Richmond Happy Hour Event

Last Spring, we asked VAEEC members what additional benefits they would like included in their membership. The results were clear. Our members are looking for more networking opportunities. That’s why we paired up with RVA Green Drinks to host a Richmond-area happy hour.

 

The event proved successful as approximately 30 green business and energy efficiency professionals showed up to meet, mingle, learn about energy efficiency, and soak up the sun on Postbellum‘s rooftop deck.

 

Thank you to everyone who came out. We enjoyed catching up with our members and meeting new people interested in Virginia’s energy efficiency sector. We might be a little biased, but we think it was one of the “happiest hours” yet!

 

For our members outside of the Richmond-area, we want to include you too. Let us know if you would like to partner to co-host a happy hour event in your area by emailing info@vaeec.org.

 

C-PACE Progress in the Commonwealth

We’re excited to announce that there has been an increase in C-PACE activity and progress across the Commonwealth in the past few months, including several localities taking steps to enact their own program. Learn about these updates and resources by reading below, or by listening to a recording of our September webinar, C-PACE in Virginia: Resources Available to Localities.

Localities Moving Forward

Arlington County: The pipeline of projects is growing, and in a milestone for the program one was recently reviewed with capital providers to determine funding interest.

City of Fredericksburg: Staff is currently drafting a C-PACE ordinance, and a project is already in line to utilize C-PACE once a program is launched.

Fairfax County: In June, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Environmental Committee directed staff to write an ordinance. Staff will develop and submit a draft C-PACE ordinance to the Environmental Committee at a later date. Currently, it looks like we can expect passage in spring 2019 at the earliest.

Loudoun County: Back in January of this year, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted to direct staff to develop a C-PACE program structure, evaluate options for program administration, and draft an ordinance. In July, the Board reconvened and staff recommended the development of a C-PACE ordinance that would utilize a third-party program administrator for services such as billing and collection of loan payments and allow the County to enforce special assessment liens in the case of defaults.

Other localities looking to move forward with developing a C-PACE program include the cities of Alexandria, Charlottesville, Norfolk, and Roanoke, and the counties of Albemarle, Spotsylvania, and Stafford.

Resources Available to Virginia Localities 

Several resources have been recently released to assist localities with the development of C-PACE programs, including case studies, model ordinances, program guidelines, and an RFP template.

Model Ordinances:

  1. Arlington County has their Ordinance posted to the Arlington C-PACE website for anyone to view.
  2. Earlier this year, the VAEEC released a Virginia Model Ordinance for localities to use. This document was commissioned following input and review from a wide variety of C-PACE experts and incorporates key factors we consider to be crucial to implementing an effective C-PACE program.
  3. The Virginia PACE Authority, or VPA, used the Virginia Model Ordinance to create an updated and abbreviate Ordinance that localities can use.

Mid-Atlantic PACE Alliance (MAPA) Resources and Regional Toolkit: MAPA has a variety of resources available on their website. This includes fact-sheets, such as What is C-PACE and Frequently Asked Questions. Additionally, there are several case studies highlighting projects in Washington D.C. and Maryland.

As part of its mission to accelerate the development and utilization of C-PACE in the Mid-Atlantic region, MAPA has released a Regional Toolkit. The toolkit provides best practices specific to this region and guidance and resources that streamline efforts to develop and launch a C-PACE program.

RFPs for Program Administration:

  1. A template has been created to help localities craft their Request for Proposals (RFP) for Program Administrator services.
  2. Along with several resources included on their website, Arlington County has the option for Virginia localities to ride their contract with their program administrator, SRS. This step eliminates the need for a locality to go through their own RFP process for a Program Administrator.

To learn more about C-PACE, be sure to check out vaeec.org/pace or contact Jessica Greene at jessica@vaeec.org. 

Get Involved With Our Committees!

A six-year anniversary may seem rather mundane. This fall, The Virginia Energy Efficiency Council will mark that milestone with no fanfare. In 2012, a dozen visionary volunteers agreed to launch the VAEEC with little more than ideas, aspirations, time and some funding.

Fast-forward, this year – 2018 – has been a great year for energy efficiency in Virginia. What comes next is up to those who choose to get involved and set a course for 2019 and beyond.

As the VAEEC Board begins to plan for next year and beyond, we rely on our committees to help guide our direction. We encourage all of our members to jump in where they want to make their contributions.

The VAEEC has three, year-round committees that are open to all current VAEEC members:

  • Membership
  • Policy
  • Education & Events

We also have a temporary committee to choose award winners for the Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards each fall.

You can learn all about each of these committees on the VAEEC website.

Getting involved in VAEEC activities now affords members the opportunity to engage with VAEEC on a deeper level with the potential to join the Board next spring. We will have at least two open seats to fill during annual elections next spring, and we will look to committee members to fill those roles.

To indicate your interest to be on one of the committees, please send an email to Jenn Fisher at Jenn@vaeec.org. (Please make sure you are a VAEEC member of good standing with dues current.)

VAEEC will begin accepting resumes in early 2019 for our open Board seats, so be on the lookout for announcements in our January and February e-newsletters.

Energy Efficiency Day Appreciation!

October 5, 2018

We are less than a month away from Energy Efficiency Day 2018 taking place on Wednesday, October 5th! In lieu of this celebratory day approaching quickly, we would like to share a few ways to individually participate in energy conservation. One simple way to take action is by posting and promoting the EE Day graphics on your favorite social media platform to encourage others to join the #EEDay2018 conversation. Another great way to get involved is to ask your mayor, governor, or other elected officials to officially recognize Energy Efficiency Day through the signing of a proclamation. The official EE Day webpage provides editable templates for submission, as well as simple ways to reduce your energy bill. A majority of the steps taken toward energy efficiency are minor changes, yet have a huge impact. For example, switching to LED lighting, washing clothes with cold water, air drying dishes, turning off unnecessary appliances, and more.

Energy Efficiency Day Tour

Del. Ware observing insulation being blown into the walls of this single family home.

Last year in celebration of Energy Efficiency Day, we partnered with two of our members, Virdiant and Project:HOMES, to host site visits Virginia two legislators, Del. Yancey in Newport News and Del. Ware in Goochland County. The site visits offered the state legislators the opportunity to see what energy efficiency looks like in action, in their very own districts and to learn how the policies they implement (or not) directly impact their constituents. At the end of both tours, each legislator heard from VAEEC’s staff about the role they, and other VA decision-makers, play in continuing these programs. Read all about both site visits here.

In honor of Energy Efficiency Day 2018, we are planning to work with our members again to host legislative site tours similar to last year. Stay tuned for more details.

Join us in making this October even more special than the last by supporting our EE day efforts, as well as accomplishing some of your own!

 

Win Big at the Fall Meeting & Awards Ceremony!

Our Fall Meeting & Awards Ceremony is coming up quickly and it could not be a better time for VAEEC to host a raffle for our members! We will be raffling off two $25 Amazon gift cards to new members and current members who recruit new members to join before November 13th! Here’s how it will work:

New 2018 Members: if you join VAEEC by November 13th your organization will be entered into the raffle. In order to be eligible for the raffle, the organization must have joined at an Associate Level membership or higher. This includes any organization that joined VAEEC at an Associate Level or higher since January 1, 2018!

Recruiting Members: Current members who recruit a new member at the Associate level or higher before November 13th, will be entered into an additional raffle! To qualify, the new recruit must enter your name on their application under “Were you referred by a current VAEEC member?”. There is no limit to how many times you will be entered into the raffle; the more referrals, the more entries!

The winners will be announced at the Fall Meeting & Awards Ceremony. The event will take place on November 14th from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm at University of Richmond’s Jepson Alumni Center. Registration for this event will open on October 1st. Good luck!

Energy Performance Contracting

When looking to significantly reduce energy costs of a state facility, a state agency can enter into an energy performance-based contract with an energy performance contractor. This Energy Performance Contract, or EPC, is an agreement between a contractor or energy services company (ESCO) and a customer to meet a guaranteed level of energy savings as a condition of payment.

Energy Performance Contracting is generally equipment replacement that allows energy savings and installation of building control systems to control energy consumption, which is implemented by the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code. ESCOs provide all the labor, materials, equipment, and subcontractor management while often requiring little supervision. However, companies like DMME can serve as a trusted third party to state agencies and local governments who are considering entering into an EPC.

As an added incentive, EPCs offer customers guaranteed savings. If the ESCO does not meet the guaranteed savings, they must write a check for the difference and make needed changes at their cost. Additionally, Measurement and Verification data entered by an ESCO into DOE eProjectBuilder software are made available to end users.

Thomas Nicholas, a Facilities Engineer with the City of Virginia Beach Department of Public Works and VAEEC Board member, sees the opportunities that EPCs can offer a local government:

In the fall of 2018, using the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Energy Performance Contract, the City of Virginia Beach will be seeking solicitations from experienced Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) to complete energy retrofit work. Using the City’s capital improvement funding, we are seeking a whole building approach with an emphasis on LED lighting for approximately five City facilities.  Our goal is to maximize energy savings, while at the same time meet the building occupants’ requirements.

This process of receiving an Energy Performance Contract has been relatively unchanged since 2001. However, now instead of only selecting four items from the list of ESCOs, state agency’s can invite all 15 pre-approved ESCOs to the “Back of the Envelope” (BOE). This change was created with the intent to start more competition and give the agencies and public bodies more choices.

Time Bernadowski, a VAEEC member with Siemens, has only positive things to say about the revised EPC guidelines:

The newly revised Virginia ESCO pre-qualification and energy performance contract instructions provide a framework for Commonwealth agencies as well as other public entities, to help them simplify and speed the procurement of energy performance contract services and, as a result, the implementation of energy efficiency improvements.  This is important, since energy performance contracting can appear to be a complicated and imposing process, even though it is one of the best ways to implement efficiency improvements both technically and financially.

The VAEEC supports the use of EPCs as a way for state-owned buildings and public institutions of higher education to replace aging equipment and become more energy efficient. Since 2001, state and local governments and institutions of public higher education have invested nearly $900M in Energy Performance Contracting, enabling them to save money that can be better utilized elsewhere. The VAEEC looks forward to seeing an increase in EPCs across the Commonwealth as more public agencies and institutions decide to opt-in.

 

Click here for a current list of Energy Service Companies. 

Additionally, check out our Census report to see the VAEEC’s recommendation on EPC’s!

VAEEC Connecting Members

At the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council, we strive to provide our members with a platform to connect and network with one another. With a wide diversity of skills and expertise, there is no telling all of the amazing things our members can conceptualize and achieve when they come together.

One example of a great collaboration that has formed within the VAEEC community is between Community Housing Partners (CHP) and Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC). After initial conversations at our Spring 2017 Meeting, Chase Counts (CHP) connected ODEC with the state weatherization agency (DHCD), another VAEEC member, and other weatherization agencies, including fellow VAEEC-member project:Homes. 

“It was a happy coincidence that I happened to sit next to Catherine Powers and Erin Puryear with ODEC at the VAEEC Spring 2017 Meeting. After getting to know one another, we decided to arrange a formal meeting soon after. We realized we had shared interests in providing their member’s services and we complemented each other’s capabilities. The conversations grew in scope to include other weatherization agencies in Virginia that provided services to several other ODEC member cooperatives. The VAEEC Spring Meeting definitely helped cultivate this partnership and catalyzed this pilot program,” Chase Counts told us.

As a result, ODEC is now working with CHP and projectHomes, as well as three other Virginia agencies, to conduct an income-based weatherization pilot with five of the ODEC distribution cooperatives. This program will expand in 2019 to include the broader Virginia footprint of cooperatives and agencies.

“ODEC has wanted to work with its cooperatives and member-owners for quite some time on a weatherization program, and with the introduction to DHCD through Chase, we are able to make it happen,” said Catherine Powers, VP of Forecasting and Member Services at ODEC.

So what are you waiting for? Click here to learn more about our membership program and all the great benefits that come along with it!

 

Virginia Energy Plan

By October 1st, the State Energy Office of the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) must prepare an Energy Plan that covers a 10 year period and submit that plan to the Governor, the SCC Commissioners and the General Assembly.  This Energy Plan is required to propose actions that are consistent with the Commonwealth’s Energy Objectives (VA. Code 67-201) including projections of energy consumption, analysis of efficient use of energy resources and conservation initiatives, analysis of whether there is a disproportionate adverse impact on economically disadvantaged or minority communities, and recommendations for legislative, regulatory, and other public and private actions.

This year’s plan, however, will have a slightly different focus. The DMME is pushing for a greater emphasis on outcomes and how this goal can be achieved through policy. In order for this plan to be the most effective and include the most input, DMME will rely on community involvement. Specifically, they want the public to help answer the following questions:

  1. What legislative changes are needed?
  2. What regulatory changes are needed?
  3. Is there administration level action needed?
  4. Is there private activity needed?

Slides from all meetings will be posted on this website and are open for public viewing. The public has until August 24th to submit comments online to the website.

In addition to the written comments, there will also be four listening session that the public can attend:

  1. July 23 from 1-4 PM House Room 1 of the Capitol in Richmond
    • Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority Meeting and Listening Session
  2. July 25 from 12-2 PM in Newport News
    • Offshore Wind Energy Stakeholder Meeting and Listening Session
  3. July 30 from 5-7 PM in Roanoke
    • Public Listening Session

The Virginia Energy Plan will have five tracks and each will have their own focus areas:

  • Solar and Wind Resources
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Electric Vehicles and Advanced Transportation
  • Storage 
  • Offshore Wind

The four focus areas for energy efficiency are:

  • Achieving Virginia’s 10% energy conservation target
  • Lead by example strategies
  • Financing
  • Program design for DMME-funded programs.

The first kickoff meeting of three energy efficiency events was held on June 25th, which included a presentation by DMME on the final recommendations from the Governor’s Executive Committee on Energy efficiency (GEC) and the next steps. There was also an open discussion with the audience on additional topics for inclusion in the energy plan.

Below you will find the list of the completed tasks related to EE since the previous energy plan update:

  • established the GEC
  • enacted legislation facilitating Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE)
  • launched the VirginiaSaves program to provide additional financing mechanisms for efficiency programs (federal funding mechanism not reauthorized)
  • developed a streamlined energy performance contracting program from Virginia facilities
  • strengthened the Commonwealth’s building codes

DMME also presented these ongoing recommendations:

  • Reach the voluntary goal of reducing energy consumption by 10 percent by 2020
  • Reduce electricity consumption in state facilities by 15% through EPC by 2017
  • Create central State facility energy data registry and dashboard to track energy consumption in State agencies
  • Engage social entrepreneurs to explore and implement innovative models to aid ee

During the public discussion, the VAEEC commented that in order to achieve Virginia’s 10% energy conservation target, local government programs must be included and the $1.2B spending commitment by utilities in SB 966 has the potential to make a big impact on this goal. In addition, we also provided ideas for each of the other focus areas, including establishing a benchmarking program for all public buildings as a lead-by-example strategy, continuing to support the Mid-Atlantic PACE Alliance (MAPA) efforts to support localities interested in creating C-PACE financing programs, promoting the new Energy Performance Contracting guidelines and potential opportunities through the new Carbon Rule as ideas for program design for DMME-funded programs.

There will be two more meetings of the energy efficiency stakeholder group with discussions on specific focus areas:

  • July 18th- achieving Virginia’s 10% energy conservation target and lead by example strategies. Localities are strongly encouraged to attend.
  • August 1st- financing and program design for DMME-funded programs. Energy Service Companies and PACE advocates are strongly encouraged to attend.

Don’t miss on your opportunity to provide input on the Virginia Energy Plan. To learn more about the Virginia Energy Plan or to find details on meeting times and locations, please check the website.

MAPA Releases C-PACE Toolkit

The much anticipated MAPA Regional Toolkit has been released! 

The Mid-Atlantic PACE Alliance, or MAPA, is comprised of state agencies, non-profit institutions, and private businesses working to accelerate the development and utilization of C-PACE in Virginia, Maryland, and DC. As part of their objective to accelerate the development and utilization of C-PACE programs within the tri-state area, MAPA developed a regional toolkit with feedback and input from C-PACE experts across the country.

The toolkit is a resource for stakeholders, including but not limited to local governments, program administrators, building owners, contractors, capital providers, and local lenders, providing best practices specific to this region. For localities, the provided guidance and resources streamline efforts to develop and launch a C-PACE program.

“[The toolkit] includes guidance on program development, financial underwriting, technical project criteria, sample program documents, and a model ordinance developed by the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC). This section also includes information on Arlington County’s C-PACE program, the first active C-PACE program in Virginia which launched in January 2018.”

With C-PACE still relatively new in Virginia, there is still a need for materials that will help stakeholders better understand the benefits of the program. Therefore, along with program guidance for interested localities, the toolkit also includes marketing information and resources. These materials help educate stakeholders in an effort to build support for and to promote C-PACE.

As many of you know, the VAEEC has been carrying out outreach and education to Virginia localities for just shy of two years now. We have encountered countless city and county staff and representatives who have been anticipating the release of this toolkit. With a section completely devoted to setting up a program in Virginia, we believe this toolkit will prove itself to be a vital resource to getting additional C-PACE programs up and running throughout the Commonwealth. We welcome the opportunity to meet with any stakeholder interested in C-PACE.

Contact Jessica Greene (jessica@vaeec.org) if you have any questions, or if you would like to schedule a meeting or call. 

2018 Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards

2016 VEEL Awards

Summer has begun, which means we’re gearing up for our annual Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership (VEEL) Awards. Held in conjunction with the VAEEC Fall 2018 Meeting, the VEEL Awards Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, November 14th at the University of Richmond’s Jepson Alumni Center.

For the third year running, the awards highlight how energy efficiency champions across the Commonwealth are helping businesses, government, schools, and residents save money on energy bills while reducing energy consumption – all while stimulating Virginia’s job growth and economy. Projects or programs can be nominated for the following categories: Academic, Commercial, Government (local or state), Low-Income, and Residential. First, second, and third place will be awarded for each category.

2017 VEEL First Place Awards

The free online awards application process opens on Monday, July 9th and goes through Wednesday, October 3rd. Nominate an acquaintance, a colleague, a role model, or yourself! The only criteria are that the project or program is based in Virginia and is reducing energy consumption. Extra points are given for innovation and creativity, the degree of difficulty in overcoming challenges, and scope of work. Click here to view the Application Scorecard.

Still have questions? We have put together a Q+A guide to help you through the process. For a recap of our 2017 VEEL Awards, check out this blog post.

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