the full post from ACEEE.

The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a final rule for strong new efficiency standards today that will take a big bite out of the energy consumption of the refrigerators and freezers used in supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, and commercial kitchens. The significant reductions in energy use that we’ll see with the new standards are made possible by the availability of technologies including LED lighting and occupancy sensors, high-performance glass doors, and high-efficiency motors, which all provide big efficiency gains.


Projected Impacts of State Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Policies

EPA has released updated draft projections of energy impacts from key state energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE) policies not captured in the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook (AEO). These policies include:

  • Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) and EE funding policies that reduce electricity demand through the use of energy efficient equipment, technologies and practices, and
  • Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirements beyond what is assumed in AEO 2013

EPA encourages state representatives and other interested parties to submit comments on these draft projections. EPA will carefully consider all comments received, and will make appropriate changes to our analysis on the basis of your input. Please submit your comments by April 1, 2014.

Background: EPA and many states rely on the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) demand forecast for power sector modeling and emissions planning. The AEO forecast includes some EE/RE policies, but does not explicitly account for several key EE/RE policies currently “on the books” in many states.  With this announcement, EPA is providing draft impact projections for these policies.

How These Projections Help States: States may use EPA’s EE/RE projections to quantify the associated emissions reductions, and then include these reductions in their SIP submittals. Jurisdictions not currently preparing a SIP but interested in better understanding the energy and emissions impacts of EE/RE policies may likewise use EPA’s methodology and estimates to identify strategies for staying in attainment with the NAAQS.

Input Requested: EPA is requesting comments on its draft impact projections and supporting documentation, including:

  • Background and Methodology Document - explains EPA’s approach to projecting the impacts of “on the books” EE/RE policies that are not explicitly reflected in the EIA’s AEO 2013 electricity projections.
  • Embedded Methodology Document – provides detail on EPA’s approach to identifying the fraction of total annual energy savings from state EE policies already embedded in AEO 2013.
  • Annual Energy Savings and Generation Estimates – provides EPA’s numeric estimates of the policy impacts not explicitly accounted for in AEO 2013 forecast, as determined by applying the previous two documents to the current EE/RE policy landscape in the United States.

Key Questions: EPA encourages state representatives and other interested parties to submit comment on the draft resources described above. The following questions are provided to help guide your review:

  • Is EPA’s description of EE/RE policies currently “on the books” in your state accurate, and are the energy impact projections reasonable? If not, what changes are needed?
  • Is EPA’s overall approach to projecting energy and peak demand impacts from state EE/RE policies analytically sound and consistent with industry practice? Why or why not?
  • Are there uncertainties, issues, or limitations related to estimating EE/RE impacts that are not identified and addressed in this analysis? If so, what are they?
  • Are the EE/RE projections presented in a clear and understandable way, given that the key audiences include both air and energy regulators? If not, what changes are needed?
  • Do you have suggestions for modifying or improving the ways that EPA makes its impact projections available for download, analysis, and manipulation by the states?

Questions? Contact EPA by email.


Why Is Electricity Use No Longer Growing?

Download the white paper.

Prior to the 1970s energy crises, electricity sales in the United States were growing by more than 5% per year, and as recently as the early 1990s, electricity sales were growing more than 2% per year. In the past few years, growth has essentially stopped: retail electricity sales in 2012 were 1.9% lower than sales in 2007, the peak year. Some observers have attributed this stalled growth to the 2008 economic recession, while others have suggested a variety of other factors. In this paper, we undertake several analyses to consider which factors best explain changes in electricity use in recent years. Our hypothesis is that the recession alone cannot explain the recent stagnation in electricity consumption. We instead hypothesize that electricity savings from energy efficiency programs and from other efficiency efforts such as appliance standards and building codes are having a broad national impact on electricity consumption in the United States, possibly contributing significantly to the recent decline in electricity consumption.

Our various analyses suggest that energy efficiency has likely had a substantial impact on electricity use. Our analysis indicates that over the 1993-2012 period, changes in electricity use were most influenced by energy efficiency programs and policies, warmer weather, changes in gross domestic product (GDP), changes in electricity prices, and long-term trends. Over the more recent period of 2007-2012, savings from energy efficiency programs and policies and from warmer winter weather appear to be the most important contributors to declining electricity use. The impact of energy efficiency is statistically significant for the residential/commercial sectors but not for the industrial sector.

Further analysis and more data are needed to better understand the contribution of energy efficiency versus economic and other factors, particularly in the industrial sector. Also, for all sectors, it will be useful to repeat the analysis in a few years to see if the recent decline in electricity use, and the contribution of energy efficiency to this decline, continue.

The factors influencing electricity use are complex. Our analyses suggest that energy efficiency has become an important factor in U.S. electricity consumption.

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Posted by on February 25, 2014 in Energy efficiency, Publications


Energy Subcommittee Hearing: Lessons from state efficiency and renewable programs

States have often been thought of as the laboratories of democracy, and it is in this vein that the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy recently held a hearing to examine lessons for federal policy from state efficiency and renewable energy programs.

During the hearing witnesses spoke about the impact of state programs, as well as federal programs, such as the State Energy Program, on building energy efficiency.

Additionally, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) spoke about the importance of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, which they first introduced over three years ago, and has since become the most significant energy efficiency legislation in Congress, garnering wide support from both Democrats and Republicans, as well as stakeholder organizations, including ASHRAE. This bill has undergone significant changes since its initial introduction in the Senate, and will likely be reintroduced in the coming weeks.

The new version will include incorporate several amendments that have achieved widespread support.

To view witness testimony and an archived webcast of the hearing, please visit

[Hat tip to Rick Yoder for sharing this with me. The original source is ASHRAE)

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Posted by on February 21, 2014 in Energy efficiency, Environmental law


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