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The Benefits of Bold (State Level) Energy Efficiency Policy

June 23rd, 2011 by Jim Crowder
States with EERS

States with EERS Activity: Blue states have adopted EERS standards; the others have pending, voluntary, or EERS/renewable combined goals

States, like sisters, are doing it for themselves. I mean we really should say thank you, stalled Congress, for spurring energy efficient action at the local level: USA Today reported this week on how Energy Efficient Resource Standards (EERS) have taken hold nationally, if not from above, then on a grassroots level: States’ efforts lead the way on energy efficiency (also on EnergyCentral).

I mean, did you think you’d see the day? In the last decade, not only have over half of the states set rules mandating policy for reduced energy consumption, but the impact is showing:


“… the results are lower bills for consumers and a reduced need to build power plants.”

Nevermind the cost savings for a second – we’ll get back to that – just look at the mass action needed to halt growth. Mass action NOT incited by our main governing body, (though you could make a case for the American Reinvestment Act being the real catalyst). Action that, through reduction, makes the idea of building another power plant unnecessary.

State EERS Targets vs Achieved

Click to enlarge

And the cost savings is real: For example, in 2009 and 2010, Ohio utility customers saved $56 million in energy costs over and above the costs to deliver energy efficient programs.

The above stat comes from a hot-off-the-presses report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy titled Energy Efficiency Resource Standards: A Progress Report on State Experience. It states:

“over half the states now embrace specific energy efficiency savings goals, known as…EERS. An EERS requires utilities…to save a certain amount of energy each year, typically expressed as a percentage of annual retail energy sales or as specific energy savings amounts set over a long-term period.”

EERS Policy Approaches by State

Policy approaches by state: blue states have EERS, green states have targeted utility goals

Thirteen out of twenty states with EERS policies in place for over two years are achieving 100% or more of their goals. BOO-YAH.

“These states are demonstrating that energy efficiency programs deliver real savings for utilities and ratepayers, and it is more affordable than any supply-side energy source,” said report author Michael Sciortino of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a Washington-based research group.

Fun facts? The most successful energy efficiency programs are found in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Vermont. You can read about how they work their magic here.

Lastly, don’t miss the June article in, the online publication of Building Operating Management (follow BOM on Twitter), Understanding What An Energy Model Can And Can’t Do Is Critical To Its Success. It’s part of a series, Biggest Bang for Your Efficiency Buck. Part 2, Realistic Expectations Needed To Get Most Out Of Energy Modeling, is here.

Images from ACEEE reports, Energy Efficiency Resource Standards: A Progress Report on State Experience and State Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) Activity.


Webinar on Demand, New York’s Energy Movement

June 9th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

First off, some eye candy! Did you know you can access Part 3 of AirAdvice’s How-To Webinar Series – Sales and Marketing Best Practices – at the Energy Services Resource Library?

coned energy efficiency summit new yorkThe New York Times (via Greenwire) reported on a sea change for existing NYC buildings in this week’s story, Skyscraper Owners Learn ABCs of LEDs in Push to Save Energy. Sparked by the Con Edison Energy Efficiency Summit, the event is indicative of what Greenwire called “an energy-efficiency movement that is transforming the city’s real estate market.” Quote:

The City Council is still considering a slew of recommendations offered last year by the Green Codes Task Force, a temporary alliance of building professionals charged by Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) to find ways to use building codes to force reductions in electricity use. But experts say the “green retrofitting” industry here is taking on a life of its own, independent of the expectations of the Bloomberg administration. – The New York Times via Greenwire

Additional factors cited for added emphasis on energy efficiency in the Big Apple:

  • Falling commercial rents in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis forced building owners to scramble for ways to reduce costs, and cutting energy use was at the top of many to-do lists.
  • The city’s buildings and their equipment are aging and due for refurbishment or replacement.
  • Commercial real estate transactions are down, so property companies are holding their buildings longer than at other times, encouraging them to make them more efficient.

Moreover, real estate professionals are discovering that energy efficient buildings command demand and better rents. And you don’t have to be LEED anymore to garner attention; insiders say the most influential projects do not carry the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) seal.

Perhaps the article’s nitty gritty was spoken by Michael Waite, a senior staffer at the engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. who emphasized the need to spell out the cost-benefit equation to building owners.

“To make an investment, an owner wants proven technologies and some idea of the return on investment,” Waite said. “The lack of confidence in some measures is understandable — there is an investment required, the energy performance prediction tools are imperfect and every building responds differently.”

Another reason to get behind the scientific data collection, analyzation and reporting provided by BuildingAdvice. This “movement” – however exciting – is really a sign of the times resulting from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)’s energy efficiency incentive program enacted last year, as well as new statewide energy efficiency standards. The article has more on New York’s energy rebates, as well.

davinci middle school first LEED classroom

A skylight in the Evans – Harvard High Performance Classroom at the da Vinici Arts Middle School in Portland, Ore. was recently awarded LEED platinum certification – the first K-12 public school building to achieve this level of certification.

Right here in AirAdvice’s back yard, Ameresco announced multiple energy efficiency contracts with regional school districts including Portland Public Schools. The energy efficiency and renewable energy company announced it would conduct Investment Grade Audits under a new phase of a budget-neutral Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) with the district.

Nonsequitur: did you know the NEWS has its own LinkedIn Group? Your fave NEWSer editors Mike Murphy (get to know him better at his video blog Murphy’s Travels), Barb Checket-Hanks, and others are there.

If you don’t already know, has a handy Tip of the Day in text and audio format which is quick and informative. You might want to sign up for the RSS to get these tips delivered straight into your email. “Energy Model Can Improve HVAC System Energy Efficiency” caught our ear/eye recently.'s tip of the day

Non-non-sequitur (is that a sequitur?) if you listen to the soundbite at the above link: submetering: what do you think? Does it affect your business? How are you using it? If you could submeter your chiller plant, would you? Did anyone notice The Building Advisor put Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. and Prince into the same post? That’s how we roll.

Images courtesy Rethink Energy and Design, a blog from Better Bricks, Ameresco,