By now, many of you have probably heard us speak about commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, financing. It has become one of VAEEC’s top focuses in the past few years due to its ability to spur economic growth and revitalization while also reducing energy usage in commercial buildings. To learn more about the basics of PACE, visit our PACE webpage.
Recently, VAEEC held our second PACE webinar, C-PACE Financing in Virginia, back in September. Unlike our first PACE webinar, which mainly covered the basics of PACE, the main goal of this webinar was to be a resource for localities interested in developing and implementing a PACE program. The webinar provided listeners with:
- A brief overview of C-PACE, including its legality and case studies,
- Best practices when developing and implementing a program,
- The program administrator’s role,
- The benefits to localities, and
- The internal process of developing a PACE program.
PACE provides financing for energy efficiency renovations for commercial and multifamily buildings.
William Nusbaum (Williams Mullen) kicked things off with an overview of what PACE is and how it works in Virginia. He also touched on the Mid-Atlantic PACE Alliance, or MAPA, which is a partnership between Virginia, Maryland, and DC stakeholders created to accelerate PACE programs and project closings in the region.
Time and resources are by far the two most common concerns we hear from localities when talking about developing a PACE program. Scott Dicke (Sustainable Real Estate Solutions (SRS) and Arlington C-PACE) was able to address these concerns by discussing the role of the PACE program administrator. Program administrators alleviate the burdens placed on a locality when starting up and running a PACE program. They provide contractor education and support services to contractors, building owners, capital providers, and localities. Scott reinforced these points by providing case studies of programs SRS has helped launch and run.
Susan Elliott (City of Charlottesville) closed out the webinar with a local government perspective. Localities are interested in PACE because it is a tool that helps spur economic develop and revitalize existing building stock. Furthermore, Susan dove into the internal process of developing a PACE program and spoke about existing resources that help localities each step of the way.
Presentation slides and the audio recording can be accessed here. If you have any questions or if you would like additional information about PACE, please contact Jessica Greene.
A special thank you to Williams Mullen, our webinar sponsor, and our speakers.
When we released out latest Virginia Energy Efficiency Industry Census report this spring, we found that revenue generated from the energy efficiency sector has grown from nearly $300 million in 2013 to $1.5 billion in 2016. And we noted U.S. Department of Energy stats that the industry is responsible for 75,000 jobs across the state. Indeed, it is a huge part of the new Virginia economy.
But it raises an important question. Just what kind of jobs count as “energy efficiency jobs”?
From architects and contractors designing, building, and renovating more efficient buildings, energy auditors testing a building’s performance, HVAC contractors installing high-performance systems, to energy managers for cities and counties trying to find ways to save their residents money, and weatherization providers helping low-income residents save money on their own energy bills, and to those working to shape public policy or develop software to monitor energy use, the list goes on.
Here are 5 examples of energy efficiency jobs:
1. Sustainability Directors
At the county or city level of government, this position is in charge of ensuring that a local government is meeting its goals for sustainability and energy use. Efficient use of energy is the first step in becoming environmentally friendly, and as local governments work towards their goals of sustainability, energy efficiency is a high priority. Monitoring energy use, educating employees on their usage, as well as ensuring government-owned buildings meet efficient standards are all a part of a Sustainability Director’s job.
As if being tasked to track and monitor government energy usage isn’t a handful already, here’s just taste of the laundry list of responsibilities a sustainability director undertakes: coordinate city or county wide strategies that promote sustainable and green practices; identify methods and policies (typically through benchmarking); work with community groups to integrate green design into their projects; increase the use of energy efficient products and engineering; develop and implement the systems to track and monitor efforts across City departments; serve as an outreach coordinator to build strong relationships with partner organizations and field experts; and develop education materials for contractors and homeowners. The list goes on in this vital job to successfully implement energy efficiency policies at the local level.
Note that the exact job title varies. The person responsible for overseeing this work might, using VAEEC member City of Charlottesville as an example, be the City’s Environmental Administrator or up in Arlington they have an Energy Manager.
2. Energy Service Companies
An energy service company or ESCO provides a broad range of energy solutions including the design and implementation of energy savings projects, retrofitting, energy conservation, energy infrastructure outsourcing, power generation and energy supply, and risk management. VAEEC members like Johnson Controls, Siemens, Southland and Trane have helped entities like grammar schools, universities and state government facilities like the Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Corrections to upgrade their facilities and save taxpayer money.
Expanding the performance-based contracting that ESCOs offer was one of VAEEC’s five policy recommendations in our recent “Why Energy Efficiency is a Smart Investment for Virginia” report.
3. Software and Monitoring
As we live in a world increasingly connected through the internet and our devices, our energy use corresponds to our increasing reliance on technology. In turn, our energy use can be monitored through the internet and innovative software. Customer engagement and interactive applications allow energy consumers to monitor their energy usage from any device. The concept is simple: if you know how much you’re using then you know where to cut back. However, the monitoring required to provide customers with this information and the comparisons of what’s “good usage” vs “bad usage” are complex.
VAEEC member Oracle is one company that provides this information in an easy to use format. Taking the best of their paper Home Energy Reports, they format is to fit an easy to use and easy to engage system that emails customers directly about their energy usage. Customers using Oracle’s services can save up to 3% annually from this kind of direct engagement and awareness of their energy usage. Not only that but the Cloud services that Oracle provides allows people to store energy data, track it and compare it from a massive database of energy information.
4. Weatherization Providers
Weatherization projects allow homes to better withstand the elements, keeping interiors cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Instead of relying heavily on heating and cooling systems which expend energy, weatherization offers a more permanent solution through durable projects such as double paned windows, and insulating walls and attics. Homes are often neglected when it comes to weatherization, and this is especially true of low income families who have to prioritize their budgets. Low-income families often wind up spending a large portion of their monthly income on energy bills, and while weatherization alleviate energy costs the upfront expense can be daunting.
Project:Homes, a VAEEC member, offers services such as air sealing, insulation, LED lightbulbs and water savers to help low-income families make their homes more efficient. This not only increases property value, but makes the homes more comfortable to live in and saves homeowners and renters money on energy bills. Other Project:Homes initiatives such as “Keep It Cool RVA!” have helped provide window units and AC to those in need during the hottest months.
5. Contractors, Homebuilders + Technicians
You’re looking for a new house with energy efficient features or want to do a remodel with energy savings and sustainability in mind? There’s a contractor for that. Is it time to replace your HVAC system or just need a service heading into winter (or summer)? There’s a HVAC technician for that. Need some work or cleaning of your ducts to improve efficiency and indoor air quality? Yup, companies specialize in that. These jobs indirectly and directly qualify as “energy efficiency jobs.”
These are just some of the wide ranging jobs — white and blue collar — within the field of energy efficiency, each playing an important role in changing the landscape of how we think about and use energy.
This Thursday is National Energy Efficiency Day #EEDay2017, a great time to recognize and celebrate everyone working in the energy efficiency field — and all of the jobs we sustain here in Virginia and nationwide.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has been conducting field studies in select states around the country to determine the level of compliance with energy codes in the field. Recently, Viridiant, a VAEEC member, was awarded funding by the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) to conduct the study in Virginia.
This project will look at how well a random sample of builders in 29 jurisdictions around the Commonwealth are implementing different energy related measures of the building code. The success of this project will largely rest on the cooperation of builders and building code officials.
Help spread the word that this study will be underway through the end of 2017, with data collectors visiting over 100 homes that are under construction or recently completed!
Energy efficiency programs are on the Congressional chopping block.
The House of Representatives will vote in the coming days on spending cuts to several of the Department of Energy’s energy efficiency programs such as ENERGY STAR and the Weatherization Assistance Program. The House Appropriations Committee advanced the cuts earlier this month, adding them to the docket for a vote. The cuts, if passed would be applied to fiscal year 2018.
Merged with a larger budget bill, the cuts would slash funding for several Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy programs by more than half. If passed the office would see funding fall from $2.1 billion to $1.1 billion. The current administration has proposed numerous cuts to energy efficiency programs over the last six months, including eliminating the highly successful ENERGY STAR program. While no programs have specifically been called out for elimination in the House bill, the severe cuts will force the DOE to evaluate spending, which could include the elimination of entire programs.
While the proposed spending cuts in the House are massive, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced its Energy and Water Development appropriations bill on July 20, maintaining the current level of funding for energy efficiency programs.
The House and Senate may disagree on the total amount for energy efficient spending, however both are an improvement from the initial proposals put forth by the current administration earlier this summer which would have gutted federal energy efficiency budgets. While wholesale elimination in FY18 is off the table for now, federal energy efficiency initiatives still face the prospect of unprecedented spending cuts.
It’s unclear whether or not the Senate Energy and Water Development appropriations bill will be voted on before the August break, due to prioritization of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Successful energy efficiency programs bring both economic and environmental benefits, producing jobs and savings. Promotion of these programs has historically been bipartisan and their continuation is important for the U.S. to remain competitive in the energy industry.
The agricultural industry consumes massive amounts of energy. In 2015 alone, farmers paid 10 billion dollars collectively in energy bills. Agricultural facilities expend energy in refrigeration and materials handling, pumping and heating, lighting, and fans.
In mid-June, VAEEC hosted a webinar with presenters Josh Ludgate from Energy Exact Inc. and Erin Puryear from Old Dominion Electric Cooperative. In 2012, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative and its nine Virginia distribution electric cooperatives, collaborated with the state energy office, Exact Energy, James Madison University, US Dept of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA-Rural Development, and Virginia Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services to develop a plan for offering information, education, and opportunities in energy efficiency for the agricultural sector. During the webinar, Josh and Erin share what this plan has entailed, the challenges and successes, and how they plan to move forward.
Erin introduced the Energy-saving steps, arranged by cost/benefit improvement pyramid. The base of the pyramid is Energy Analysis:
- Energy analysis must be made to identify costs and find opportunities where energy use can be reduced. Erin explained that after the energy analysis is made, agricultural facilities can achieve their cost/benefits achievement goals through the following:
- Energy conservation is the most cost beneficial approach an agricultural facility can take. It involves finding behavioral changes that can be implemented to increase energy saving.
- Energy efficient equipment is the next most cost beneficial approach an agricultural facility can take and includes fans, pumps or lights.
- Time of use management is the third most cost effective approach and includes using energy at an off peak hour to save money and electricity.
- Lastly, using Renewable energy, such as solar power, wind power, hydropower, biofuels, is helpful but it is the least cost beneficial.
Erin also discussed funding options, such as grants and loans through the USDA and education and awareness initiatives held in rural Virginia.
After Erin’s presentation, Josh with Exact Energy, reviewed a case study for poultry breeders and growers. Many growers had expressed skepticism to try energy savings technologies because of the perceived risk of high bird mortality. Growers were concerned the new bulbs would confuse the birds and affect yields. Typically, growers use either 100 W incandescent or CFL bulbs or 150 W High Pressure Sodium lamps. In this case study, energy monitoring systems and 23 W compact fluorescent bulbs and LED bulbs were installed in three houses to test several flocks. The lighting electrical consumption dropped by 80% and the average savings of the three houses was $522.99. Growers were overly pleased with the equipment installed, and the case study found that though there is room for advancements, there were no increases or decreases in bird production after implementing the recommendations.
In a state with over 6,000 poultry farms, there is a huge potential to access cost and energy savings for the agricultural sector.
For more information, view the entire presentation or listen to the audio recording.
VAEEC Supports New Efficiency Programs Proposed by Dominion Energy
This past spring, the State Corporation Commission heard oral arguments in support of energy efficiency programs, which were part of Dominion Energy’s 2016 Demand-Side Management (DSM) filing (Case Number PUE-2016-00111).
As part of this filing, two new energy efficiency programs (Phase VI programs) were proposed to replace Phase II programs, which expired last month:
- Residential Home Energy Assessment Program- bundled a home energy audit with direct install measures such as LED light bulbs, weatherstripping, heat pump tune-ups and adding hot water pipe insulation
- Non-Residential Prescriptive Program- incentive program for non-residential customers who do not qualify for other Dominion energy efficiency programs; includes installing ENERGY Star appliances, HVAC tune-up and commercial duct sealing and testing
The VAEEC formally intervened in support of the proposed programs during the proceedings this past spring. Our members recognize the incredible value that cost-effective energy efficiency programs provide to our local communities and all ratepayers within the utility’s service territory. We also bring a unique perspective to the conversation, representing our members who work in the field implementing these programs. During the two-day hearing, our attorneys with the UVA Environmental and Regulatory Law Clinic argued for the Commission to consider the economic benefits these programs provide to the communities they serve. According to Virginia code, it is unquestionably within the Commission’s discretion to consider these economic development benefits among the “other factors” evaluated, in addition to the cost-effectiveness tests. The Attorney General’s office rendered an opinion on this in their closing statements agreeing with our assessment. Our closing arguments go into further detail, which you can read here.
Unfortunately, earlier this month, the Commission denied the Residential Home Energy Assessment Program and approved the Non-Residential Prescriptive Program at half of the requested budget.
Dominion Energy had also requested a two-year extension for their Residential Heat Pump Upgrade Program through May 2019, which was also denied despite the fact that the utility was not seeking additional funding for this program.
In their ruling, the Commission based their decision entirely on the cost-effectiveness scores of these programs. This ruling was surprising for a number of reasons but especially since both of these programs had previously been approved by the Commission and this was not the recommendation from Commission staff. The staff had concerns about the programs but they did not recommend rejecting them outright.
It was also evident that they did not take into consideration our arguments that the economic benefits these programs create should be considered in addition to the cost-effectiveness tests.
So, what’s next? Right now, the Commission is soliciting feedback on how to establish protocols for Evaluating, Measuring and Verifying (EM&V) energy efficiency programs and the savings associated with them. The Commission decided to establish these much-needed protocols after receiving feedback from a variety of stakeholders last year, including the VAEEC.
As stated in our new report, “Why Energy Efficiency is a Smart Investment for Virginia”:
Establishing EM&V protocols for Virginia utilities will enable them to develop energy efficiency programs with a strong, data-driven foundation from which to expand their offerings to customers. Robust protocols assure that customers receive the benefits that energy-efficiency programs are designed to deliver.
We will continue to keep our members apprised of important regulatory issues as they arise.
Johnson Controls is a big name in energy efficiency and sustainabillity – with more than 120,000 employees serving a range of customers in more than 150 countries. And the company – VAEEC Business Gold member and June’s Featured Member of the Month — is having a big impact across the Commonwealth.
The company creates intelligent buildings, efficient energy solutions, integrated infrastructure and next generation transportation systems that work seamlessly together to deliver on the promise of smart cities and communities. At its core, that promise is about delivering innovation that make people’s lives – and the world – better.
One area of focus is K-12 schools where Johnson Controls provides the building systems, equipment, technology integration and know-how to create and maintain safe & secure, quality learning environments. Plus they work with clients to identify innovative financing solutions to make these facility improvements with minimum impact on operating budgets.
This doesn’t just make financial sense. Students who are comfortable and happy in their physical environments actually have a better chance of doing well in school. In fact, reports show that students in well-maintained facilities score up to 10 percent higher on standardized tests.
That was the concern in Luray, Virginia, where the Page County Public Schools struggled to provide comfortable classrooms on hot early and late summer days – particularly in many unconditioned second- and third-floor classrooms. Yet installing a new HVAC system had not be possible financially. At least not as a traditional, stand-alone purchase.
The local Johnson Controls team developed a plan to fund the improvements through an energy savings performance contract. Under the contract, Johnson Controls guaranteed that, by making a series of upgrades to lighting and building controls across the district, Page County Public Schools would generate enough operational and utility savings to pay for upgrades and offset the cost of air conditioning the un-cooled classrooms.
“The guaranteed savings of an EPC is a great way to fund facility improvements, especially when budgets are tight. In many cases, it’s the only way these kinds of projects can get done.” – Whit Blake, Johnson Controls
The $7.5M project is guaranteed to save Page County Public Schools $10.2 million over 15 years, and included:
- A full LED lighting retrofit across eight district schools, guaranteed to save the district $193,000 annually
- Metasys® Building Automation Systems installed to control and monitor critical energy systems, saving the district $149,585 annually
- New HVAC systems to condition the air in previously un-cooled classrooms
- Replacement of outdated boiler and rooftop units
In addition to helping Page County Public Schools stretch taxpayer dollars and create more comfortable learning environments, the project itself has created a new learning opportunity.
Through a web-based energy dashboard, students, teachers and Luray residents can access real-time information about the energy use and energy savings across the district, and the environmental impact on their community.
Read the full case study here.
VAEEC members earn points and show support for the Paris Climate Agreement
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released its annual report evaluating and ranking America’s largest cities for their energy efficiency. The City Energy Efficiency Scorecard is based on policy and program efforts and includes recommendations for improvement. The scores are given for five categories: local government operations, community-wide initiatives, buildings policies, energy and water utilities, and transportation.
ACEEE ranked energy efficiency in America’s largest cities.
Virginia and its localities demonstrate a commitment to leading energy efficiency and climate change policy. In the wake of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, Virginia has declared that it will continue efforts to mitigate climate change.
On June 5th, Governor Terry McAuliffe joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of states in solidarity to uphold the goals of the Paris accord.
“As the first state in the Trump era to take executive action to limit carbon emissions and create clean energy jobs, Virginia is proud to join this alliance of states, cities and businesses. President Trump’s announcement to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement does not speak for the states and cities that are committed to fighting climate change and paving the way for a new energy economy. If the federal government insists on abdicating leadership on this issue, it will be up to the American people to step forward — and in Virginia, we are doing just that.” –Gov. McAuliffe
In addition to support at the state level, as of June 3, 2017, more than two hundred mayors of U.S. cities have indicated support for the objectives of the alliance. Among them are VAEEC members Alexandria, Richmond, Charlottesville and Arlington County.
Virginia leaders from both the public and private sectors are joining forces to fight climate change and uphold the Paris accord.
These locations, as well as Virginia businesses, Randolph College and the University of Richmond (another VAEEC member), have signed the “We Are Still In” agreement.
Among the 51 cities ranked in the ACEEE scorecard, Richmond and Virginia Beach ranked 28th and 36th respectively. In addition, Richmond was one of three cities to earn a perfect score for municipal energy efficiency-related goals. The Scorecard and rankings act as a marker for progress and encourages cities to further energy efficiency efforts.
Arlington County and Charlottesville were also listed on the Scorecard website as unranked cities. They used the ACEEE criteria to create a self-score equivalent to the Scorecard’s ratings and were highlighted for their efforts and commitment to energy efficiency.
All four of the Virginia locations listed are VAEEC members. In fact, ACEEE awarded points for VAEEC membership. In their view, as an advocate for higher energy standards, membership with the VAEEC reflects a commitment to improving efficiency.
Here’s the breakdown of each city’s ACEEE score.
Virginia’s capital scored 37.00 out of 100 possible points. Richmond earned high marks in the local government category, outlining numerous policies for energy goals and strategies to reduce usage. One of the more ambitious goals began in 2014 with the RVAgreen Annual Progress Report. A goal was set to reduce the government greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 using 2008 as a baseline. Though this is a significant reduction rate, the ACEEE says Richmond is on track to achieving its goal. The report centered its recommendations for improvements in the energy and utility category, as well as transportation.
Virginia Beach scored 31.50 out of 100 possible points. Scoring similarly to Richmond, Virginia Beach was recognized for its Sustainability Plan which outlines some of the energy-efficiency related policies for its government operations. Virginia Beach also benchmarks 100% of local government buildings in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. In addition, Virginia Beach has several community-wide initiatives, including the adoption of an urban heat island mitigation goal to achieve 45% urban tree canopy cover citywide by 2023. Like Richmond, Virginia Beach’s opportunities for improvement were in energy and utilities, and transportation.
Though Arlington was not officially scored, the self-score generated was 64.50 out of 100 points. This places Arlington on par with some of America’s largest, most energy efficient cities. The county has outlined comprehensive strategies to reduce energy consumption and the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy oversees the implementation of these policies. Arlington also scores impressively in both building policies and transportation, with a Master Transportation Plan that aims to promote more pedestrian and bicycle transit. Though scoring high in most categories, room to grow can be found most in energy and utilities.
Charlottesville also self-scored and earned 49.00 out of 100 points. Of the Virginia locations scored, Charlottesville earned the most points for energy and utilities with a funded partnership with, another VAEEC member, the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) and rebates for water conservation initiatives. Charlottesville also has green building requirements for municipal buildings and works through LEAP to fund the limited time 0% Power Saving Loan Program as part of its initiatives for efficient buildings. Charlottesville’s community-wide initiatives and local government operations are where improvements can be made most.
To see the full breakdown of scores for each city visit the ACEEE’s website.
Don’t see your town on the City Scorecard? Click here to try the updated Local Energy Efficiency Self-Scoring Tool, and see how your community stacks up! The Self-Scoring Tool is based off the 2015 City Scorecard.
By Kelley Flint
On May 19th, the VAEEC held their semi-annual member meeting, where speakers and attendees discuss this year’s pertinent theme—Opportunities in the Midst of Change. Over 100+ advocates from diverse backgrounds were in attendance, representing businesses, utilities, nonprofits, national associations, local governments and state agencies. While our current political climate is uncertain, VAEEC’s members and additional advocates made it clear they’re committed to continuing the push for energy efficiency and solutions that move Virginia forward.
The registration table featured the latest VAEEC report.
As an intern for VAEEC and first-time attendee, it was empowering to hear the discussions that took place from people with expertise and experience in this growing field. The presentations, questions posed and answers given were reassurance that even amidst all the unknowns in the environmental and energy sectors, there are people dedicated to making a tangible impact in my home state.
Here’s a brief recap of what was on the agenda.
-Executive Director Chelsea Harnish kicked things off with an introduction to the meeting’s topics and summary of the goals for VAEEC’s future. In addition to discussing the direction of the organization, she laid out five policy recommendations that are part of a newly-released report, “Why Energy Efficiency is a Smart Investment for Virginia”.
Executive Director Chelsea Harnish kicked off the spring meeting.
-Members then took turns sharing their success stories before splitting into groups for our first breakout sessions.
-In one room, Rich Dooley of Arlington County and Paul Brooks of Johnson Controls discussed Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) funding. The session focused on the development of PACE in Arlington, and how a local model can be used to fund energy efficient commercial buildings without taxpayer money. Paul Brooks also presented examples of PACE success in renovation projects and how PACE provides a financing solution to funding energy efficiency. The commercial PACE session was moderated by Abby Johnson from Atlantic PACE and Abacus Property Solutions.
-Meanwhile, the residential session took place next door and discussed the importance of Consistent Messaging. The speakers, Andy Farmer of Virginia Energy Sense and Casey Hollins of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, emphasized outreach in communities and the variety of programs that can jump-start energy efficiency in the public. The residential consistent-messaging session was moderated by Jessica Greene from the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council.
-After lunch, the second round of breakout sessions included a presentation on New Commercial Technologies, led by Kristy Shoemaker of Trane and Greg Merritt of Cree Lighting. The presentation highlighted how rapidly evolving technology has created connections between devices, buildings and people that can be utilized to create more efficient energy use. Lighting technology was highlighted by Greg Merritt as an important advancement that reduces energy consumption by creating awareness of usage as well as reducing energy usage itself through technology changes. The commercial session on new technologies was moderated by John Morrill from Arlington County.
Panelists in the Sunroom discussed ways to address residential energy efficiency.
-At the same time as the commercial panel, Lauren Westmoreland of Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance spoke about Building Codes. The session discussed how outdated codes prevent buildings from meeting efficient standards. Virginia is also in the middle of creating it’s 2015 building codes, and the juncture could be an opportunity to propel energy efficiency in Virginia. The residential session on building codes was moderated by Andrew Grigsby from the Local Energy Alliance Program.
-The final panel was led by Dan Bresette with the Alliance to Save Energy and Richard Caperton with Oracle. The panel discussed the Federal Implications for Energy Efficiency in Virginia and included an audience Q&A. The panel’s message highlighted that regardless of the direction the federal government takes, and the challenges budget cuts and policy changes may pose, Virginia has the opportunity to move forward with energy efficient solutions and pave the way for other states to follow. The final panel on federal implications in Virginia was moderated by Tom Nicholas from the City of Virginia Beach.
The full agenda can be found on the VAEEC website under Events. If you attended the event, please fill out this brief survey.
A special thanks to all of our event sponsors for making the Spring Meeting possible!
Partners of VAEEC
Friends of VAEEC
Industry Often in the Shadows Drives $1.5B in Revenue and 75,000 Jobs
Richmond, Virginia (May 19, 2017) — Virginia’s economy is stronger thanks to the role of energy efficiency, according to a new report released today by the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) that finds the industry drives $1.5B in annual revenue and accounts for more than 75,000 jobs. The full report, “Why Energy Efficiency is a Smart Investment for Virginia,” is available at www.vaeec.org/data and was presented at the VAEEC spring meeting in Richmond. The report lays out five specific policy recommendations that will not only help the industry continue to grow but will also play a role in future carbon reduction strategies the Commonwealth may pursue.
“With uncertainty about the future of energy efficiency policies and resources at the federal level, it is more important than ever for states to recognize the enormous potential of energy efficiency to advance smart energy solutions,” said Chelsea Harnish, VAEEC Executive Director. “The VAEEC’s 80+ members prove to us everyday that energy efficiency has tremendous potential to drive economic growth, create jobs, shrink utility bills, conserve natural resources, and reduce pollution. Our report outlines an ambitious plan to tap that potential.”
In 2013, the VAEEC released the first-ever census report documenting the energy efficiency industry in the Commonwealth. Our newest report shows that revenue generated from the energy efficiency sector has grown from nearly $300 million in 2013 to $1.5 billion in 2016. The U.S. Department of Energy has found that the industry is responsible for 75,000 jobs across the state.
The report offers five policy recommendations, specifically addressed to the incoming Governor, deemed “the smartest, fastest, most effective routes we can take to put Virginia on the path toward a clean energy future and stronger economy.” They are:
- Expand utility energy efficiency program opportunities in Virginia
- Support the adoption of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing across the Commonwealth
- Adopt rigorous energy building codes for new home construction without weakening amendments
- Expand performance-based contracting for state-owned buildings and public institutions of higher education
- Provide and support opportunities for benchmarking of state, local and commercial buildings
According to the most recent update to the Virginia Energy Plan, each of these policy recommendations are critical for Virginia to meet our energy efficiency goal of 10% electricity savings by 2022. The final report from the Executive Order 57 Working Group, which was released this week as well, also highlights the the important role energy efficiency can play in reducing carbon pollution. Two of the five recommendations made by the Working Group are specific to the energy efficiency industry: 1) Updating state building codes to reflect current technology and standards and 2) Developing an energy efficiency accounting and registry tool.
The report pairs each recommendation with a case study of that policy in action, including:
- Project:HOMES weatherized a veterans housing complex in Richmond through Dominion’s Energy Share program
- The Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech found that multi-family apartments that were built to EarthCraft, above building code, standards saved families $650 a year.
- The Virginia Department of Corrections integrated Energy Performance Contracting into their building operations to cut costs
- A Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financed project at a retirement community in neighboring Kentucky is expected to achieve 37% energy savings
- In Arlington County, commercial property owners participated in a voluntary benchmarking program competition, which resulted in millions of dollars in cost savings
“This report should open a dialogue among energy efficiency stakeholders, policymakers, regulators, businesses, and local and state government agencies about how best to augment the implementation of energy efficient technologies and services,” said David Steiner of D+R International and Chair of the VAEEC Board of Directors. “The many benefits to consumers, property owners, ratepayers, local and state governments, and industry warrant aggressive adoption of best practices to implement energy efficiency throughout the Commonwealth, from the kitchen electrical outlet to the power grid.”
Contact: Chelsea Harnish, VAEEC, 804.457.8619