Tag Archives: Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency Policy Tracker: August 2014

Josh Craft, Manager of Public Policy Analysis

Josh Craft, Manager of Public Policy Analysis

This summer, we’ve seen the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states continue tackle the major themes outlined at last month’s NEEP Summit in Newport: modernizing the electric grid, de-carbonizing the electric sector, and managing electric-gas infrastructure constraints in New England.

As you can see, policymakers did not shy away from strong action in June and July — whether it was the EPA releasing its Clean Power Plan, or states like New York and Massachusetts moving key proceeding on grid modernization forward. And the New England governors are still pressing for investment in new gas pipeline capacity, though plans are yet to be fully developed This in spite of the upcoming fall elections, where eight states and the District of Columbia will hold gubernatorial (or mayoral) contests in November.

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Daybreak on Zero Net Energy Buildings: NEEP Workshop Sparks Dialogue on the Future of Buildings

Brian Buckley, High Performance Buildings Associate

Brian Buckley, High Performance Buildings Associate

For quite some time, the zero net energy concept has struggled to reach beyond the domain of policy advocates and pilot projects; but the world is changing. Recent storms of unparalleled intensity, falling costs of distributed generation, and the real world possibility of large-scale energy storage have led to a unique moment in the building energy industry: Daybreak on Net Zero Energy.

But when will this transition take place?  What will it look like?  And how do we get there?

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New Resource from SEE Action Network: How State & Local Agencies Can Save Energy in Buildings

Carolyn Sarno, Senior Program Manager, High Performance Buildings

Carolyn Sarno, Senior Program Manager, High Performance Buildings

Greater Energy Savings through Building Energy Performance Policy, a new report by the Department of Energy’s State & Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action) provides recommendations for state and local governments to design policies and programs to achieve measurable improvements in efficiency outcomes in commercial buildings. The vision for the document is a future where energy efficiency policies for commercial and publicly-owned buildings are informed by and directly tied to actual energy performance.

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Mid-year Update: State Progress on Building Energy Codes

Kevin Rose, Building Energy Technical Associate

Kevin Rose, Building Energy Technical Associate

Unlike automobiles, appliances, or consumer electronics, buildings constructed today will still have an impact on U.S. energy use 50 to 100 years from now—if not longer. Building energy codes improve the energy efficiency of these long-term investments by setting minimum requirements for new and renovated buildings.

In addition to lowering energy bills, energy codes reduce the demand for new energy generation capacity, thereby limiting air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Advancing these codes over time to make our building stock more energy efficient is one of the most cost-effective and impactful strategies for decreasing energy use in buildings, and, in turn, the country.

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NEEP Summit and Business Leaders on YouTube

John Otterbein, Marketing Communications Associate

John Otterbein, Marketing Communications Associate

Throw some popcorn in an energy efficient microwave, turn down the overhead, living-room LEDS with your shiny-new home energy management system, and join our story’s protagonist, energy efficiency, on a myriad of journeys.

Every year we nominate, film, and present video case studies highlighting forward thinking businesses that have molded their business plans and bottom lines to include energy efficiency upgrades. Now in its 9th year, NEEP’s Business Leaders for Energy Efficiency Program has accumulated a well-spring of monetary, energy, and environmental savings. In 2014 alone, fourteen business leaders collectively saved a prominent 26,967,507 kWh and $5,645,181, no small feat from a group of committed businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Our YouTube channel is home to this significant body of work with over 80 business leader case studies and our newly released PowerTalk presentations from this year’s NEEP Summit on topics ranging from utility restructuring to grid modernization. If you’re looking for a jolt of inspiration or a dollop of information, head over to our channel or website to watch energy efficiency in action!

Bright Future Ahead for Efficiency in Delaware

NEEP joined friends in Delaware and fellow supporters of energy efficiency from around the nation in cheering a landmark bill passed in the final hours of the state’s legislative session. Included as an amendment to Senate Bill 150, the legislation set the stage for the state’s ratepayer-funded electric and gas efficiency programs to be administered by utility providers.

Natalie Hildt Treat, Senior Public Policy Outreach Manager

Natalie Hildt Treat,
Senior Public Policy Outreach Manager

“We have a lot of work to do to implement the bill, which has not yet been signed by Governor Markell,” explained Phil Cherry, acting director of the Division of Energy and Climate at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). The delay in signing is simply a matter of technical and legal work being completed to integrate the language into the state code, explained Tom Noyes, the division’s Policy Director.

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Energy Efficiency: A True Boon to Businesses

IMG_0201 resizedAt the tail end of October 2013, I hit the ground running  as NEEP’s new Public Relations Manager. I quickly learned about NEEP staffers, their roles, and how they all connected together to make our projects move forward. I studied NEEP whitepapers, workshops, and business plans. I looked up acronym after acronym. I met (via email, phone, and in person) scores of NEEP partners and sponsors.

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Workshop over Whitepaper, Energizing the ZNE Industry

shutterstock_20389108 resized    I started in May, fresh out of my sophomore year at Dickinson College, as NEEP’s High Performance Buildings Intern without the slightest clue what that title entailed. After two weeks of playing catch-up on the wide array of energy efficiency issues tackled by NEEP, I found myself scurrying around at the Newport Hyatt at 7am helping NEEP’s Buildings Team set up for the Daybreak on Zero Net Energy Buildings Workshop at the 2014 NEEP Summit, or #summit14 as we twitter-savvy NEEPer’s called it.

Although I was excited to see the “big picture” after focusing my prior efforts studying specific issues such as energy benchmarking, I was nonetheless fearful that the ZNEB workshop would be as dry and confusing as the PDF documents I had painstakingly scanned through for information on energy benchmarking. With a liberal arts school student’s level of prior exposure to the field of energy efficiency (that is, none), I was expecting to be hopelessly lost in a sea of acronyms and hyphenated phrases. Luckily, my fears were short-lived.

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Building a Modular Net Zero Home: An Update from the Trenches

When I last wrote about our project building a super-efficient, solar-powered home, my husband Tom and I were exhilarated. After months of agony waiting for approval of our septic system and building plans, we finally closed on the acre of land in Salisbury, Mass. Meanwhile, factory construction of the modules at Keiser Homes was already complete.

We had closed on the land and construction loan on April 16. A week later, we were standing in the light rain around a gaping, muddy hole in the ground. As a small crew worked behind us, Tom and I posed for pictures with our architect, builder, town selectman and representatives from Boston magazine, Boston Children’s Hospital and National Grid. It was the groundbreaking ceremony for the magazine’s Design Home 2014, and we beamed like sunshine, despite the weather.

groundbreaking

Pictured, L – R:  Beth Lonergan, Ishaga Diagnana, and Dave Gendall of National Grid; Kristen Standish, Publisher of Boston magazine; Michael Bornhorst, Director, Corporate Initiatives at Boston Children’s Hospital; Tom and Natalie Treat, homeowners; Matt Silva, former Sales & Marketing Manager at Ridgeview Construction; Parlin Meyer, Development Director at BrightBuilt Home; and Freeman Condon, Salisbury Town Selectman.

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The Path to Zero Net Energy Buildings: Join Us June 2!

Claiborne Pell Elementary School, Newport RI

Claiborne Pell Elementary School, Newport RI

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Along with being a trite yearbook quote, this phrase also describes the impetus behind NEEP’s workshop on the path to zero net energy buildings — buildings that generate as much energy as they consume annually. While we currently have the technology and knowledge to design and build these hyper-efficient buildings, we envision a future in which zero net energy construction is the norm instead of a case study.

As part of the 9th Annual Northeast Energy Efficiency Summit, NEEP’s Buildings Team will hold a workshop entitled Daybreak on Zero Net Energy Buildings: Illuminating Our Future with Comprehensive Strategies for the Built Environment. Over the course of the day, we will assess the opportunities and challenges facing the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region (and beyond) and draw cross-cutting connections between short and long-term strategies for realizing a zero net energy future. Policymakers, practitioners, utility program managers and real estate professionals will lead discussions exploring the public policies, technologies and innovations, and stakeholder partnerships necessary for realizing our zero net energy building future.

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