Category Archives: Uncategorized

What is the Return on Investment of Energy Efficiency?

Efficiency Vermont has added another piece to their ‘Energy Efficiency as an Investment’ repertoire. This infographic clarifies one of the most apparent benefits of energy efficiency, the ROI tends to be high!

As we’ve noted before, energy efficiency is a solid investment. New lighting, equipment, and processes all have upfront costs that are paid off over time through reduced energy bills. So, what kind of return do large businesses in Vermont see for their investment in energy efficiency? The graphic below shows a healthy return of 167% - even after taking their contributions to the energy efficiency charge into account. 

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Energy Efficiency Has Never Looked Smarter!

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!

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!

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Building Energy for Resiliency

Caitriona Cooke took some time out of her schedule to extol the benefits of better building design during an era riddled with more extreme weather patterns and to inform us of a great conference, Building Energy 2014, happening right around the corner in Boston.

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Will you allow me a brief rant, if I share uplifting tales below? Here’s our problem: Mistakes are inevitable . . . but we have no excuses for repeated muck-ups. 

As complex systems within an even more complex system—the environment—building designs are prone to lots of mistakes. I find it hard to understand why so many professionals make the same mistakes repeatedly. Why this resistance to change? We have the information to avoid many of the mistakes that have proven so costly to our fellow citizens and the environment.

Resiliency “doesn’t just happen.”

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A case in point: all the talk about reconstruction after superstorm Sandy. Rebuilding, in spite of evidence that both the frequency and intensity of storms is increasing— should at least make us consider whether it might be better to keep certain areas undeveloped. If we must rebuild, can’t we at least learn from our mistakes?

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Infographic: Energy Efficiency as an Investment

Thanks to Jim Merriam, and his team at Efficiency Vermont, for contributing this great piece comparing ROIs of some common investments with energy efficiency investments.

Jim Merriam

Jim Merriam, Director of Efficiency Vermont

When the Efficiency Vermont team works with our customers in businesses and homes, we acknowledge that the choice to use energy more wisely is often an investment. Sometimes it is as small as installing a 99 cent CFL bulb. Other projects are more expensive and complex, such as installing a variable frequency drive on a large motor, or working with a contractor to air seal and insulate an entire home. Understandably, the decision to move forward on those types of projects is not always an easy one.

Lately we’ve been thinking about other types of investments that people typically make, and how energy efficiency stacks up in comparison. Below, we consider the classic stock market investment – and, as it turns out, efficiency is the winner. Stay tuned for future posts where we see how efficiency investments play out for other home efficiency projects, and for businesses – with numbers that are even more impressive.

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NE-CHPS Paves the Way Forward for Schools

When you think back to your days spent in school what do you remember?

Was it a favorite teacher? The countless trips to the vending machine between classes? A visceral rush of excitement after your crush unexpectedly sat next to you in biology?  I recently asked a colleague to recount her high school experience and received a surprising answer in return.

“My school was like a prison!”

Not because it was strict but because the architect who designed it also happened to design prisons.

Schools and prisons, go figure…

The school was dark with little natural light, had the ventilation of a prehistoric cave, the ceiling tiles were covered with stains and often had  overlooked, unusual growths – the list went on. If a student compares school to prison, that comparison should reflect the student’s displeasure for getting out of a cozy bed rather than the design of the school itself.

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DesignLights Consortium Drives Innovation With Updates to the SSL Qualified Products List

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.

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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.

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A Breeze of Innovation, Air Source Heat Pumps Hold Potential

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.

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Apples to Apples, Data to Data

Cecily McChalicher, REED Manager

Cecily McChalicher, REED Manager

The REED Program Year 2011 Annual Report (released this week) extracts the underlying stories and themes from REED’s prodigious pool of energy efficiency program data. If you’re new to REED, you might be asking, so what does this all mean? Well, remember that trite cliché that ever so wisely advises us to compare apples to apples? That saying happens to be  an accurate analogy for the goal REED is striving towards. REED currently provides transparency in reported energy efficiency data as a first step towards its long-term goal to supply consistent, apples-to-apples, reporting of energy efficiency program information and results.

With the launch of the Regional Energy Efficiency Database (REED) in February, energy efficiency stakeholders now have a one-stop resource to access energy efficiency program impact data from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. REED is hosted by NEEP through its Regional EM&V Forum, and is the first database in the country to publicly provide data on energy efficiency program savings and associated costs, avoided CO2 and other air pollutants, and job impacts across multiple jurisdictions.

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From Edison to the LED, NEEP’s RLS Has You Covered

thomas_edisonLight is amazing. Not only is the lightbulb the international symbol for ideas and innovation, but lighting is one of humankind’s earliest technologies. From the first fires to candles to oil lamps, when Thomas Edison created the incandescent lightbulb in 1879, it was the best invention since—well, the lightbulb! However, though the bulb itself represented innovation, the incandescent technology used today is largely the same as in Edison’s time—hardly innovative.

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Northeast Region Tops 2013 ACEEE Scorecard

Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships congratulates the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for capturing the top spot in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) 2013 State Efficiency Scorecard for the third consecutive year. The highly-regarded report measures states on a variety of efforts that recognize energy efficiency as a least-cost resource able to meet energy needs while growing the economy and protecting the environment.

The Northeast Region takes 6 of the top 10 spots in the 2013 ACEEE Energy Efficiency Policy Scorecard!

The Northeast Region takes 6 of the top 10 spots in the 2013 ACEEE Energy Efficiency Policy Scorecard!

For the third year in a row, Massachusetts edged out California behind its high-scoring efforts on innovative policies and public benefits programs geared toward helping customers cut energy costs. Additionally, Connecticut and Rhode Island continued their upward climb, thanks in large part to strong legislative and/or gubernatorial commitments to making energy efficiency a priority resource in their states.

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