Category: Reports and Research

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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The New Leaders of the Pack: ACEEE’s Fourth National Review of Exemplary Energy Efficiency Programs

ACEEE has reviewed exemplary customer-funded electric and natural gas utility programs every five years since 2003. For this edition of the report, they solicited nominations nationally and analyzed them in collaboration with an independent expert advisory panel. They ultimately selected 53 models worthy of emulation in 14 categories. A two-page profile of each exemplary program includes a program-at-a-glance table, features and accomplishments, lessons learned, and a table of performance data.

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Benefits of Embedding Energy Efficiency in Infrastructure Investments

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Senator Schumer, and Leader McCarthy:

We the undersigned, on behalf of a coalition of energy businesses, trade associations, researchers, energy officials, and advocacy organizations, respectfully urge you to ensure that any infrastructure proposals considered by the 116th Congress include energy efficiency provisions that will maximize the investments made by taxpayers, reduce long-term operations and maintenance costs, and improve overall U.S. energy productivity.

Read More (ASE)

Energy Efficiency Toolkit for Governors

While governors across the country are setting innovative energy policies, energy efficiency can help them go even farther toward meeting state goals. Saving energy creates jobs, develops the workforce, grows state economies, improves public health, promotes technological innovation, protects the environment, and saves taxpayers money. This toolkit lays out steps governors can take to increase energy efficiency in homes, businesses, and transportation. It includes foundational policies, current state practices, and many useful resources for policy and program development.

Read More (ACEEE)

The State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

Virginia tied for 29th in the 2017 State Scorecard, rising four places from the position it held in 2016 and becoming one of this year’s most improved states. The state scored 15.5 points out of a possible 50, 2.5 points more than last year. Virginia has shown a commitment to saving energy through an array of state-led initiatives. However the state has significant room
to strengthen efficiency programs and policies in the utility sector. To guarantee energy and cost savings for businesses and residents, the state could make its 10% electricity savings target mandatory and offer performance incentives to utilities achieving higher levels of electricity and natural gas savings. Virginia could also work to streamline the process by which utilities evaluate, measure, and verify energy savings which may help utilities to develop efficiency programs with more comprehensive measures. To keep costs low for all Virginia consumers, utilities could design programs that better meet the needs of large customers. Beyond the utility sector, the
state could incentivize CHP deployment to deepen energy savings, reduce bills for homes and businesses, and support local economic development.

Read more (ACEEE)

ACEEE’s guide tracks how local energy policy boosts community resilience

How have your community’s energy efficiency initiatives also increased its resilience? Our (ACEEE’s) new paper, Indicators for Local Energy Resilience, gives municipal leaders a unique set of tools to answer this question. We explore local energy resilience, our new term for the interconnection of community resilience and various aspects of energy supply and consumption. We look at different aspects of this concept — like thermal building performance and transportation connectivity — and methods communities can use to assess them. By applying these lessons, municipalities can get a better sense of their own local energy resilience.

Tracking local energy resilience

We’ve spent the last few years drawing the connection between energy efficiency and community resilience (see here and here). In our research, we take a broad approach to the concept of community resilience by including both physical factors like energy reliability and socioeconomic ones such as the strength of the local economy. This broader concept is also used by many urban planners and local policymakers (see here, here, here, and here for examples) because community resilience is not just about keeping the lights on during a big storm. It’s also about strengthening communities by making energy affordable and reliable for all.

So how can communities track their progress toward local energy resilience? Identifying indicators to monitor progress is complex because community resilience is cross-cutting. Considering all aspects of local energy resilience and the linkages among those aspects can become a brainteaser.

Read more. (ACEEE)

States Go First: How States Can Save Consumers Money, Reduce Energy and Water Waste, and Protect the Environment with New Appliance Standards

New appliance standards that states can adopt in the near term have the potential to save
consumers and businesses billions of dollars while conserving energy and water resources.
Appliance standards boost local economies since consumers and businesses spend most of
the economic savings on other goods and services. The energy and water savings from
standards can improve electric system reliability and defer or reduce the need for new
energy and water infrastructure, which lowers utility rates for consumers. And the energy
savings from standards also result in reductions in emissions of air pollutants, which can
provide public health benefits while helping states meet clean air standards and greenhouse gas emissions targets.

Appliance, equipment, lighting, and plumbing product standards are a proven, successful
policy at the state level.1 At least 18 states have enacted appliance standards at various
times. These state standards have not only benefited the residents of those states, but have also helped spur national standards. Most of today’s national standards, which cover
products ranging from refrigerators to commercial air conditioners to electric motors,
started out at the state level. Even when state standards do not become national standards, adoption by just a few states can be sufficient to affect national markets. By going first, states have driven changes to national markets that have delivered very large savings.

States now have the opportunity to build on this legacy and once again take the lead in advancing new appliance efficiency standards to save energy and water, lower utility bills for consumers and businesses, and reduce air pollutant emissions.

Read more (ACEEE)

News: Why we need the Building Technologies Office

Are you happy to have cheap, efficient light bulbs that don’t flicker and hum? How about a large refrigerator that uses less electricity than the old incandescent bulb? A small government office has played a key role in all of these innovations and now helps the average American family save almost $500 each year in lower energy bills.

Yet this silent saver is under attack. Like ENERGY STAR® and other effective federal energy efficiency programs, the Building Technologies Office (BTO) would be slashed in the administration’s proposed budget for 2018. It may not be “sexy,” as the last president once called insulation. But few offices are more important to consumers.

Our recent fact sheet shows how BTO helps consumers save money, creates jobs, fosters innovation, makes businesses more competitive, and helps states and local governments. BTO is one of 11 program offices in the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office, which in turn is a small part of the Department of Energy.

At a cost of less than $2 per household, BTO is helping you save almost $500. Actually, that’s just in appliances, equipment, and lighting covered by efficiency standards that BTO issues. BTO helps throughout what I call the virtuous spiral of energy efficiency market transformation.

Read the full story. (ACEEE)

CEE Annual Industry Report, 2016 State of the Efficiency Program Industry

The purpose of this report is to provide an annual time series analysis, a point in time report for the US and Canadian program industry on trends in energy efficiency and demand response budgets, expenditures, and savings. While this effort constitutes a large and comprehensive survey of program administrators, and while extensive ongoing attention is devoted to data standardization, CEE cautions against making representations and comparisons beyond those provided in this report.

The report documents annual electric and natural gas DSM program industry budget, expenditures, and impacts at the national level and, where appropriate, by Census region, across the United States and Canada based on data collected through a vast and comprehensive survey of DSM program administrators. CEE believes that using these data in conjunction with past survey efforts, portrays an accurate representation of energy efficiency program industry trends over time. The limitations of the data are disclosed below.

There are many limitations to budget, expenditures, and savings data in the DSM industry. First, this survey represents self-reported data by an individual or group of individuals within each responding organization. Although CEE and our collaborator, the American Gas Association, work closely with each responding organization to help respondents properly interpret survey questions and enter the correct information, the accuracy of the data is not verified outside of these efforts. Second, respondents provide data at different times during the data collection period from June to October, and not all program administrators report their information according to the calendar year. CEE and our collaborator have sought greater consistency in data collection from respondents over the years, however, the accuracy of the data are ultimately dependent upon each individual respondent’s interpretation of the survey questions, ability to retrieve the relevant information, and verification of the data provided. Furthermore, variation in state policies and reporting requirements along with what we suspect is inconsistent use of terminology likely adds to variation.

Read more (Consortium for Energy Efficiency)

Now Hiring: The Growth of America’s Clean Energy & Sustainability Jobs

Over the past several decades, the United States has been transitioning into a more environmentally sustainable and energy efficient economy. New business models, goods and services, such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, have emerged, while traditional businesses and institutions have made significant efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of their operations. This report highlights the role of this transition in boosting the American economy and creating millions of sustainability jobs across the nation.

“Now Hiring: The Growth of America’s Clean Energy & Sustainability Jobs” [PDF] discusses the current status and key trends in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and summarizes some of the major advances in other sectors such as local/state government, transportation and the private sector.

In many cases, these sectors are vastly outpacing the rest of the U.S. economy in growth and job creation, and are generating more jobs per dollar invested. Many of these jobs have higher than average wages, create local economic benefits, and are widely available in markets across the U.S.

Read more (EDF Climate Corps)

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