Category: News

After the Audit: Improving Residential Energy Efficiency Assessment Reports

Tens of thousands of home energy assessments are conducted every year in the United States, but many recipients do not follow through on their recommendations. We studied 45 sample assessment reports by coding them for design and content elements, sending them for review by a panel of experts (energy assessors, graphic designers, and behavioral scientists), and examining a subset using an eye-tracker. We also surveyed over 600 customers who received assessments to see how they responded to them. This report summarizes the results of our study and suggests a number of strategies that assessors can use to increase the chances that customers will follow through on their recommendations. Check out a sample of the recommendations on this fact sheet.

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Fredericksburg saves $1.8 million by going green

Fredericksburg officials said the city saved $1.8 million and produced about 25.6 million fewer pounds of greenhouse gases over the past 20 years by reducing electricity and fossil fuel consumption in its government buildings.

This environmental stewardship was first implemented in 1996-97 through energy-savings performance contracts, most recently with Siemens Industry.

Under the current contract, Siemens Industry performs energy audits and pursues measures such as retrofitting city buildings with energy-efficient lighting, heating and cooling equipment. These investments save energy, reduce maintenance and conserve natural resources, while saving taxpayer money and providing healthier building environments, according to city officials.

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In Congress’s Climate Debate, An Opening For Energy Efficiency Progress?

Just three months into the 116th Congress, the discussion on climate change has noticeably shifted in Washington. From subtle evolutions in tone to bold new platforms like the Green New Deal, policymakers are taking a new approach to what is increasingly accepted on both sides of the aisle as an urgent problem.

The discussion spans a wide swath of policy areas, from energy to tax to infrastructure and transportation. And across them all, lawmakers are discovering that energy efficiency is uniquely positioned to make an immediate and significant impact. Political gridlock aside, there is a clear groundswell of alignment and deep bipartisan support for energy efficiency policy solutions because efficiency is the single most effective solution we have for reducing emissions, and it also is creating jobs, strengthening the economy, and enhancing American competitiveness.

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Albemarle supervisors get update on climate plan

Albemarle County’s goal is to reduce overall community greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.

County staff is recommending the goal as part of the first phase of the Climate Action Plan process, and the goal is consistent with the latest recommendations of the International Panel on Climate Change.

“It’s not just a goal for county operations; this is a goal for the entire community included within the jurisdictional boundary of Albemarle County,” said Narissa Turner, the county’s climate programs coordinator.

Read More (Daily Progress)

March 29th is the Application Deadline for the John Langford Memorial Scholarship

The Association of Energy Conservation Professionals and CHP Energy Solutions Research & Training have partnered to offer a $2,000 scholarship in John Langford’s memory. John Langford was a legend in Weatherization and helped found the Community Housing Partners Training Center almost 20 years ago. He will be remembered for his work ethic, generous and kind disposition, respect for others, and ability to successfully impart his knowledge of and passion for the weatherization industry to others.

Click here to apply

NVRC Releases a New Interactive Dashboard of LEED Properties

VAEEC member, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), has put together an interactive dashboard of all LEED certified buildings in Virginia. These buildings represent a significant investment in resiliency and sustainability. Programs like PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) are an important financial tool to provide options to a building owner considering some level of LEED certification.

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Siemens to Supply Motors for Eviation’s All-Electric Airplanes

Electric aviation just received a big vote of confidence from one of the world’s largest engineering companies.

Israeli startup Eviation Aircraft and Siemens announced yesterday they will jointly develop propulsion systems for the Alice, Eviation’s nine-passenger all-electric regional commuter plane. Siemens will supply low-weight, high-power electric motors for the plane, which will conduct its first test flight later this year at Eviation’s U.S. headquarters in Prescott, Arizona.

Eviation plans to debut the Alice at the Paris Air Show in June of this year.

Read More (Green Tech Media)

HERS (HOME ENERGY VARIABILITY) VARIABILITY REPORT

Home energy ratings are experiencing a growing role in energy code compliance. HERS Raters, in particular, often provide third-party verification services for minimum and above-code programs, including traditional compliance pathways contained in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), and more recently the Energy Rating Index (ERI) pathway.  In recognition of this trend, the U.S. Department of Energy commissioned a study exploring the consistency and replicability of the HERS system, and in anticipation of HERS Raters assuming a greater role in energy code compliance.

Study Highlights:

  • Data was collected by the Regional Energy Efficiency Organizations (REEO) under direction of the U.S. Department of Energy
  • The Study was designed to assess variation in ratings for new houses, sampling homes in each REEO region for a total of eleven homes in geographically dispersed locations across the U.S.
  • The study was conducted as a blind study to ensure unbiased results
  • No individual identifying information was disclosed in order to ensure privacy and confidentiality of those contributing to each rating

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What Does the Future Hold for Utility Electricity Efficiency Programs?

Energy efficiency programs are the hidden powerhouse behind many current trends in the electric utility industry.

Electricity demand has been largely flat in the U.S. for the past 10 years, in no small part due to electricity efficiency programs funded by utility customers in nearly all states. Appliance and equipment energy efficiency standards are also having a big impact, along with tighter building codes, tax credits and finance programs.

These programs, in turn, have had a ripple effect on investment across the sector, with impacts on the future of generation, transmission and distribution system decisions. In recent years, there has been a wave of power plant retirements, as generators are squeezed between low natural-gas prices, declining costs of wind and solar, environmental and other regulatory costs, and nearly flat demand due to energy efficiency gains.

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