The products that we use every day (Appliances, Electronics, Lighting, etc.) may sound mundane and not at all dangerous, but when accumulated, their electrical consumption contributes to climatic and environmental damage. One of those products that continues to draw large quantities of power is the home’s hot water heater. Up until recently we had no alternative – no opportunity to realize energy, financial, and environmental benefits. Now we have an opportunity to rebel against the status quo electric resistance water heater with an efficient Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH). So go on. Be a rebel.
In past blogs we’ve suggested not to wait till the old water heater breaks down and to replace it with an efficient option. We can assure you that taking cold showers aren’t very appealing in the interim. Purchasing a business-as-usual water heater could make the heating bills unnecessarily high. If you live in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic, odds are your region or state offers rebates on Heat Pump Water Heaters. HPWH, unlike standard electric resistance water heaters, function much like a refrigerator in reverse. HPWHs pull heat from the surrounding air and force it, at a higher temperature, into a tank to hot water. So rather than generating heat, HPWHs extract heat from the ambient air and use it to heat water. This method requires less energy, which takes less money from you and is more environmentally-friendly.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the completion of two significant rulemakings that establish strong new minimum efficiency standards for electric motors and walk-in coolers and freezers. The two new standards will significantly reduce energy waste, save money and cut pollution. These and other product categories for which DOE has proposed standards mark an impressive stretch of activity at the Department, and a reminder that the federal standards program continues to be an area of opportunity for states to impact energy savings.
According to the Department of Energy, these two new efficiency standards announced in early May will reduce electricity consumption by about 1.2 trillion kilowatt-hours over thirty years of sales — roughly enough electricity to meet the needs of every U.S. household for a year. The standards also have notable environmental benefits.
April 29, 2014 was our night. This was the Oscars, the Grammys, and the Super Bowl for the Energy Efficiency industry. The ENERGY STAR Awards Ceremony was a tour-de-force event and it seemed like everyone was there. The cheerful mingling, clinking china, and upbeat presentations made one wonder if the animated scenes from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby were inspiration for the event.
NEEP, and our Sponsors from New England and the Mid-Atlantic, were recognized for our collective outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. In fact, the Northeast Retail Products Initiative, facilitated by NEEP, in conjunction with its sponsoring utility and energy efficiency program administrators, was awarded the coveted 2014 ENERGY STAR Award for Sustained Excellence –ENERGY STAR’s highest honor. When NEEP’s very own Executive Director, Susan Coakley, was called up to the stage to accept the ENERGY STAR Award, the room erupted into applause.
It’s 4:15 A.M. It’s dark and well below freezing in Boston as I sleepily make my way to Logan for a 7am flight. I board the plane, lift-off, and in a few short hours I land in the overcast, gem of a city that is Austin, Texas. As I exit the terminal, a smile takes over my face as the warm Texas air is such a welcome relief from the bitter cold of the Northeast. I board the bus from the airport ($1.50 to drop me off 2 blocks from my hotel—what a steal!), and I can’t help but get excited about the days to come at the Smart Energy Summit.
Look at all those savings!
You know what we need? An app to help manage the weather! Does that exist? No? Well, even if I can’t dial up the heat-waves emitted from the sun, I can manage the temperature of my home, along with all other electricity-consuming devices, remotely. This burgeoning technology referred to as Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) has enormous savings potential that lays wait in a barnacle-covered, sunken chest, just waiting to be pulled to the surface!
As NEEP bids farewell to the incandescent light bulb, and congratulates ten cities in the United States for their embrace of efficient lighting, Congress has, unfortunately, yielded to obstinate consumers. Congress’ recent budget deal denies the U.S. Department of Energy funding to enforce new efficient lighting standards for lamps, which have disqualified the traditional incandescent light bulb. Thankfully, the new efficiency standard for light bulbs established by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) will go into effect, even though DOE is restricted in its enforcement of that standard. This is disappointing given that energy and cost savings are lost due to stubborn consumers and their outdated preferences for incandescent bulbs.
I share my colleague’s belief in the winning recipe of ‘Innovation and Regulation’ to reduce energy consumption, fuel cost, and environmental degradation. By ignoring the advances made nationally and regionally, this attempted halt of EISA would only harm the United States economy. American manufacturers have moved on, and have already innovated and adapted to the new standards. However, with DOE unable to enforce this standard, Congress’ actions would leave less-stringent foreign manufacturers to flaunt the law. In fact, since California adopted EISA’s standards a year before it went into effect nationally, manufacturers have been prepared ever since. In a recent study by ASAP, efficiency standards are found to have no drawback on performance, features, or price (including electricity bill savings). Congress’ misguided efforts can only hinder that innovation and development, especially when the Northeast is a leader in energy efficiency.
A big priority to emerge from NEEP’s Business and Consumer Electronics Strategy is capturing the significant energy efficiency gains from “smarter” energy use in the home. New all-in-one home energy management software is becoming increasingly available to those willing to change their energy consuming behaviors.
So how do we change deeply entrenched behavioral patterns to align with more energy efficient usage? One way that’s been working for energy efficiency thus far is to offer enticing incentives.
The Solid-State Lighting (SSL) industry is poised to take a leap forward in energy efficiency and performance as Northeast Energy Efficiency (NEEP) updated the DesignLights Consortium®’s (DLC) SSL Qualified Products List (QPL) at the turn of the year.
Thanks to the 2013 specification revision to the DLC QPL, lighting manufacturers, energy efficiency program administrators, and others in the SSL industry can continue to promote energy efficient lighting technology with the latest most innovative and high-performing products. The newest version of the list had been phased in over the last few months, having allowed products that met the previous requirements to remain on the list until January 1, 2014. At that time, products which did not meet the new requirements were removed from the active QPL and placed on the “Products No Longer Qualified” list.
We all know what the outdoors can do to revitalize our health. We feel more connected, nourished, and energized after we venture out of our homes and take a deep, endless breath of fresh air, soak up vitamins from sunlight, or drop in on the crest of an interminable wave. What if I told you that the same raw nourishment from the outdoors can reduce your heating and cooling bill?
Energy efficient technology helps lay the groundwork for a more symbiotic relationship between the natural world and us.
I get it. No really, I do. You’re an environmentalist – well, so am I. You wanted to lessen your carbon footprint just like the rest of us – and I applaud that. So in a desperate attempt to decrease the environmental burden of doing laundry, you decided to hang your clothes out to dry. But this isn’t Little House on the Prairie! This is an urban area and countless people just got a free look at your unmentionables. That guy down the street? Yeah, he saw them. The old lady on your block almost tumbled over when she saw those, “new-fangled undergarments” of yours. Even now, small children are buckling over in peals of laughter at your expense.
There is no need to continue this public shaming. You can keep your laundry and privacy clean without damage to the environment. Let me show you how NEEP and our partners can help. This year, NEEP joined forces with the Super Efficient Dryers Initiative (SEDI), who plans to introduce advanced clothes dryers into the North American market. NEEP and SEDI are especially interested in the prospect of heat pump clothes dryers, which are currently picking up speed in European markets.
Hey Rudolf, is that an LED?
It’s official: the holiday season is here. With snow on the ground in much of the Northeast and days still getting darker earlier, NEEP has some tips to help you brighten up your homes while still leaving plenty of room in your budget for the newest gadgets and gifts.
Holiday lighting is a big business! Think about it: around the holidays, millions of Americans plug in new light sources, both inside and out, and leave them on for hours each day. Think of your own home—do you use fewer of your normal lights when your holiday lights are on? Or do you enjoy the holiday ambience alongside of your traditional lighting arrays? Utility customers in this region are accustomed to bills going up in the winter months; while this is mostly thought to be attributed to an increase in heating and maybe holiday cooking, holiday lighting can heat up and burn a hole in your electricity bill.