Day: November 9, 2011

Amtrak presents details on year-long Heartland Flyer B20 trial

Read the full story in Biodiesel Magazine.

In a research paper presented at a railroad environmental conference at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Amtrak reported that the use of B20 during a year-long trial in its Heartland Flyer locomotive resulted in no more wear than straight ULSD diesel, with no reduction in performance or reliability.

DOE Technical Assistance Program November Webcasts Schedule

DOE’s Technical Assistance Program (TAP) will be presenting several webcasts in November. TAP webcasts will continue to explore best practices and technical information for state, city, county and tribal energy practitioners.

Registration is now open for the November webinars, which will address a range of topics including:

  • Collaborating with stakeholders to build support for energy efficiency programs
  • Creating successful partnerships between utilities and local governments for energy efficiency programs
  • Advanced benchmarking in Portfolio Manager
  • Leveraging Portfolio Manager for disclosure and green leasing practices
  • Benchmarking in Portfolio Manager for state and local communities.

You can find the complete webcast schedule for this month below. Webcast details may change during the month, so please check the Solution Center webcasts page for the most up to date information, where you can also find presentations from past Technical Assistance Program webinars.

The TAP Blog is also a good place to find information on webcasts, including a description of each webcast and sign-up information. Don’t see a webcast for a topic you’re interested in? Make a comment on our blog or send an email to solutioncenter@ee.doe.gov.

Utility Partnering Webcast Series

Title: Collaboration and Consensus Building in States to Support Energy Efficiency as a Resource
Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Time: 3:00-4:00 p.m. EST
Description: This webcast is part of a series created to support Stimulating Energy Efficiency Action in States award recipients, but is open to all states. This webcast presents the story of the successful stakeholder engagement process in Arkansas, which led to the state’s launch of its “Quick Start” utility-administered energy efficiency programs in 2007, the expansion of these programs into comprehensive programs in 2009, and the adoption in 2010 of increased annual energy efficiency goals for 2011-2013. The discussion will also cover general principles for a successful collaborative process by utilities, utility regulators, customers and customer groups, state agencies, energy efficiency and consumer advocates, and others. For background on the Arkansas story, webcast participants can read the Arkansas Public Service Commission’s Sustainable Energy Resources Action GuidePDF.

Title: Partnering with Utilities Part 2 –Advanced Topics for Local Governments in Creating Successful Partnerships with Utilities to Deliver Energy Efficiency Programs
Date: November 30, 2011
Time: 3:00-4:00 p.m. EST
Description: This webcast will build on the “Partnering with Utilities Part 1″ webcast, which explored introductory topics such as understanding different types of utilities and other administrators of energy efficiency program, key drivers of utility-administered energy efficiency programs, and examples of ways to partner with utilities. Part 2 focuses on advanced topics for local government-utility partnerships, with presentations from local governments and their partnering utilities that have well-developed, multi-year relationships and programs. Part 2 topics include:

  • Designing energy efficiency programs to be responsive to each party’s needs and goals
  • Aligning program planning cycles and funding periods
  • Developing an energy savings measurement and verification plan that meets utilities’ requirements for cost-effectiveness

Participation in Part 1 is not a prerequisite for participation in Part 2. The Part 1 presentation is available at the DOE Solution Center.

Portfolio Manager Initiative (PMI) Webcasts

The PMITraining Curriculum leverages EPA resources on all webcasts regardless of broadcast platform.

Title: Advanced Benchmarking in Portfolio Manager
Date: November 15, 2011
Time: 2:00-3:15 EST
Description: This webcast provides an overview of the advanced features of ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager Tool. Upon successfully completing this webcast, participants will be able to correct and update space and utility data, set baselines and targets, group facilities, customize views, utilize the Statement of Energy Performance, and generate custom reports.

Title: Leveraging Portfolio Manager for Disclosure and Green Leasing Practices
Date: November 21, 2011
Time: 1:00-2:00 EST
Description: Whole-building energy performance data is the foundation of any smart energy management program. State and local governments across the country are taking advantage of Portfolio Manager to implement energy benchmarking and disclosure requirements for commercial buildings. This Web training session highlights the best practices of state and local benchmarking and disclosure policies. We will briefly discuss benchmarking and its place in the larger context of energy management planning before exploring in detail some of the choices governments face when implementing these policies.

Title: Benchmarking in Portfolio Manager for State and Local Governments & EECBG Recipients
Date: November 29, 2011
Time: 2:00-3:15 EST
Description: This session will review EPA’s online energy management tool, Portfolio Manager, which allows you track the progress of energy efficiency efforts and compare the energy use of your buildings to peer buildings across the country. Attendees will learn how to measure and track energy use and carbon dioxide emissions reductions to establish baseline energy use, prioritize investments, set goals, and track improvements over time.

National Home Builders Commit to EPA’s New Guidelines for Energy Star Qualified Homes

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today recognized the leading builders across the nation who have already committed to meeting the updated and more rigorous requirements for new homes that earn the Energy Star label in 2012. With the next generation of Energy Star qualified homes, builders can offer homebuyers updated features that deliver better value, quality, and comfort while continuing to protect the environment. Since 1995, about 1.2 million new homes have earned EPA’s Energy Star, representing savings of nearly $350 million on utility bills while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to approximately 450,000 vehicles.

“EPA has raised the bar for what families can expect when they buy a new home that has earned the Energy Star,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, Gina McCarthy. “Homebuyers can be assured when they purchase an Energy Star qualified home, they can find the quality and features they want in a new home, with even lower utility bills and greater benefits for the environment.”

More than 400 builders have already agreed to develop Energy Star qualified homes in 2012. These include six of the country’s largest builders, Ashton Woods Homes, Beazer Homes, KB Home, Meritage Homes, M/I Homes and NVR, Inc, who have all made corporate commitments to meeting the new requirements.

Under the new requirements, homes that earn the Energy Star label will be at least 15 percent more efficient than homes built to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). They will also feature additional measures that deliver a total energy-efficiency improvement of up to 30 percent compared to typical new homes. The additional features include:

  • A detailed package of home envelope air sealing, properly installed insulation, and high-performance windows to deliver comfort, durability, and lower utility bills
  • A high-efficiency heating, cooling, and ventilation system designed and installed for optimal performance
  • A complete water and moisture management package to protect roofs, walls, and foundations
  • Energy Star certified lighting and appliances that help reduce monthly utility bills
  • Third-party verification, with independent inspections and testing by a certified Home Energy Rater

Energy Star was started by EPA in 1992 as a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by EPA. Last year alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved about $18 billion on their energy bills while preventing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual emissions of 33 million vehicles.

More information about Energy Star new homes and updated guidelines: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=next_generation.ng_qualified_new_homes

The State of the Utility Bill

How can the utility bill be improved to give customers better control over their energy use and to support utility efficiency programs? In its report entitled “The State of the Utility Bill” (http://aceee.org/research-report/b111), the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) attempts to answer that question. Based on an analysis of one hundred current utility bills and a review of the literature on bill information design, they conclude that the majority of bills do not currently provide the level of feedback and connection to utility program resources that they reasonably might.

In the report and accompanying blog post (http://aceee.org/blog/2011/11/what-s-your-bill), they argue that, although there are regulatory and institutional barriers to improving the bill, it remains a cost-effective means of capturing energy savings and customer good will.

November 2011: Upcoming Climate and Energy Webcasts for State and Local Governments

EPA Webcasts
November 17, 2:00-3:30 PM (EST) Climate Action Planning: Part 1
Sponsored by EPA’s Local Climate and Energy Program. Are you eager to help your community reduce its energy use, save money, and become more sustainable? In Part 1 of a two-part series on Climate Action Planning (also called Energy or Sustainability Planning), a diverse group of local governments with firsthand climate action planning experience will discuss gathering support from key stakeholders, collecting data and setting goals, estimating greenhouse gas reduction potential and other benefits, working toward implementation, and tools and resources. http://epa.gov/statelocalclimate/web-podcasts/local-webcasts-by-date.html#upcomingwebcasts
November 10, 1:00-2:30 PM (EST) Aligning Green Power Partners with New Renewable Energy Projects
Hosted by EPA’s Green Power Partnership, this webinar will provide a forum for attendees to learn about new, not-yet-built renewable energy projects that may align with their energy, environmental, and financial objectives. The webinar will feature nine short project presentations from renewable energy developers as well as a Q&A session. Developers will discuss project details, business models, and participation opportunities for attendees such as green power off-take, renewable energy certificate (REC) procurement, financial investment, and equity ownership opportunities. EPA will provide a mechanism for attendees to indicate their interest in specific projects at the conclusion of the webinar, and will forward attendees’ opt-in choices to the project developer(s) identified. https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/327875130
November 15, 2:00-3:30 PM (EST) Strengthening Critical Infrastructure: CHP at Wastewater Treatment Facilities
Sponsored by EPA’s Combined Heat and Power Partnerships, NYSERDA, and others, this webinar highlights the role CHP can play in strengthening critical infrastructure at wastewater treatment facilities. It will feature information on economically viable and technically feasible CHP applications for wastewater treatment plants. Experts from EPA will discuss the updated report “Opportunities for Combined Heat and Power at Wastewater Treatment Facilities: Market Analysis and Lessons from the Field,” as well as system operators of CHP at wastewater plants. NYSERDA and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Northeast Clean Energy Application Center will also offer a presentation on state and national incentives.https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/433638481
Various Dates and Times: U.S. EPA to Host Webinar Series for Water Sector Utilities on Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT)
EPA has developed CREAT, a software tool to assist drinking water and wastewater utility owners and operators in understanding potential climate change threats and in assessing the related risks at their individual utilities. CREAT provides users with access to the most recent national assessment of climate change impacts for use in considering how these changes will impact utility operations and missions. For more information on CREAT, visit: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/climate/creat.cfm.
To assist users in using CREAT, EPA will conduct free training sessions. Interested parties can register for the training at https://www.thetestportal.com/CREAT. Registration is capped at 50 participants per session and all sessions in November are currently closed; additional webinars will be scheduled as necessary in December 2011. Interested parties can register their interest at the link above; click the blue notification button at the bottom of the registration page to be notified of future webinar dates.
ENERGY STAR Webcasts
November 9, 2:00-3:30 PM (EST) ENERGY STAR and Green Building Rating Systems
Sponsored by ENERGY STAR, this webinar will teach youhow to use EPA tools and resources to help meet requirements for green building rating systems such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the Green Globes system, and others.https://energystar.webex.com
November 16, 1:00-2:00 PM (EST) Purchasing and Procuring Efficient Equipment
Sponsored by ENERGY STAR, this webinar includes information about ENERGY STAR resources to help your organization purchase products with superior energy performance; guidelines that define energy performance for numerous products; sample procurement language for stipulating energy performance attributes to vendors; and energy saving software that calculates the life cycle costs of ENERGY STAR products and their less efficient counterparts. https://energystar.webex.com
November 29, 2:00-3:15 PM (EST) Benchmarking in Portfolio Manager for State and Local Governments
Sponsored by ENERGY STAR, this session will review EPA’s online energy management tool, Portfolio Manager, which enables you to track the progress of energy efficiency efforts and compare the energy use of your buildings to peer buildings across the country. Attendees will learn how to measure and track energy use and carbon dioxide emission reductions to establish baseline energy use, prioritize investments, set goals, and track improvements over time. In addition, topics discussed will include best practices for bulk data management for new and existing accounts, real-life examples of organizations that have successfully benchmarked large portfolios of buildings, and helpful information on using Portfolio Manager for reporting and tracking for EECBG recipients. https://energystar.webex.com
 
DOE Webcasts
 
November 21, 1:00-2:00 PM (EST) Leveraging Portfolio Manager for Disclosure and Green Leasing Practices
Whole-building energy performance data is the foundation of any smart energy management program. State and local governments across the country are taking advantage of Portfolio Manager to implement energy benchmarking and disclosure requirements for commercial buildings. With benchmarking policies in place, governments can evaluate individual building data to verify energy improvements made with public funds, or aggregate many facilities’ energy consumption to create an accurate portrayal of their jurisdiction’s building stock. Some governments also require that potential lenders and buyers of commercial buildings receive a building energy profile as part of a real-estate transaction, thus factoring energy use and operating costs into the decision to lease or buy space. Sponsored by DOE, this training session highlights the best practices of state and local benchmarking and disclosure policies. We will briefly discuss benchmarking and its place in the larger context of energy management planning before exploring in detail some of the choices governments face when implementing these policies. https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/553659616
November 22, 3:00-4:00 PM (EST) Collaboration and Consensus Building in States to Support Energy Efficiency as a Resource
Sponsored by DOE, this webcast is part of a series created to support Stimulating Energy Efficiency Action in States award recipients (http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wip/energy_efficiency_action.html), but is open to all states. This webcast presents the story of a successful stakeholder process in Arkansas that led to the state’s 2007 “Quick Start” utility-administered energy efficiency programs, the expansion of Quick Start programs to comprehensive programs in 2009, and the adoption in 2010 of increasing annual energy efficiency goals for 2011-2013. General principles of a successful collaborative process by utilities, utility regulators, customers and customer groups, state agencies, energy efficiency and consumer advocates, and others will be discussed. For background on the Arkansas story, webcast participants can read the Arkansas Public Service Commission’s Sustainable Energy Resources Action Guide, available at http://www.apscservices.info/hottopics/APSCDocketNo08-144-USustainableEnergyResourcesActionGuide.pdf.
November 30, 3:00-4:00 PM (EST) Partnering with Utilities, Part 2: Topics for Local Governments – Creating Successful Partnerships with Utilities to Deliver Energy Efficiency Programs
Sponsored by DOE, this webcast will build on the “Partnering with Utilities, Part 1” webcast, which explored introductory topics such as understanding different types of utilities and other energy efficiency program administrators, key drivers of utility-administered energy efficiency programs, and examples of ways to partner with utilities. Part 2 focuses on advanced topics for local government-utility partnerships, with presentations from local governments and their partnering utilities that have well-developed, multi-year relationships and programs. Part 2 topics include:

  • Designing energy efficiency programs to be responsive to each party’s needs and goals,
  • aligning program planning cycles and funding periods, and
  • Developing an energy savings measurement and verification plan that meets utilities’ requirements for cost-effectiveness justification.
Attendees will gain an enhanced understanding from U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Technical Assistance Program (TAP) experts, local governments, and their partnering utilities of how to best work with utilities to meet mutual goals and successfully build or enhance local government energy efficiency programs. Participation in Part 1 is not a prerequisite for participation in Part 2. The Part 1 presentation is available at the DOE Solution Center at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wip/solutioncenter/webcasts/default.html.

DTSC and WSPPN Announce P2 Week Video Contest Winners

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the Western Sustainability and Pollution Prevention Network (WSPPN) congratulate the students at Violet Heintz Education Academy for their outstanding achievement and support for Pollution Prevention Week 2011 through their winning entry “It Starts With Me, The Time is Now!”  The winning entry shows that the pollution prevention message is being heard loud and clear in Fresno. It is an edgy but straightforward video that shows that everyone from every community can start using fewer toxic chemicals, conserve water and energy, and generate less solid and hazardous waste. The winning video receives a prime time screening at the San Francisco Green Film Festival in March 2012.

Now in its second year, the contest sponsored by DTSC and WSPPN attracted 39 video entries–almost three times as many as the previous year.

Viewers can find the winning video on the DTSC website at: http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/PollutionPrevention/2011winner.cfm

All video finalists are shown on the WSPPN site at www.wsppn.org.

Take the green route in Google Maps

Read the full post in the Google Green blog.

We’ve learned that most people who use Google Maps just want to get from Point A to Point B — as quickly and painlessly as possible. Whether it’s planning a weekend bike route, finding the quickest roads during rush hour, or identifying bus paths with the fewest transfers, people are making the most out of Maps features to travel faster and greener. Here’s how you can use Google Maps to minimize your impact on the environment.

Obama proposes CO2 regulations

Read the full post in the LA Times Greenspaces.

The Obama Administration announced Tuesday its intention to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants for the first time. The new rule, nimbly titled “Greenhouse Gas New Source Performance Standard for Electric Utility Steam Generating Units,” would allow the Environmental Protection Agency to create emissions standards for new power plants.

It is another end-run around a Congress that has balked at passing cap-and-trade legislation or other remedies to curb greenhouse gases.

HP, Dell Overtake Nokia in Updated Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics

Read the full story in PC World.

While some consumer electronics manufacturers have cleaned up their act, making more energy-efficient gadgets with fewer toxic materials, others are continuing to make fine promises but no changes, according to Greenpeace. In response, the environmental pressure group is changing the way it scores companies in its Guide to Greener Electronics, placing more emphasis on their actions than their words, and measuring new aspects of their operations.

Biofuels Start To Take Off In The Airline Industry

Read the full story from NPR.

This week, two U.S. airlines will be flying passengers on flights powered by biofuels for the first time. On Monday a Continental flight from Houston to Chicago used a biofuel blend made in part from algae, and Wednesday Alaska Airlines is set to fly passengers using a fuel made in part from cooking oil.

If all goes well, more airlines may start to use alternative jet fuels. But the shift is not without its challenges.