Energy efficiency

Houston to Convert All 165,000 Streetlights to LED

Read the full story in FutureStructure.

All 165,000 of Houston’s streetlights will be converted to more efficient LEDs over the next five years, halving electricity use and cutting air pollution in what Mayor Annise Parker said will be one of the nation’s largest such initiatives.

Also on Friday, the city said it had struck a deal to open up land under power lines for the construction of hike and bike trails, the result of years of negotiations in Austin to enact necessary legislation and months of local discussions. Both the trails and streetlights announcements involved agreements with CenterPoint Energy.

As Summer Heats Up, New Room AC Standards Will Help Cut Cooling Costs

Read the full post from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

New energy-efficiency standards for room air conditioners that have been years in the making go into effect June 1 – just in time to help save on summer air conditioning bills. Not only will these standards save Americans money as the mercury soars this summer, but they were also set at levels agreed to jointly by efficiency advocates, manufacturers, and consumer groups.

Save the date: 2015 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry

Dates: August 4-6, 2015
Location: Hyatt Regency Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Participants from around the world will gather for two-and-a-half days to discuss technical, policy, financing, and program issues related to increasing energy efficiency in industry.

We are delighted to welcome our 2015 Co-Chairs, Kim Crossman, Energy Trust of Oregon and Bill Hoyt, National Electrical Manufacturers Association. Their knowledge and expertise in the industry field will help design an event you don’t want to miss.

Look for the Call for Papers coming later this summer.

Fully measuring the non-energy dollar

Read the full post from ACEEE.

What is the true value of energy efficiency? Well, we all know that manufacturers use energy to meet their production goals. Energy is the lifeblood of the process and the business of manufacturing. Energy drives not just the machines, but also the pace and magnitude of the wealth created by manufacturers. Because it permeates every stage of the industrial process, energy provides ample opportunity to influence operating margins, returns on invested capital, productivity and product quality. Energy also performs concomitantly with safety and emissions compliance agendas.

EPA Adds Clothes Dryers to Energy Star Program, Increasing Energy Efficiency of New Appliances

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the first-ever Energy Star label for clothes dryers. If all residential clothes dryers sold in the U.S. meet these new requirements, the utility cost savings will grow to more than $1.5 billion each year and more than 22 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented. Informed by extensive input from manufacturers, retailers, the U.S. Department of Energy and environmental groups, the new specifications will recognize a selection of highly efficient electric, gas, and compact dryers that will use approximately 20% less energy than what is required by the minimum efficiency standards effective in 2015. In 2013 alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved $30 billion on their utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to those of 38 million homes.

“The addition of clothes dryers expands the range of Energy Star products to include one of the most energy-intensive home appliance not yet covered by the program,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Working with industry on innovative approaches to address our changing climate, we are helping consumers select more energy efficient appliances, save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.“

Over 80% of U.S. homes have a clothes dryer, and these appliances account for approximately six percent of residential electricity consumption. Dryer models that meet the new Energy Star requirements are likely to have improved auto termination sensors, which help reduce energy use by more effectively ending the drying cycle once clothes are dry. Among the more efficient gas and electric dryers that will earn the Energy Star, consumers should expect to encounter a promising new technology.Heat pump dryers recapture the hot air used by the dryer and pump it back into the drum to dry more clothes. By re-using most of the heat, it creates a heat pump dryer that is more efficient and avoids the need for ducts leading heat out of the laundry room.

This new Energy Star specification also establishes optional “connected” criteria for residential clothes dryers. Energy Star dryers with connected functionality will offer consumers convenience and energy-savings features, such as an alert indicating there is a performance issue or feedback to consumers on the energy-efficiency of different cycle selections. These products will also be “smart grid” ready, meaning they will give consumers the option to connect their dryer with their local utility to save money on their energy bills, where those services are offered, and also facilitate broader electric power system efficiency.

To earn the Energy Star label, products must be certified by an EPA-recognized third party, based on testing in an EPA-recognized laboratory. In addition, manufacturers of the products must participate in verification testing programs operated by recognized certification bodies.

Products, homes and buildings that earn the Energy Star label prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency requirements set by the U.S. EPA. From the first Energy Star qualified computer in 1992, the label can now be found on products in more than 70 different categories, with more than 4.5 billion sold over the past 20 years. Over 1.5 million new homes and 23,000 office buildings, schools and hospitals have earned the Energy Star label.

Learn more: http://www.energystar.gov/products/specs/node/117

How Nest got its customers to cut their AC use (and like it)

Read the full story at Smart Planet.

Nest, the startup purchased by Google, partnered with several utilities last year to take the intelligence embedded in its web-enabled learning thermostat beyond the home and to the grid in an effort to broaden its energy savings mission.

The partnerships appear to have worked. On Thursday, Nest released the stats behind two of the programs–Rush Hour Rewards and Seasonal Savings–designed to encourage customers to cut their energy use. To date, the Rush Hour Rewards program, which allows people to earn money or credits from their utilities by using less energy when everyone else is using more, has achieved a 55 percent reduction in use during peak times, according to Nest.

 

EPA Honors 2014 Energy Star Partners of the Year

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are honoring 127 organizations for their commitment to protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency. Recipients of the 2014 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award include Des Moines Public School District; KB Home; Meritage Homes Corporation; PepsiCo., Inc.; Sears Holdings Corporation; and Samsung.

“EPA applauds this year’s Energy Star Partner of the Year Award winners, who have demonstrated innovative strategies to help their customers, partners and stakeholders save energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “Their commitment to saving energy helps fight climate change while also helping their bottom line.”

“Each year, Energy Star partners create jobs, protect the environment and raise the bar for the home improvement industry through their dedication to energy efficiency,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson. “This national program helps homeowners by providing access to innovative home improvement solutions and enabling American families to save money by saving energy.”

The winners were selected from 16,000 Energy Star partners, including manufacturers, retailers, public schools, hospitals, real estate companies, and home builders, for their dedication to protecting the environment through greater energy efficiency.

Organizations are recognized in the following categories:

Partner of the Year–Sustained Excellence: The 72 Sustained Excellence winners continue to exhibit exceptional leadership year after year in the Energy Star program while remaining dedicated to environmental protection through superior energy efficiency.

Partner of the Year: Forty-five organizations are receiving the Partner of the Year award for strategically and comprehensively managing their energy use. These organizations promote Energy Star products and practices in their own operations, in addition to providing efficient products and services to consumers and within their community.

Partner of the Year–Climate Communications: The 10 Climate Communications winners have raised their customers’ awareness of the impacts of climate change. These partners have created communications that encourage their customers to combat climate change with the help of Energy Star and emphasize how energy-efficient behaviors have a positive effect on the environment.

Excellence: Nine winners are receiving awards in part for their superior efforts in the Home Performance with Energy Star program. The remaining organizations are receiving Excellence Awards for specific activities to promote energy-efficient products, homes, or buildings.

Products, homes and buildings that earn the Energy Star label prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency requirements set by the U.S. EPA. From the first Energy Star qualified computer in 1992, the Energy Star label can now be found on products in more than 70 different categories, with more than 4.5 billion sold. Over 1.5 million new homes and 23,000 office buildings, schools and hospitals have earned the Energy Star label. Since the Energy Star program began, American families and businesses have saved $297 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 2.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with help from Energy Star.

Complete list of winners: www.energystar.gov/awardwinners

U.S. Parking Facilities Cut Energy Use by 90 Percent, Switch 270 Million Square Feet to Energy Efficient Lighting

As part of the Energy Department’s commitment to helping U.S. businesses save money by saving energy, the Department’s Better Buildings Alliance is supporting the Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) Campaign.  To date, more than 100 U.S. businesses and organizations are participating in the campaign and planning or installing energy efficient lighting in their parking lots and garages. In the past year, these organizations have committed to install efficient lighting across more than 270 million square feet of parking space – cutting energy use by up to 90 percent.

“By making parking lots and garages more energy efficient, our partners in the Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking Campaign are saving energy, improving their bottom lines and serving as models for other organizations to increase the use of energy efficiency in their communities,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson.

Building owners spend more than $6 billion to light their parking lots and garages, and much of this could be saved if parking lots and garages were upgraded to the most efficient lighting solutions. LEEP Campaign participants have upgraded their facilities to high efficiency metal halide, fluorescent, and LED solutions that last three times longer than their previous technology and by using controls are able to reduce energy use when parking facilities are not in use. Through the LEEP Campaign, the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Alliance, the Building Owners and Managers Association, the Green Parking Council and the International Facility Management Association are working together to help owners of parking lots and garages upgrade to energy efficient lighting.

Today, the Energy Department joined LEEP Campaign co-organizers to recognize 12 organizations for leading the way in efficient lighting.   Combined, these 12 winners are saving nearly 45 million kilowatt-hours and $4 million per year by upgrading to high efficiency lighting in 500,000 parking spaces nationwide.

Since 2009, the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Alliance has provided technical assistance to help building and parking facility owners and managers install energy efficient lighting. Find more information on the Energy Department’s broader efforts to save money by saving energy at U.S. parking facilities and a full list of the organizations recognized today.

Georgetown University Energy Efficiency Prize Offering $5 Million to a Sustainable Community: Deadline June 30

The Georgetown University Energy Prize competition is offering a $5 million prize to a local community that can come up with the best long-term energy efficiency plan for “innovative, replicable, scalable and continual reductions in the per capita energy consumed from local natural gas and electric utilities.” Ultimately, the award aims to create new ways for counties and local communities to think about how and why they use energy, with a focus on the role of energy reduction in tackling the energy and environmental challenges they face.

Who can compete?

The competition is open to any county, city or town with a population between 5,000 and 250,000. All told, there are some 8,892 eligible communities, which represent nearly two-thirds of all the communities in the nation. Is your county eligible to compete? Click here to find out.

How will plans be judged?

Participating counties will be required to create a long-term plan for energy reduction, as well as demonstrate their plan’s preliminary effectiveness for two years. Plans will be judged on a number of factors, including how well they:

  • Create innovative approaches and techniques for reducing per-capita energy use,
  • Develop best practices to unite citizens, local governments, businesses, and electric utilities,
  • Educate the public, especially students, on energy efficiency issues and the benefits of reducing energy use, and
  • Increase the visibility of the work that Georgetown University and the prize’s sponsors are doing to develop new strategies for reducing energy usage and increasing energy efficiency.

When can you start?

Applications are accepted until June 30, 2014. To review the full timeline of the competition, click here.​