Plan your celebration for Energy Efficiency Day 2017

Oct. 5 is fast approaching, and the message for Energy Efficiency Day 2017—save energy, save money—is one your customers will surely appreciate.

Following the success of last year’s first-ever national event, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy You are leaving WAPA.gov. is looking to expand participation and awareness of the event. More than 175 were official supporters in 2016. Your utility could join the more than 175 government agencies, companies, power providers, cities and other organizations that supported Energy Efficiency Day in 2016.

Outreach includes a website, a Facebook account, You are leaving WAPA.gov. more official declarations and a challenge to save energy in homes and businesses. An ACEEE blog post  lists four suggestions for challenging your community to save energy.

  • Sign up on the new event website You are leaving WAPA.gov. as an individual or as an organization. You will receive ideas and fun facts to share on social media as Energy Efficiency Day gets closer.
  • Urge your residential and commercial customers to take the Lightbulb Challenge or the Office Lighting Challenge.  Challengers agree to replace at least one light bulb with an LED. If each US household purchases just one LED bulb, consumers could save $500 million annually.
  • Share your own energy efficiency story. Promote your news about Energy Efficiency Day and the benefits of saving energy–and money–through blog posts, emails, newsletters and social media. Create your own content with videos, photos, graphics or other messages. Sign up on the EE Day website to get more material you can use from ACEEE.

You can use your imagination, too–creativity and humor are welcomed. And don’t forget to share your ideas with ACEEE and WAPA. We would love to highlight your activities in an Energy Services Bulletin story.

Source: American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, 9/5/17

ACEEE blog series explores energy-efficiency investments in US

Stacks of American dollar billsEnergy efficiency is a big and growing business with $231 billion invested globally in 2016, according to an estimate by the International Energy Agency You are leaving WAPA.gov. (IEA). The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) used the release of the IEA Worldwide Investment report in July as a springboard to examine how much the United States invests in energy efficiency, what is driving that investment and how it could be increased.

We spend how much?
The first blog post, How Many Billions do US Businesses and Individuals Invest in Energy Efficiency Each Year?You are leaving WAPA.gov. gave $41 billion as the estimated figure for efficiency spending in our country. This was the first year that the IEA report gave a separate estimate for the U.S., but spending was not broken out by sector. Based on the worldwide estimate, about 58 percent of that spending is for buildings, 26 percent for transportation and 16 percent for industry.

Drawing on other spending reports to get a clearer picture, ACEEE concludes that our energy-efficiency investments may actually range from $60 billion to $115 billion annually. This wide-ranging estimate results from different studies employing different measurement methods and parameters. However, additional research by ACEEE and by the U.S. Green Building Council You are leaving WAPA.gov. suggest this range is reasonable.

Policy appears to be the primary driver in energy-efficiency investments, with building codes and appliance and vehicle standards responsible for about $20 billion worth. “Spillover” occurs when policies and programs, such as utility incentives and customer programs, indirectly influence consumer decisions.

Reasons why
Other factors driving the decision to invest in energy efficiency include income and education levels among residential consumers and type of industry for business customers.

Who Invests in Energy Efficiency and Why?, the second blog post, cites a survey by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing that large firms are more likely to engage in energy management activities than small companies. Businesses participating in the Shelton Group’s 2016 B2B Pulse study You are leaving WAPA.gov. rated how important sustainability and conservation were to their company’s operating and capital expenditure decisions. Commercial real estate development and property management were the industry groups that gave energy issues the most consideration.

The EIA’s 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey found that consumers with higher incomes are more likely to make energy-efficiency investments large enough to be eligible for federal energy-efficiency tax credits. Smaller investments, such as new lightbulbs, do not appear to be affected by consumer income. Another study found an education effect along with the income effect, but income and education are usually closely related. Households that have moved within the last three years spend more on efficiency improvements, as do younger families.

The reasons commercial customers offer for making efficiency upgrades, while not unexpected, show a subtle shift in priorities. From the Shelton Group study, business customers cited “energy savings or other cost reductions” as the leading motivation for investing in efficiency. Although concern about climate change ranked toward the bottom of the list, the percentage of respondents that mentioned it has nearly doubled in the last year.

Saving on electric bills also topped the reasons residential customers gave for undertaking energy-efficiency improvements at 61 percent. Making the home more comfortable followed with 35 percent and making the home healthier was mentioned by 27 percent of respondents. Taken together, comfort and safety are an equal consideration to financial concerns. The study recommends focusing homeowners on both the financial and non-financial benefits of energy efficiency to explain the value of their investment.

Let’s do more
The final post addresses the question on every utility program manager’s mind—How Can we Increase Energy Efficiency Investments?—and offers 10 suggestions to make it happen. According to ACEEE, only about one-quarter of households and businesses implement efficiency upgrades, in spite of the benefits.

The suggestions focus on expanding what is already working, while remaining open to new approaches. More measurement and benchmarking could help program providers identify successful programs and help customers see the value of energy-efficiency improvements. The article also recommends seeking partnerships with real estate, financial and construction industries to reach consumers through different channels.

Energy-efficiency investments were 8-9 percent higher in 2016 than in 2015. The ACEEE blog series offers some starting points to help utilities keep the momentum going. Energy Services looks forward to hearing about your ideas for getting more results from your existing programs and for creative new service offerings.

Source: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

White paper compiles data on utility programs for low-income customers

Low-income households spend on average three times more of their income on energy bills You are leaving WAPA.gov. than other households, and easing the pain of higher bills during peak-load times of year is a continuous challenge for utilities.

This group of customers can be hard to reach, leading to a hit-or-miss track record for low-income energy-efficiency programs. But the benefits of successful programs stretch beyond energy and bill savings to include fewer shut-offs, healthier homes, less outdoor pollution and more local jobs. It is well worth the effort to design an effective program, and a new report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) can take some of the mystery out of doing it.

The baseline assessment of more than 70 utilities’ electric and natural gas programs chronicles total investments in these programs, energy savings impacts, customer participation and use of best practices. The study looked at the largest electric and natural gas utility serving each of the 51 largest metropolitan statistical areas.

ACEEE researchers found that low-income programs varied in terms of how deeply they address whole-home energy-efficiency needs and how accessible they were to customers. While many utilities design and administer impressive, effective low-income programs, many of those programs could be improved with best practice elements or increased resources.

The report also looks at best practices in implementation, including whether programs target specific households based on energy burden or other vulnerabilities and streamline enrollment for easier access. Partnering with the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) to leverage funds and reach more customers is another factor that impacts the effectiveness of a low-income program.

The study includes maps, data tables and new state-level information on low-income program requirements, cost-effectiveness rules and coordination with the WAP program. Utilities can use the data to see how their programs compare to those of similar utilities and to identify opportunities for adding best practice elements.

Read the entire ACEEE blog post for more information, and share your free copy of the report with state and local policymakers as well as other stakeholders. Also, if your utility has a program to help low-income customers, Energy Services Bulletin would like to know about your experiences.

Source: American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, 7/11/17

New Year offers many educational opportunities

Changes and challenges are coming to the utility industry in 2017, along with plenty of new tools and innovative approaches you can use to not only manage but master the shifting landscape. Here are some upcoming workshops and courses to help you prepare for what the New Year has in store:

Utility Scale Storage Battery Investments: The Technology, Challenges and Business Case You are leaving WAPA.gov. 
Feb. 7-8, 2017
San Francisco, CA

Storage batteries have been around for a while, but integrating them into transmission and distribution systems is new territory for electric utilities. Until recently, it was difficult to make a business case for investing in utility-scale storage. However, the integration of more intermittent and non-dispatchable resources into utility portfolios is changing the cost-benefit equation. Storage batteries provide high-speed response, controllability, modularity, scalability, expandability, flexibility and transportability—exactly the attributes utilities are going to need for the foreseeable future.

Make it your New Year’s resolution to expand your professional horizons and prepare for the changes coming to the utility industry.

This seminar provides an overview and guided tour of proven battery technologies from different manufacturers, challenges of interconnection, investment requirements, typical storage battery power purchase agreements, settlement equations and investment guidelines. The seminar materials cover the full spectrum of applications for utilities, regulatory agencies, project developers, private investors, finance firms, wholesale market participants and owners of wind and solar power plants.

The International Association for Continuing Education and Training You are leaving WAPA.gov. (IACET) has authorized energy training and consulting firm EUCI You are leaving WAPA.gov. to offer one continuing education unit for the course. Attendees will also receive a copy of the presentations and other reference materials.

Introduction to Forecasting for Utility/Power Industry Professionals You are leaving WAPA.gov. 
Feb. 7-8, 2017
New Orleans, Louisiana

Load forecasting has always been an invaluable tool for helping utilities manage uncertainty. But pre-computer era forecasting practices do not account for a host of bewildering conditions that now affect electricity use. Changes in the mix of supply- and demand-side resources, the impact of technology on the grid and access it allows to system and customer data and dramatic shifts in commodity prices are just a few of the factors that traditional methodologies are failing to capture.

Fortunately, new forecasting methods have been developed to address challenges such as demand forecasting, renewable generation forecasting and price forecasting. This course offers an introduction to modernized forecasting principles, practices and their applications in the utility industry. It will be loaded with examples and illustrations that translate these methodologies into the resulting utility practices.

Attendees will get the essential tools for making sense of today’s power environment and delivering proper guidance for industry decision-makers. An IACET credit is also available for this class.

AESP National Conference 2017 You are leaving WAPA.gov.
Feb. 13-16, 2017

Orlando, Florida

“Destination Innovation” is the theme of the 27th annual conference of the Association for Energy Services Professionals. This event draws top program managers, policy makers, implementers, marketers, evaluators, consultants and vendors in energy efficiency. The extensive agenda will cover the range of current topics in marketing, tools and technology, implementation, program design, research, evaluation and more.

In addition to speaker presentations, panel discussions and networking events, this year’s conference offers pre-conference training courses. Attendees can either focus on program planning, design and implementation or brush up on their critical thinking skills, while earning .5 CEU.

2017 PACENation Summit You are leaving WAPA.gov.
Denver, Colorado

Feb. 13-15, 2017

New and innovative versions of property-assessed clean energy (PACE) legislation and programs are gaining support across the country. Learn more about this 100-percent voluntary strategy to fund energy upgrades to buildings while creating jobs, increasing property value and making progress on state policy goals. The second annual Summit will offer an in-depth look into the growth in residential PACE financing, new PACE products, strategies and programs in development and more.

Newcomers and PACE practitioners alike can will benefit from the opening workshop, PACE 101 Workshop. Presentations will cover legislation to project implementation, including best practices in legislation, local ordinances, program design, financing options, marketing to building owners and training of contractors. Add a wide range of sessions led by PACE experts and an abundance of networking opportunities, and you have a crash course on a valuable tool for growing energy efficiency in your community.

Utility Energy Forum You are leaving WAPA.gov.
May 3-5, 2017

Santa Rosa, California

Program development and networking are central to the Utility Energy Forum, now in its 37th year. The sessions will challenge traditional thinking and ask attendees how they are preparing for a different energy utility industry than the one they knew.

This year’s theme, “Change is the Only Constant – Customers, Policy and Technology,” is appropriate not only for our industry, but also for the new location. The Hilton Sonoma, in Santa Rosa near California’s wine country, will host the forum. What hasn’t changed, however, are the sessions “ripped from today’s headlines” (or rather, from our daily experiences), the outstanding speaker roster, and the abundance of networking opportunities. WAPA Energy Services representatives will be there, too, and we look forward to some face-to-face time with our customers.

E Design 2020: Accelerating Utility Innovation for the New Energy Consumer You are leaving WAPA.gov. 
May 10-11, 2017
San Francisco, California

This first-of-its-kind event focuses on creating utility products, services and experiences for the customer of today and tomorrow. Forward-thinking utility leaders and experts from outside the utility space will explore innovative approaches and design-oriented experiences from a variety of industries to demonstrate how these strategies can be applied at utilities. E Design 2020 askes attendees to leave their comfort zone, uncover high-potential partnerships and discover ways to embrace technological changes that will affect residential and non-residential customers.

After introducing attendees to the design-oriented approach, the comprehensive agenda covers distributed energy, demand-side management, energy services, technology and targeted customer programs. The event highlights empathetic thinking to discover customers’ underlying needs and find new ways of developing products and services that will turn customers into allies.

Learn from past, shape future
It is not too late to benefit from some of the excellent training events of 2016, either. Presentations from the previous Utility Energy Forum and Rocky Mountain Utility Efficiency Exchange You are leaving WAPA.gov. are available online.

You can also download materials from the Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference (BECC), presented annually by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The conference looks at human behavior and decision-making and how to use the knowledge to accelerate the transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon future. The session abstracts You are leaving WAPA.gov. and some PowerPoint presentations You are leaving WAPA.gov. are available for free, or you can buy the full proceedings.

This is the time to let ACEEE know what you would like to see on the 2017 BECC agenda. ACEEE will issue the call for abstracts Feb. 10 for presentations that:

  • Identify key lessons about behavior and decision making that advance energy/climate solutions
  • Help integrate research insights throughout the value chains of energy-using goods and services
  • Expand support for social science research as applied to the biggest contributors to today’s energy challenges
  • Facilitate knowledge accumulation, exchange and collaboration across analytical approaches from micro to macro (e.g., individual, group, organizational, societal behavior, and decision making)

Even if you can’t make it to any of these events, you still have plenty of options in online education. From the Community Solar Value Project You are leaving WAPA.gov. to webinars presented by the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Initiative to the American Public Power Association DEED programYou are leaving WAPA.gov. Make it your New Year’s resolution to check the events calendar on the Energy Services home page regularly and take time to expand your professional horizons.

ACEEE report: Energy efficiency a critical resource for meeting demand, environmental goals

The combined savings from appliance and equipment efficiency standards, utility-sector energy-efficiency programs and building codes since 1990 represent the third-largest electricity resource in the nation, according to a new report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy You are leaving WAPA.gov. (ACEEE). Moreover, increased use of these policies could potentially make it the US’s largest electricity resource by 2030. logo

Growing economy, flat energy use
The Greatest Energy Story You Haven’t Heard: How Investing in Energy Efficiency Changed the US Power Sector and Gave Us a Tool to Tackle Climate Change, released in August, seeks to correct the oversight of the title. By quantifying the energy savings and other benefits from a set of energy-efficiency programs and policies, the paper details the quiet success story that started 40 years ago.

Following the 1973 oil crisis, a diverse group of scientists, analysts and policymakers began to develop strategies to reduce energy waste and use less energy to deliver the same or better services. As a result, our gross domestic product increased by 149 percent from 1980 to 2014 while energy use in the United States increased by just 26 percent. Without energy-efficiency, we would need the equivalent of 313 additional power plants to meet the country’s energy demands.

Utilities making the business case for customer programs will find data to show that energy efficiency creates US jobs, reduces energy burdens for struggling customers and strengthens community resilience. Commercial customers will be interested to learn that it also improves their bottom line and returns at least double its investment. Homeowners save an average of $840 annually through energy efficiency and have the potential to save more.

Fighting climate change
Just as important as the economic benefits is ACEEE’s finding that energy efficiency policies can play a major role in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. Most states could meet at least 25 percent of their emissions reduction requirements through efficiency policies and the resulting investments, and many could achieve 100 percent.

Utilities understand that the cleanest kilowatt-hour is the one never used. Those 313 power plants that were never built would have emitted 490 tons of carbon dioxide by 2015. The report states that well-designed policies could save another 1,000 terawatts and avoid all the accompanying emissions.

The successful policies cited in the report include:

  • Appliance and equipment efficiency standards that enforce minimum performance requirements while still leaving consumers a wide array of more efficient products to choose among.
  • Building energy codes, which set minimum requirements for energy-efficient design and construction for new and renovated buildings.
  • Utility energy-efficiency targets and energy savings goals to meet through programs that help customers save energy.
  • Utility regulatory reforms that incentivize utilities to provide energy-efficiency services to customers instead of selling more electricity and investing in more electricity generation resources.

Barriers remain
The report acknowledges that in spite of the many benefits energy efficiency offers to society, there are still barriers to widespread adoption.

Consumer awareness of energy performance is still limited and data on their energy use is often not available to them. Split incentives, such as rental properties, are another common problem. Building owners have little reason to make property improvements if they are not paying the utility bills.

Beyond the consumer’s control are regulatory, legal and pricing issues. Business models that tie profits to selling more energy and making capital investment discourage investments in energy efficiency. The environmental, health and security costs to society of energy production and transmission are not factored into energy prices. Although energy efficiency helps reduce these costs, the savings are rarely recognized.

Measuring the effects of energy efficiency still poses a challenge, as utility program managers are well aware. However, recent advances in data availability and analytics are making this task easier.

You can download The Greatest Energy Story You Haven’t Heard for free and share it with your board of directors, resource planners and program managers. Take a moment to congratulate your colleagues on a successful strategy and then start planning how to keep on succeeding.

Source: American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, 9/14/16

Celebrate energy efficiency, public power in October

Public Power Week
Oct. 2-8

Energy Efficiency Day
Oct. 5

It is fitting that as the days get noticeably colder and darker, we recognize the people who make sure we can light and warm our homes (and cook hearty meals and take hot baths) all year around. Public Power Week You are leaving WAPA.gov. is Oct. 2-8, and this year, Oct. 5, Energy Efficiency Day You are leaving WAPA.gov., is dedicated to the role wise energy use plays in keeping electricity reliable and affordable.

Public Power Week, Oct. 2-8, 2016 an American Tradition

(Artwork by American Public Power Association)

American Public Power Association (APPA) sponsors Public Power Week and provides plenty of resources to help utilities get their celebration off the ground. You can suggest your local municipality issue a proclamation, send messages on your social media platforms and provide local media with news releases and public service announcements. Post facts from APPA’s public power and energy-efficiency fact sheets on your website and make sure your member services representatives have copies handy to share.

Let your customers know Oct. 5 is Energy Efficiency Day.

Let your customers know Oct. 5 is Energy Efficiency Day. (Artwork by ResourceMedia)

Speaking of energy efficiency, do your customers know that this “power source” has prevented the need to build 313 large plants since 1990? According to American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy You are leaving WAPA.gov. (ACEEE), further ramping up energy efficiency could spare the country from having to build 487 large power plants over the next 14 years. The inaugural Energy Efficiency Day offers utilities the chance to educate consumers on the importance of saving energy.

Energy efficiency saves consumers and businesses money, creates jobs and stimulates the economy. It is also one of the lowest-cost ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The best part is that most utilities already have experience with energy-efficiency programs ranging from simple rebates for efficient appliances to sophisticated demand-response programs. Reminding your customers of the benefits of energy efficiency measures can help to encourage them to participate in existing programs and make them more receptive to future offerings.

The inaugural Energy Efficiency Day is a collaborative effort of regional and national organizations working to promote energy efficiency, including the ACEEE, Appliance Standards Awareness Project You are leaving WAPA.gov. and many others. APPA, colleges and universities, trade allies and investor- and publicly owned utilities are among the organizations supporting #EEDay2016.

If you would like to add National Energy Efficiency Day to your Public Power Week celebration, you can find a link to a toolkit You are leaving WAPA.gov. on the SWEEP blog, Livewire. Feel free to supplement the material with your own success stories, and don’t forget to share your plans with the Energy Services Bulletin, because every day is Energy Efficiency Day for WAPA Energy Services.

Source: American Public Power Association, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, 9/9/16

New fact sheets from ACEEE focus on industrial energy use

Compared to programs targeted at other sectors, industrial efficiency programs offer significant energy-saving opportunities at a relatively low cost, yet many large energy users have barely tapped their industrial energy efficiency potential. To help communicate the value of commercial and industrial (C&I) energy efficiency, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy You are leaving Western's site. has released four new fact sheets examining different aspects of industrial efficiency programs.

According to a white paper by the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action), on a national level, the industrial sector saves more energy per program dollar than do other customer classes. Industrial programs can help states comply with the Clean Power Plan, while improving productivity and competitiveness for manufacturers and keeping energy costs low for all customers.

Educate stakeholders
First, however, your board and large account representatives must fully understand the benefits of C&I programs and be prepared to make the business case for them to your customers. Start by sharing these fact sheets with your staff:

  • Industrial Efficiency Programs Can Achieve Large Energy Savings at Low Cost cites statistics from programs across the country supporting the cost-effectiveness of implementing industrial efficiency measures. Because industrial customers often represent the majority of a utility’s energy demand, building strong relationships with a few of the largest energy users is an effective use of program resources. You will also find tips from SEE Action for designing effective offerings.
  • The Dollars and Cents of Industrial Efficiency Program Investment explains how combining industrial customer investments in energy efficiency combine with utility infrastructure investments to yield deep energy savings with medium-term paybacks. Industrial customers can often be persuaded to make investments with longer payback periods when utility programs address capital planning processes and financial hurdles. A list of the broader benefits of energy efficiency to the business, the utility and the community could help to sell the partnering strategy to your board.

Support participation
All 50 states have mandated a ratepayer-funded energy-efficiency program that counts efficiency as a resource and provides a mechanism for funding customer projects that reduce energy use. However, some of these laws allow businesses to opt out of funding and participating in the programs, or that allow customers to control some or all of their efficiency fees. These fact sheets clarify these exemptions and discuss the often- misunderstood implications of such policies:

  • Overview of Large-Customer Self-Direct Options for Energy Efficiency Programs outlines the status of self-direct programs and opt-out provisions by state, and includes tips for designing successful self-direct programs. If the biggest energy consumers do not participate in a program designed to spread the cost of efficiency across all customer sectors, all customers miss out on the the benefits of efficiency. Alternatively, the self-direct option gives C&I customers the flexibility to design programs that meet their business needs while ensuring measurable and verifiable energy savings. The fact sheet also identifies key elements in successful self-direct provisions.
  • Myths and Facts about Industrial Opt-Out Provisions busts commonly held misconceptions that lead policy makers to include opt-out provisions in energy-efficiency programs. This fact sheet may be particularly useful where lawmakers and big energy users are pushing to add opt-out provisions to an effective existing program.

Links to all four of these fact sheets can be found in Energy Services publications, along with other resources on technology and programs.

Energy department issues largest energy-efficiency standard ever

That boom you may have heard at the end of 2015 was the Department of Energy Appliance and Equipment Standards Program sending the year out with historic new efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and furnaces. The new standards are expected to save 1.7 trillion kilowatt-hours over 30 years of sales, or almost as much energy as one year’s worth of coal generation in the United States.

Tons of savings
Rooftop air conditioners cool about half the commercial floor space in the nation. The DOE also set standards for commercial warm air furnaces, which are typically installed with the rooftop commercial air conditioners. Over the lifetime of the products, the standards will save businesses $167 billion on their utility bills and reduce carbon pollution by 885 million metric tons.

According to DOE estimates, the new rooftop air conditioner standards will save more energy and cut more emissions than any other standards completed by the agency. The previous record-setters were the 2014 standards that covered electric motors and the 2009 fluorescent tube lamp standards.

ASAPgraph

(Graph by Appliance Standards Awareness Project)

Takes teamwork
Representatives of individual manufacturers, installers, utilities, environmental groups and efficiency organizations actively contributed to the development of the standards. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy You are leaving Western's site., the Appliance Standards Awareness Project You are leaving Western's site. (ASAP) and the National Resource Defense Council You are leaving Western's site. were among the 17 stakeholder groups participating in the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC).

ASRAC uses negotiated rule-making to engage all interested parties, gather data and attempt to reach consensus on establishing energy-efficiency standards. The proof of the process is in the savings—about 5 billion metric tons of emissions in 2014—and in the support for its work. In an interview with UtilityDive You are leaving Western's site., Marianne DiMascio of ASAP observed that the work of the committee often goes unnoticed because it is largely uncontroversial—a rare thing for a government agency in today’s political climate. “It doesn’t always make for exciting news to say there’s a policy that many people agree with, that is having a huge impact, and it’s about the type of motor your air conditioner uses [or the amount of insulation on a water heater],” she said.

Phasing in
These new commercial air conditioning and furnace standards will occur in two phases. The first phase will begin in 2018 and will deliver a 13-percent efficiency improvement in products. Five years later, an additional 15-percent increase in efficiency is required for new commercial units.

Visit the DOE website to learn more about the energy-efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners  and warm air furnaces.

ACEEE: Economists, energy practitioners need to work together to improve energy efficiency programs

In a recent blog post You are leaving Western's site., Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, suggested that energy-efficiency programs could benefit if economists and energy professionals combined their skills, instead of talking past each other.

In the past year, economists have been producing more and more papers questioning the effectiveness of energy-efficiency programs and policies. Acknowledging that not all programs are well-designed, Nadel pointed out that the studies, too, have flaws that prevent them from providing meaningful evaluation.

One problem, he observed, is that the two industries use different methods to measure results. Economists tend to prefer rigorous evaluation through randomized control trials. In these studies, a large group of potential participants is randomly assigned to either a study or control group. But randomized control trials can be very difficult to implement, as even some economists admit. In full-scale programs that are available to all utility customers, random assignment to a control group is simply not possible.

In recent years, the energy-efficiency community has increasingly relied on the use of “deemed savings estimates” that are supposed to be based on prior evaluations. Unfortunately, these evaluations are not always as rigorous or as frequent as they need to be to give an accurate estimate.

Some study designs evaluate only certain aspects of a program, while overlooking goals and benefits that were central to the implementers’ intent, the ACEEE executive director said. He also noted that there have been times economists applied conclusions drawn from one evaluation to programs that have little in common with the one studied.

Nadel proposes that the two sides need to work together; first, to identify typical and similar program models for study; and second, to develop evaluation methods for those programs that combine each community’s professional strengths. Economists tend to be good at research methods, he notes, but don’t always understand the markets they are evaluating. Energy-efficiency program managers need to convey to researchers the program goals, and potential benefits that go beyond simple cost-benefits analysis.

Evaluation of energy-efficiency programs to determine what works—for utilities and customers—is an ongoing challenge for program designers. Nadel concluded that if the economic and energy-efficiency communities could learn to collaborate rather than work in silos, the studies they produce could lead to more effective programs.

Source: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 12/8/15

Collaborative seeks data for new industrial efficiency initiative

ACEEEdataRequest
Large industrial energy consumers have a chance to join a collaborative effort to create a new type of energy-efficiency program that would ultimately provide them with incentives to purchase more efficient industrial equipment. The Extended Motor Product Label Initiative (EMPLI) would also give utility efficiency program managers prescribed savings values for the energy performance of industrial motor-driven products.

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) is working with the Hydraulic Institute (HI), Air Movement and Control Association International, Compressed Air and Gas Institute, Fluid Sealing Association, National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and a dozen utilities and energy-efficiency programs to launch this initiative. Central to the program are voluntary performance labels that show the comparative efficiency of an “extended product” comprised of a driven component (e.g., fan, pump, or compressor), a motor and associated controls.

Donate data to science
EMPLI has reached the point where the working groups need product category-specific application and operational data to determine the average potential savings. The collaborative is starting with collecting water pumping system operating hours and loads. This information will be used in program proposals to state public service commissions to document that labeled products save energy.

HI and NEMA Business Information Services (NEMA Biz) have contracted with the collaborative to collect, anonymize and aggregate the data. Organizations interested in participating can download a data collection sheet on the HI website, fill it out and submit it electronically to NEMA Biz for analysis. The submission deadline is Sept. 30, 2015. All individual company data will remain secure and will not be shared with anyone.

The EMPLI pump working group is requesting general data, such as hours of operation, percentage loading, product performance and markets served. NEMA Biz will anonymize and aggregate the data and return it to the working group in a format that state public utility commissions will be able to use for program justification and evaluation. Participating organizations will also receive a copy of the aggregated data.

This information will provide insights into the marketplace and enable participants to position their products for new utility-sector funding opportunities. The better the data, the more complete the report will be for all involved.

Building better programs
Collecting operational data is necessary for the success of the EMPL Initiative. The goal of the collaborative effort is to develop product performance labels that companies and public institutions can use as purchasing specifications. The labels will also provide the basis for an entirely new type of prescriptive rebate energy-efficiency program that attributes or “deems” an average energy savings to a qualifying product.

EMPLI has the potential to help industrial consumers and their power providers to move beyond individual equipment upgrades to increase the efficiency of entire systems. ACEEE is urging utilities to share this request with their commercial and industrial customers, and to participate in the survey themselves if it is appropriate for the utility.

Source: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 7/17/15