16 ideas for reducing healthcare energy costs

Read the full story at MultiBrief.

Healthcare organizations are constantly under pressure to reduce costs these days. That often means turning to variable staffing and supply costs for solutions.

Some healthcare leaders view energy costs as somewhat fixed, but they are probably more variable than one thinks. Energy costs are based upon consumption, and as with electricity, costs are usually higher at times of peak demand.

Fact sheet: Energy Efficiency and Health

Download the document.

Lowering the amount of energy we waste reduces our need to burn coal and other fossil fuels to generate electricity. Those reductions in pollution mean big gains for health, as pollutants from fossil fuel combustion contribute to four of the leading causes of death in the United States: cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, heart disease, and stroke. Energy efficiency benefits health. For more information on the link between energy efficiency and health, download this joint fact sheet developed by the Physicians for Social Responsibility and ACEEE.

Webinar: Can energy use data reduce electricity costs and environmental impacts?

December 9, 2015 — noon-1 pm
To watch the seminar live, connect to https://umn.webex.com/umn/onstage/g.php?d=749731945&t=a. Connection instructions are available here.

Alexandra Klass, IonE Resident Fellow and Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Law School; and Elizabeth Wilson, IonE Resident Fellow and Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

As state and local governments and electricity users attempt to improve the efficiency of their buildings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and realize the promises of improved demand-side management of energy resources, the need for electricity and other energy-related data becomes ever more pressing. Yet current law allows companies to keep a significant amount of energy use data confidential. In this talk we will draw lessons from the more sophisticated legal frameworks governing health care, education and environmental emissions data that balance public policy needs for data evaluation with privacy interests. A review of the law in these fields shows that the privacy and confidentiality interests in energy consumption data may be overstated and, in any event, can be adequately addressed in most instances by aggregating the data, using historic rather than current data, or developing contracts and other agreements to ensure security where access to individualized data is needed.

Webinar: Better Together: Linking and Leveraging Energy Programs for Low-Income Households

Thu, Nov 19, 2015 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM CST
Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7475586524357611778

Low-income households typically spend more on energy than average households do, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of household expenditures. Furthermore, low-income households often lack the means to make improvements in energy efficiency or to purchase renewable energy technologies. Recognizing these facts, government agencies, non-profits, and utilities offer a wide range of energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RE) programs targeted to low-income households. Too often, however, the services provided by these programs are delivered independently, without a high level of coordination. This can result in duplication of effort, wasted resources, and reduced effectiveness.

This 90-minute webcast will explore the topic of linking and leveraging EE/RE programs for limited-income households, including the need to coordinate with other energy assistance programs. It will present case studies of organizations that have successfully advanced connections among available programs and funding sources. Learn about:

  • The benefits of state program alignment from the National Energy Assistance Directors Association,
  • Energy Outreach Colorado’s experience creating a non-profit hub for energy assistance, and
  • DTE Energy’s experience designing utility programs to coordinate assistance.

This webcast is the first in a series brought to you by U.S. EPA’s State and Local Climate and Energy Program, showcasing effective efforts by state and local agencies, non-profits, and utilities to bring EE/RE to low-income households. Under the Clean Power Plan, EPA is committed to helping communities benefit from EE/RE. EPA hopes these examples will inform state and local EE/RE strategies targeted at low-income households.

New report on energy-efficient computing

Read the full story from the National Science Foundation.

A report that resulted from a workshop jointly funded by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and National Science Foundation (NSF) outlines key factors limiting progress in computing–particularly related to energy consumption–and novel research that could overcome these barriers.

Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans & Grants

Application deadlines

  • Grants of $20,000 or less: November 2, 2015 and May 2, 2016;
  • Unrestricted Grants (up to $500,000): May 2, 2016;
  • Loan Guarantees are competed continuously throughout the year.

Full solicitation available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-12-29/pdf/2014-30184.pdf

This program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.

Who may apply?

  • Agricultural producers with at least 50% of gross income coming from agricultural operations, and
  • Small businesses in eligible rural areas.

NOTE:  Agricultural producers and small businesses must have no outstanding delinquent federal taxes, debt, judgment or debarment.

What is an eligible area?

  • Businesses must be in an area other than a city or town with a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area of that city or town. Check eligible business addresses.
  • Agricultural producers may be in rural or non-rural areas.

How may the funds be used?
Funds may be used for the purchase, installation and construction of renewable energy systems, such as:

  • Biomass (for example: biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels)
  • Geothermal for electric generation or direct use
  • Hydropower below 30 megawatts
  • Hydrogen
  • Small and large wind generation
  • Small and large solar generation
  • Ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation

Funds may also be used for the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements, such as:

  • High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC)
  • Insulation
  • Lighting
  • Cooling or refrigeration units
  • Doors and windows
  • Electric, solar or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots
  • Switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor
  • Replacement of energy-inefficient equipment

What funding is available?

  • Loan guarantees on loans up to 75% of total eligible project costs
  • Grants for up to 25% of total eligible project costs
  • Combined grant and loan guarantee funding up to 75% of total eligible project costs

What are the loan guarantee terms?

  • $5,000 minimum loan amount
  • $25 million maximum loan amount
  • Up to 85% loan guarantee
  • Rates and terms negotiated with the lender and subject to USDA approval
  • Maximum term of 30 years for real estate
  • Maximum term of 15 years for machinery and equipment
  • Maximum term of 7 years for capital loans
  • Maximum term of 30 years for combined real estate and equipment loans

What are the grant terms?
Renewable Energy System Grants:

  • $2,500 minimum
  • $500,000 maximum

Energy Efficiency Grants:

  • $1,500 minimum
  • $250,000 maximum

Are there additional requirements?

  • Applicants must provide at least 75% of the project cost if applying for a grant only.
  • Applicants must provide at least 25% of the project cost if applying for loan, or loan and grant combination.
  • Projects greater than $200,000 require a technical report.
  • Energy efficiency projects require an energy audit or assessment.


Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audit & Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants

Application Deadline: February 1, 2016
Full solicitation available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-10-06/pdf/2015-25321.pdf.

Eligible applicants include:

Grantees assist rural small businesses and agricultural producers by conducting and promoting energy audits, and providing renewable energy development assistance (REDA).

The assistance must be provided to agricultural producers and rural small businesses. Rural small businesses must be located in eligible rural areas. This restriction does not apply to agricultural producers. Assistance provided must consist of:

  • Energy Audits.
  • Renewable energy technical assistance
  • Renewable energy site assessments

Eligible project costs may include:

  • Salaries directly related to the project.
  • Travel expenses directly related to conducting energy audits or renewable energy development assistance.
  • Office supplies.
  • Administrative expenses, up to a maximum of 5% of the grant, which include but are not limited to utilities, office space, operation expenses of office and other project-related equipment.

Funds may not be used for:

  • Payment for construction-related activities.
  • Purchase or lease of equipment.
  • Payment of judgments or debt owed the government.
  • Goods or services provided by a person or entity who has a conflict of interest.
  • Costs incurred by preparing an application package.
  • Funding political or lobbying activities.