5 expensive energy mistakes grocers are making

Read the full story at Grocery Dive.

Food retailers can save roughly $15,000 annually per store by improving five overlooked practices, according to Ratio Institute, a nonprofit specializing in grocery sustainability.

Webinar: Indeterminate Savings Energy Conservation Measures: Get More Savings from Performance Contracts

May 24, 2023, noon-1:15 pm CDT
Register here.

This training informs attendees about an innovative way to integrate energy conservation measures (ECM) with “indeterminate” savings into energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) and utility energy service contracts (i.e., ones whose savings aren’t clear from a typical performance contract’s investment-grade audit, or whose savings are likely to vary from year to year). Examples of these ECMs are whole-building re-/retro-commissioning, participation in demand response programs, and behavioral initiatives like ISO 50001.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, attendees will be able to:

  • Recognize examples of indeterminate savings ECMs and understand why they rarely appear in PCs despite typically having short simple payback periods.
  • Identify the advocated contractual techniques to incorporate these ECMs in PCs and the key issues to raise with agency legal and contracting colleagues.
  • Identify the generally accepted rules around the use of reserve accounts.

Take a look at the Federal Energy Management Program Training Catalog for a complete list of in-person and online energy management training.

Tom Steyer to begin net-zero apartment upgrades nationwide

Read the full story at The Hill.

The investment firm of billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer is set to begin acquiring and upgrading apartments and buildings across the U.S. in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to reports.

Portland Public Schools: Hybrid Funding for Energy Efficiency Projects

Read the full case study from U.S. DOE’s Better Buildings Program.

Portland Public Schools (PPS), realized the long-term benefits of energy efficiency upgrades, but was averse to completing projects because of the district’s limited capital budget which was reserved for emergency infrastructure needs. In addition, officials were concerned that the process of verifying and maintaining ongoing savings would be timely and complicated.

Computer scientists say seagull algorithms could hide the secret to greener cloud computing

Read the full story from Fast Company.

We have engineered materials that are sturdier than ever, modeled after the oozing networks of the humble slime mold. And locomotive robots, propelled by the squishing trudge motions of an earthworm. And symmetric algorithms, which mimic the way shapes like snowflakes and sunflowers bloom spontaneously.

Now, a team of researchers from the United Kingdom, China, and Austria are looking to use the habits of seagulls to build better cloud computing systems.In a paper published in Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical Systems, a journal from KeAi, which was founded in a partnership between Elsevier and China Science Publishing & Media, the researchers argue that using a “seagull optimization algorithm”—a so-called meta-heuristic algorithm that mimics the hunting and migration behavior of seagulls—can make cloud computing more energy efficient, cutting its power consumption by 5.5% and lightening its network traffic by 70%.

Tracking energy usage just got easier

Read the full story from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Managers of manufacturing plants have a lot of energy bills to handle. But just paying them when they hit the desk does nothing to increase a plant’s efficiency or help understand how that plant is using energy and when it’s using it the most.
But now there’s a tool, produced by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, that allows users to track energy expenditure and model it for greater efficiency. Called VERIFI, for Visualizing Energy Reporting Information and Financial Implications, it’s available online or as a download, for free, for anyone hoping to keep better tabs on their energy usage.

Property-assessed clean energy programs are popular for local decarbonization financing: report

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

Local governments often use property-assessed clean energy programs to help fund climate efforts, a recent Brookings Institution report found. Taxes and emerging strategies like local financing authorities and funding partnerships are less common, it states.

Thirty-nine states allow local governments to create PACE programs to encourage building efficiency upgrades. Such programs help property owners finance all the upfront costs of energy efficiency projects like new heat and cooling systems or insulation by allowing them to repay those costs over a long period, often up to 20 years, through property taxes.

“Funding and financing are often the biggest barriers to local decarbonization efforts,” the report says. “With larger cities requiring billions of dollars to retrofit their building stock, construct new transit lines, or modernize local electricity distribution systems, being realistic about how to fund all these investments is an essential step to decarbonization.”

Leading with Equity: Recommendations for State Decision Makers, Utilities, and Regulators to Advance Energy Equity

Download the fact sheets.

Through the Leading with Equity initiative, ACEEE researchers have synthesized perspectives from community-based organizations (CBOs) and advocates to provide recommendations to help decision makers advance an equitable energy future through state- and utility-level action. Communities of color and low-income communities face high energy burdens and barriers to accessing energy efficiency and clean energy services, while experiencing disproportionately high levels of pollution and living in less efficient housing. Providing more robust, accessible energy-saving programs and services to communities of color and low-income communities can address this problem and advance an equitable energy future. Decision makers working in state agencies, utilities, and regulatory bodies can better embed equity in their clean energy programs and policies by implementing recommendations based on the expertise of the communities most impacted by climate change, the energy system, and high energy bills. 

We still use appliances like it’s 1970. There’s a better way.

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

When I was a kid, my dad followed behind me, shutting off the incandescent lights I left burning around the house. “You’re wasting energy,” he’d scold as I tried to slip out of the room. He was right, of course. In the 1980s, 5 to 10 percent of an average household’s electricity bill went to keeping the lights on. So when my own son was born last June, my dad joked he was waiting for the day when his grandson would exact his revenge on my utility bill.

Luckily for me, this day will never come. I’ve been rescued by LED lights, now the primary lighting source for about half of U.S. homes. LEDs are wafers of semiconducting material that emit as much light as incandescent bulbs while using about 10 percent of the electricity. Later this year, incandescent bulbs will disappear from store shelves for good as new federal efficiency standards take effect. If it isn’t already, your home lighting will soon be a rounding error on your energy budget.

Yet many people still sound like my dad. When you ask Americans how they save energy at home, “turn off the lights” has been at the top of the list since the 1980s. But when it comes to actual savings, it doesn’t even crack the top 10. Like most conventional wisdom about how to reduce householdenergy and emissions, much of what we believe about our homes and appliances is wrong.

It’s time to update our thinking.

Commercial Building Incentives: Programs for New Construction and Upgrades in the Inflation Reduction Act and Other Recent Federal Laws

Download the policy brief.

The recent Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), along with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) from 2021, fund multiple programs and tax incentives to improve the energy efficiency of new and existing commercial and public buildings. The 179D tax deduction is revamped and now includes a new pathway for retrofits. Even larger broad greenhouse gas emission reduction programs under the IRA could be used to reduce emissions from commercial buildings. But the programs use a variety of mechanisms to offer varying incentives with varying goals and criteria. This brief summarizes programs that will or could provide significant resources for energy efficiency in commercial and public buildings.