Tag Archives: Energy

Sweating the Small Stuff: Energy Efficiency Policy and the Keystone XL Pipeline

Energy efficiency policy work doesn’t always make for great conversation at dinner parties. Energy efficiency represents energy and money not wasted, so it’s less tangible than new solar panels or a natural gas well. And much of NEEP’s work is behind the scenes, spread across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states in regulatory proceedings that can be hard to follow, on topics that may not, on the surface, sound very interesting. The energy efficiency policies we follow certainly haven’t captured media attention the way that the future of the Keystone XL pipeline has. But an article in last week’s New York Times by Coral Davenport helps show just how important these proceedings on energy efficiency (and other aspects of energy and environmental policy) are to the future of our energy landscape and the Earth’s climate.

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The Cold Shower: Plan Ahead and You’ll Avoid It

Heat Pump Water Heaters (HPWH) pay back big in the long run.

Heat Pump Water Heaters (HPWH) pay back big in the long run.

Your water heater lives an inconspicuous life.  It is often over looked, hidden away in some far recess of your basement, collecting a thin film of dust.  If you’re like most folks, only when it ceases to function properly (or at all) do you become aware of it.  When it needs to be replaced you don’t know what’s worse, the cost of new equipment or another arctic rinse.  But let’s face it; your tolerance of cold showers quickly erodes after the first plunge.

After your core body temperature returns to normal you have to call a plumber. Unless your house is in constant disarray, your plumber isn’t on speed dial. While online to find a decent plumber in your area, do some background research to get a sense of what you need and how much it will cost.  You quickly conclude that the average installed cost for a standard electric resistance water heater is roughly $600.  Unfortunately, despite your internet prowess and proficiency in cyberspace you may have over-looked the sparse information about heat pump water heaters (HPWH).  Rather than an electric resistance water heater, HPWHs 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 heat water. Continue reading

New kids on the block, younger workforce entering energy efficiency

2013 NEEP Summit Student Scholarship PorgramWith changes to the political, social, and economic undercurrents of our society, the landscape of energy efficiency is constantly shifting. The industry is now largely recognized for its demand-side solution to conserve energy, save natural and financial resources, and build career opportunities. The numbers don’t lie; energy efficiency is by far the most cost-effective energy solution out there and the region’s demand for energy is flattening out as more energy efficiency practices take hold. These positive aspects of energy efficiency have caught the eyes of recent college graduates who see the energy efficiency industry as promising, innovative, and full of opportunity.

Like many of today’s hot industries, energy efficiency companies seek young professionals with diverse backgrounds and skill sets. Degrees in engineering, marketing, political science, economics, and public policy, to name a few, are good stepping stones for breaking into the efficiency industry. NEEP, and other organizations like it, have given young professionals the opportunity to branch out and find their passion within energy efficiency. A quick search of current job opportunities reveals positions in research, marketing and product development – the list goes on but it’s clear that there’s something for everyone. Continue reading

ENERGY STAR Set to Tackle the Future of Energy Efficient Products

A pat on the back for the ENERGY STAR brand was well deserved at this year’s Partners Meeting where attendees celebrated 20 years of the brand’s achievements in the market adoption of high efficiency products and billions of dollars and millions of metric tons of GHG emissions saved each year from ENERGY STAR products ($20 billion on utility bills and 195 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 alone!).  Whether it was looking back at ENERGY STAR’s humble beginnings in 1992, or looking forward to the opportunities and challenges in deeper energy savings, the important role of energy efficiency for the environment and the economy was a key message. Continue reading

Zero Net Energy Buildings – A Pathway to Energy Independence and Disaster Preparedness

Over the past six months, the Northeast has been hammered with unexpected and extreme weather.  Tornadoes tore through Western Massachusetts in June and Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc throughout the entire region in August, devastating Vermont with the worst flooding they’ve seen in 84 years.  We also felt the strongest earthquake to rattle the region since World War II, and last month’s October snowstorm left a reported three million on the East Coast without power.  The image below of Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P)’s power outage map, taken on the morning of October 30, begins to illustrate the stark and extensive aftereffects of these storms. During the peak of the outage 830,000 customers were left in the dark: no lights, no heat, no water…and in some towns for as long as 10 days. These events force communities and government to seriously grapple with, and possibly rethink, emergency preparedness plans. Continue reading

Advanced Building Energy Codes: Knowledge at your Fingertips

Free one hour webinar on Tuesday, May 31st (3-4 PM)

It is widely accepted that implementing advanced building energy codes presents one of the most cost-effective ways of achieving large scale energy savings and carbon emissions reductions.  However, with ever-changing code regulations and building science modifications, it can seem daunting knowing where to find the most up-to-date information on building energy codes.

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