Category: Reports and Research

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 (, and winners’ descriptions are below.

Winners: 2016 Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards


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


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.

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)

Global energy efficiency has tripled, but it’s not enough to curb climate change

The downward shift in global energy intensity has quickened its pace in recent years. But that still may not be enough to limit Earth’s temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency.

The IEA has turned its focus to energy efficiency as the cornerstone of sustainable energy policy in the face climate change. “We call energy efficiency the first fuel,” said Brian Motherway, head of energy efficiency for IEA. “Some countries have sun, some have oil, some have wind, but all countries have energy-efficiency resources.”

Investment in energy efficiency topped more than $220 billion in 2015, but that figure needs to be much larger. Last year the gains in energy efficiency, as measured by the drop in energy intensity, were three times what they were in 2013. Energy intensity is measured as the energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product.

Read the full story. (Greentech Media)

Want sharper workers? Try a green certified office

Can a green building make your company smarter? That’s what new research suggests, underscoring the ROI for green certifications — not just for optimizing the usual factors such as energy and water use, but for elevating workforce productivity.

It’s clear at Greenbuild 2016 this week that the health and wellness of workers indoors is becoming a high-level concern. No longer is human comfort something a corporation might consider from the kindness of its profit-seeking heart. Instead, evidence of a competitive advantage for fostering well-being speaks the language of the C-suite.

The early results of a new study dubbed COGFX are being buzzed about for finding 26 percent higher scores on cognitive tests for workers in LEED-certified buildings.

Read the full story. (

Health benefits of residential energy efficiency

E4TheFuture recently commissioned Tohn Environmental Strategies to perform a review and analysis of recent literature documenting residential building energy efficiency-related health impacts. Ellen Tohn’s research team* surveyed 25 studies that relate specifically to energy efficiency (EE) improvements. We will soon share these detailed results.
Our aim is to build understanding and access to relevant data that can support inclusion of health impacts as a public benefit of EE, while identifying where research gaps exist and/or where research can be improved and leveraged. Our goal is also to collaborate with others to explore new integrated approaches to improving indoor air quality that combines health and EE industry actions, in coordination with the U.S. DOE’s Roadmap for Integrating Health and Home Performance.

Read the full story. (E4TheFuture blog post)

Local, state and the federal government excel at energy efficiency

The government is a lot of things. One of them is a building owner. Indeed, owning and operating facilities are two of the things it does most.

According the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), an arm of the government – at the local, state or federal level – owns about 14 percent of the commercial buildings in the United States. The breakdown is that about 4 percent of government buildings are federally owned, 24 percent are owned by the state and 72 percent are locally owned.

That’s interesting. What is even more interesting is that those buildings are far more energy efficient than non-governmental buildings, at least as of 2012. The EIA says that from 2003 to 2012 the government reduced the average energy consumption per square foot of the buildings it controlled from 105,300 Btus per square foot (Btu/sqft) to 81,200 Btu/sqft. Non-governmental commercial buildings also moved in the right direction – but not by as much. Energy intensity in these structures shrank by 12 percent, from 91,000 Btu/sqft to 80,000 Btu/sqft.

Read the full story. (Energy Manager Today)

Virginia industries could cut carbon, save billions with efficiency

Virginia manufacturers and industries would gain billions in benefits from better energy efficiency, while also cutting their carbon output, according to two new studies.

Jennifer Kefer, executive director of the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, said its research found industrial energy efficiency could cut carbon emissions by 175 million tons nationwide in 2030.

“Process efficiency improvements, boiler upgrades, replacing chillers, insulation, even things as simple as lighting,” Kefer said. “Our report demonstrates very clearly that one can cut carbon while saving money.”

According to research from the Georgia Institute of Technology, industries in Virginia could save nearly $10 billion over a decade and a half

Read the full story. (Public News Service)

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