Energy efficiency

California building codes: to analyze the forest you need to understand the trees

Read the full post from ACEEE.

ACEEE is a strong supporter of analyzing energy efficiency programs in order to see what they have accomplished and to learn lessons so we can do even better. It was thus with interest that we reviewed “How Much Energy Do Building Energy Codes Really Save? Evidence from California” by Arik Levinson. In this paper Levinson conducts several analyses and concludes that “there is no evidence that homes constructed since California instituted its building energy codes use less electricity today than homes built before the codes came into effect.” On the surface his conclusions about the efficacy of building codes are very different from other recent analyses such as papers by Aroonruengsawat et al., Deason and Hobbs, and Jacobsen and Kotchen, so we took a deeper look.

DOE Announces Webinars on the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s FY2016 Budget Request, and More

EERE offers webinars to the public on a range of subjects, from adopting the latest energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, to training for the clean energy workforce. Webinars are free; however, advanced registration is typically required. You can also watch archived webinars and browse previously aired videos, slides, and transcripts.

Upcoming Webinars

February 25: Live Webinar on Models for Tribal Energy Development Organizations

Webinar Sponsors: Office of Indian Energy, Western Area Power Administration

The Energy Department’s Office of Indian Energy and the Western Area Power Administration will present a live webinar titled “Models for Tribal Energy Development Organizations” on Wednesday, February 25, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.  The webinar is part of the Energy Department’s Tribal Renewable Energy Webinar Series. Presenters will discuss the benefits of developing new organizations to support energy project development, including organizations with the ability to effectively manage and implement projects that significantly contribute to community economic development and support tribal goals of energy self-sufficiency and self-determination. In addition to learning about available business models, attendees will learn how to establish strategic partnerships with private industry to advance tribal energy projects and initiatives.

Register for the webinar.

February 26: Live Webinar on Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy

Webinar Sponsor: Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office

The Energy Department will present a live webinar titled “Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy” on Thursday, February 26, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.  This Technical Assistance Program webinar will feature a comparative analysis of program design elements of existing property assessed clean energy (PACE) programs across the country. PACE is an innovative financing technique that allows energy efficiency and renewable energy investments to be made on existing structures, and is continuing to expand in communities across the country. This webinar will feature research recently conducted by Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (LBNL) and provide insight into how different commercial PACE programs have structured their programs in areas such as capital sources, underwriting criteria, and eligible energy upgrades. Attendees will leave with a deeper understanding of how PACE works, program design element choices, and lessons learned from early adopters.

Speakers include the Energy Department’s Eleni Pelican; LBNL’s Emily Fadrhonc, Program Manager of Electricity Markets and Policy; and Chris Kramer with Energy Futures Group, Inc.

Register now.

March 3: Dealerships to Donuts: Best Practices for Energy Efficiency in the Franchise Model

Webinar Sponsor: Better Buildings

The Energy Department will present a live webinar titled “Dealerships to Donuts: Best Practices for Energy Efficiency in the Franchise Model” on Tuesday, March 3, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Finding energy savings opportunities for a business franchise can be easy, but getting them implemented can be hard. While franchisors typically supply business knowledge, architectural designs, and equipment, franchise agreements and business models are not often designed to make it simple for franchisees to capitalize on energy efficiency opportunities.

Learn about the programs and tools being employed by Better Buildings partners Dunkin’ Brands and InterContinental Hotels Group to bridge this gap and motivate franchisees to save energy and reduce their environmental impact.

Register for the webinar.

March 3-5: Live Webinars on the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s FY2016 Budget Request

Webinar Sponsor: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will present a series of webinars on our Fiscal Year 2016 budget request from Tuesday, March 3 through Thursday, March 5. The webinars will feature our deputy assistant secretaries and technology office directors providing in-depth presentations of the budget proposal by sector, including specific technology office requests, and an opportunity for participants to ask questions.  Topics and registration details are below:

  • Tuesday, March 3, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time: Sustainable Transportation, led by Deputy Assistant Secretary Reuben Sarkar. Register for the webinar.
  • Wednesday, March 4, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time:  Energy Efficiency, led by Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Hogan. Register for the webinar.
  • Thursday, March 5, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time: Renewable Power, led by Deputy Assistant Secretary Doug Hollett. Register for the webinar.

Federal Government’s Energy Consumption Lowest in Almost 40 Years

Read the full post on the EERE Blog.

Recently, the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration highlighted Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) data illustrating the progress the federal government has made in reducing its energy use since 1975. While the U.S. federal government continues to be one of the largest energy consumers in the world, its consumption has been steadily declining for nearly four decades, and now stands at less than 1 quadrillion Btu, the lowest since 1975, when data collection began. Much of the decline in recent years can be attributed to a decrease in the use of jet fuel, the fuel most consumed by the government, by 40% and to energy used in federal facilities which has decreased by 46% since 1975. Fiscal Year 2013 is the latest available data, but preliminary data reported to FEMP by federal agencies for FY 2014 indicates that overall federal energy use continued to decline. While FEMP maintains a full suite of tools, this accomplishment is directly attributed federal employees making the choice for efficiency and striving to reduce operating costs of their sites.

USDA Announces Funding for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that rural agricultural producers and small business owners can now apply for resources to purchase and install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. These efforts help farmers, ranchers and other small business owners save money on their energy bills, reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, support America’s clean energy economy, and cut carbon pollution. The resources announced today are made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Developing renewable energy presents an enormous economic opportunity for rural America,” Vilsack said. “The funding we are making available will help farmers, ranchers, business owners, tribal organizations and other entities incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency technology into their operations. Doing so can help a business reduce energy use and costs while improving its bottom line. While saving producers money and creating jobs, these investments reduce dependence on foreign oil and cut carbon pollution as well.”

USDA is making more than $280 million available to eligible applicants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Application deadlines vary by project type and the type of assistance requested. Details on how to apply are on page 78029 of the December 29, 2014 Federal Register or are available by contacting state Rural Development offices.

USDA is offering grants for up to 25 percent of total project costs and loan guarantees for up to 75 percent of total project costs for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. The REAP application window has been expanded. USDA will now accept and review loan and grant applications year-round.

Eligible renewable energy projects must incorporate commercially available technology. This includes renewable energy from wind, solar, ocean, small hydropower, hydrogen, geothermal and renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters). The maximum grant amount is $500,000, and the maximum loan amount is $25 million per applicant.

Energy efficiency improvement projects eligible for REAP funding include lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, fans, automated controls and insulation upgrades that reduce energy consumption. The maximum grant amount is $250,000, and the maximum loan amount is $25 million per applicant.

USDA is offering a second type of grant to support organizations that help farmers, ranchers and small businesses conduct energy audits and operate renewable energy projects. Eligible applicants include: units of state, tribal or local governments; colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning; rural electric cooperatives and public power entities, and conservation and development districts. The maximum grant is $100,000. Applications for these particular grants have been available since December 29 of last year and are due February 12.

The REAP program was created in the 2002 Farm Bill. Because of the success of the program, Congress reauthorized it in the 2014 Farm Bill with guaranteed funding of no less than $50 million in annual funding for the duration of the 5 year bill. The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers.

Since 2009, USDA has awarded $545 million for more than 8,800 REAP projects nationwide. This includes $361 million in REAP grants and loans for more than 2,900 renewable energy systems. When fully operational, these systems are expected to generate more than 6 billion kilowatt hours annually – enough to power more than 5.5 million homes for a year.

In 2013, owners of the Ideal Dairy restaurant in Richfield, Utah, used REAP funding to install 80 solar modules and two 10-kilowatt inverters, which convert energy from solar panels to electricity. The owners have saved, on average, $400 per month. These savings have helped them preserve their restaurant and livelihood.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.

Do energy-efficiency standards bring down prices?

Read the full story at EnvironmentalResearchWeb.

Is your fridge an energy guzzling E, or a super efficient A++? Over the last 20 years people in the European Union have become used to energy consumption labels when purchasing home appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines. Many predicted that the introduction of these energy-efficiency standards would increase the price of appliances, but now a study shows that energy-efficiency policies appear to drive down quality-adjusted prices – prices that are independent of new features and improvements.

IT Energy Savings for Non-Techies: Identifying and Understanding Opportunities to Reduce Costs

January 28, 2015, 12:00-1:15 CST
Register at https://acco.site-ym.com/events/register.aspx?id=582758&itemid=7e80f395-ca62-4715-95a0-be03fde62770

This webinar will provide information and resources on driving computer and office equipment energy savings to general practitioners. Webinar presenters will review and prioritize energy savings opportunities, explain them in layman’s terms, and provide practical tips for getting IT managers and other key decision makers to support these efforts. In addition to learning about concrete next steps, webinar attendees will hear about free technical support and software made available through the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, as well as incentives from electric utilities.

Multiple Benefits of Business-Sector Energy Efficiency: A Survey of Existing and Potential Measures

Download the document.

Businesses that implement energy efficiency improvements often enjoy other benefits besides utility bill savings. However previous efforts to measure multiple benefits have been sporadic and far from rigorous. Still, evidence suggests that including non-energy impacts can reduce the payback time of some energy efficiency improvements by 50% or better. This report draws on expert interviews and a synthesis of existing literature to describe energy efficiency’s multiple benefits to business enterprises. Including non-energy benefits can strengthen the case for business investment in energy efficiency and also contribute to the cost-benefit screening of regional energy efficiency programs.