Category: Reports and Research

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)

Leaders and Innovators Recognized with Inaugural Virginia Energy Efficiency Awards

6 Winners Honored by Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) and Governor McAuliffe at Richmond reception

Richmond, Virginia (November 29, 2016) – The Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) honored the winners of its first-ever Virginia Energy Efficiency Awards at a reception in Richmond tonight attended by Governor Terry McAuliffe. VAEEC received more than 50 nominations for the 6 awards which showcase how energy efficiency champions across the Commonwealth are helping businesses, schools, government and homeowners save money on energy expenditures while reducing energy consumption — all while stimulating job growth and our economy.

“Congratulations to all of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards winners, and thank you for your contributions to the new Virginia economy,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe, who attended the Awards Ceremony and presented the State Agency and Local Government awards.  “Tonight we recognize your achievements and celebrate the tremendous progress that we are making together on energy efficiency in the Commonwealth.  Thank you to the Governor’s Executive Committee on Energy Efficiency for creating this vision and to the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council for pursuing that vision and supporting an industry that is vital to helping build a new Virginia economy.”

“The winning entries are proof that energy efficiency has tremendous potential to drive economic growth, create jobs, shrink utility bills, conserve natural resources and reduce pollution. They reflect the preliminary numbers from our 2016 Clean Energy Census which indicate that building energy efficiency alone accounts for $1.1B in annual revenue,” said Chelsea Harnish, VAEEC Executive Director.“We are pleased to use these awards to shine a spotlight on innovative approaches, positive impacts in our communities, unique partnerships and replicable and scalable programs. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all 50+ applicants.”

Any person, entity or group who works on energy efficiency in Virginia was eligible for the Awards which were chosen by a Selection Committee, comprised of members of the VAEEC Education and Outreach Committee and additional volunteer members of VAEEC.

The full list of winners and runners up with project descriptions can be found online (https://vaeec.org/programs/2016awards/), and winners’ descriptions are below.

Winners: 2016 Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards

Academic

1st Place: Manassas Park Elementary School & Pre-Kindergarten

Submitted by 2rw Consultants, Inc.

2nd Place (tie): Get2Green

Submitted by Fairfax Public Schools

Henry County Public Schools

Submitted by Henry County Public Schools

Commercial

1st Place: Development of PACE Financing in Virginia

Submitted by Abacus Property Solutions, Virginia Community Capital, and McGuireWoods Consulting

2nd Place: Ballston Garage LED Retrofit

Submitted by Arlington County

3rd Place: Exact Energy Inc.

Submitted by Exact Energy, Inc.

Local Government

1st Place: Henrico County

Submitted by Henrico County

2nd Place: City of Virginia Beach

Submitted by City of Virginia Beach

3rd Place: Fontaine Fire Station

Submitted by 2rw Consultants, Inc.

Low-Income

1st Place: Live Stream Distance Learning Energy Efficiency Project

Submitted by Community Housing Project

2nd Place: Appalachian Power Company (APCO)

Submitted by Association of Energy Conservation Professionals

3rd Place: Arlington-Alexandria Energy Masters

Submitted by Arlington Alexandria Office of the Virginia Cooperative Extension, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, and Arlington Thrive

Residential

1st Place: WarmWise Web-Based Home Audit Program

Submitted by Columbia Gas of Virginia and Richmond ARC

2nd Place: 1922 Blair Street

Submitted by Bain-Waring Home Energy Remodeling, RIC Design Build, and Richmond Region Energy Alliance

3rd Place: Alexandria Renew Enterprises

Submitted by AlexRenew

State Government

1st Place: Virginia Department of Corrections

Submitted by the Virginia Department of Corrections

2nd Place: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy Division of Energy

Submitted by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy Division of Energy

3rd Place: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy

Submitted by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy

Academic

Manassas Park Elementary School & Pre-Kindergarten

Submitted by 2rw Consultants, Inc.

The new Manassas Park Elementary School and Pre-Kindergarten were built with the goal to create a campus that was not only environmentally sustainable but that was also a resource to teach students about environmental stewardship. The buildings are designed to meet the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2030 Challenge and use 50% less energy than code-compliant schools. Features include photo-sensors, which activate artificial light only when needed to supplement natural lighting; ground-source heat pumps, variable-speed pumping, pre-treatment and total energy recovery for ventilation air; natural ventilation; rainwater harvesting; low-consumption fixtures and kitchen equipment.

Commercial

Development of PACE Financing in Virginia: 1st Place

Submitted by Abacus Property Solutions, Virginia Community Capital, and McGuireWoods Consulting

The team was largely responsible for fixing the flawed Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) legislation in 2015, which previously did not give the PACE lien priority over existing mortgage holders. Through their efforts, the PACE legislation passed easily – where previous years’ efforts to modify the statute failed – with very little opposition in the General Assembly. Since the legislation went into effect in July 2015, the team has been active in building interest, support and knowledge of the value proposition of PACE throughout the state.

Local Government

Henrico County: 1st Place

Submitted by Henrico County

The mission of Henrico County’s Energy Management program and energy manager is to develop Henrico County Government and Schools as the leading local authorities for sustainable energy use and to promote the importance of good energy management for the economic and environmental well-being of the county’s residents and employees. The Energy Management program also strives to improve energy education and foster a culture of efficiency and sustainability in the County, while the Energy Manager supports green design and construction efforts for capital projects. Completed projects include energy audits, HVAC and lighting system upgrades, participation in demand response programs, commissioning and retro-commissioning, traffic and street light upgrades, building automation systems, and construction of a 4-megawatt methane gas to electricity generator at the landfill.

Low-Income

Live Stream Distance Learning Energy Efficiency Project: 1st Place

Submitted by Community Housing Project

Community Housing Partners’ (CHP) innovative energy efficiency training project involved a live broadcast from a manufactured home in Virginia to the statewide Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) conference in Minnesota. Having been a WAP provider for 40 years, CHP knows firsthand the importance of equipping WAP crew members with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to produce quality work resulting in maximum energy savings for the low-income households served by the program. CHP developed a 3.5 hour live-stream training session with relevant predefined topics and real-time Q&A, which enabled CHP to develop a new approach to energy efficiency training that will be replicated nationally, and potentially internationally.

Residential

WarmWise Web-Based Home Audit Program: 1st Place

Submitted by Columbia Gas of Virginia and Richmond ARC

Columbia Gas of Virginia’s Web-Based Home Audit Program allows residential customers to participate in their own energy analysis and places them in the “driver’s seat” of achieving an energy efficient future. Customers participating in an online home energy audit receive a customized report recommending home improvements that can be implemented to reduce natural gas usage. Through the end of 2015, CGV’s customers have achieved over $4M in savings through the program.

State Government

Virginia Department of Corrections: 1st Place

Submitted by the Virginia Department of Corrections

The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) executed the first executive branch energy services contract (ESCO) in Virginia, leads Virginia in ESCO volume, and has embraced ESCOs as an integral part of its building renewal program. VADOC has also tied energy efficiency to its public safety mission by creating an inmate training program in energy sector skills. Additionally, VADOC employs a broad fuel portfolio including renewable and alternative energy sources

About the VAEEC

The Virginia Energy Efficiency Council is the voice for the energy efficiency industry in the Commonwealth. Our members include Fortune 500 companies, universities, nonprofits, local governments, state agencies, and utilities. The Council’s goal is to ensure that energy efficiency is an integral part to Virginia’s economy and clean energy future. Together, we are creating, implementing, and sharing energy efficiency solutions that keep costs down for residents and businesses, while improving the quality of life in our work and home environments. www.vaeec.org

Six Common City-Level Energy Policies Could Reduce Nationwide Carbon Emissions by up to 480 Million Metric Tons Annually

The Energy Department’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently examined the carbon abatement potential of city actions in six policy areas as part of the DOE’s Cities Leading through Energy Analysis and Planning (Cities-LEAP) project. The analysis uses new data on energy use in more than 23,400 U.S. cities and estimates the aggregate impact of city actions related to: building energy codes, public transit, building energy incentives, rooftop photovoltaics, smart growth, and municipal actions. The results indicate that by 2035, these six common city-level policy approaches could reduce nationwide carbon emissions by 210-480 million metric tons of carbon emissions per year. That is a 7-19 percent reduction in carbon emissions for the average city relative to current city-level emissions.

The report, Estimating the National Carbon Abatement Potential of City Policies: A Data-Driven Approach, illustrates the comparative impacts of city-level energy actions and helps cities better understand how their particular climate and characteristics influence these impacts. For example, by enacting more stringent building energy codes, cities could reduce building energy use by about 10 percent on average. Due to higher natural gas use in colder climates, the carbon reduction potential of building energy code policies is almost double for cities in the Midwest. Comparatively, smart growth policies are about twice as effective for carbon abatement in eastern coastal cities than in other cities due to larger urban areas and more vehicle miles traveled.

Read More (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

Behavior Change Programs: Status and Impact

Behavior change programs are becoming a common method for reducing energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency. But what types of programs are out there, why do they work (or fail to work), and how effective are they? This report updates the 2013 ACEEE Field Guide to Utility-Run Behavior Change Programs, with new program evaluations, an analysis of major behavior change strategies, and a focus on programs with evaluated energy savings. We surveyed 296 recent reports, academic studies, and program evaluations, and had more than 60 personal communications with program administrators, energy program managers, and other experts. The report will help program administrators understand the variety of behavior program options that are available to them, and the degree to which they successfully change behavior and save energy.

Read More (ACEEE)

1 2 3