CUE Exchange presentations now online

Many of the presentations from the Colorado Utility Efficiency Exchange are now available to be downloaded. You will also find links under the Breaking News coverage of the sessions. Feel free to leave comments or questions about the presentations here.

It was a great event, with utilities showing off the progress their energy-efficiency programs have made in four years. We hope you enjoyed the coverage, and we hope to see you in Aspen next years at the fifth annual CUE.

Existing home efficiency –covering all the bases

John Phelan, PE, Energy Services Manager, Fort Collins Utilities

The city of Fort Collins municipal utility has a home audit rebate program designed for maximum customer contact.

Residents are eligible for a comprehensive menu of rebates for air sealing, insulation, HVAC systems and more. A standard audit, available for $60, is followed by a report that recommends measures. The recommendations are targeted to the contractors as well as the homeowner.

The retrofits are performed by a list of approved contractors. To get on that list, contractors must sign a legal contract with the city agreeing to meet standards based on best practices and attend specialty trainings. The utility trains the contractors, provides a metric list and holds quarterly meetings contractors must attend.

Contractors must bid and complete the job according to the city’s in order to receive the rebates. The intent is to level the bidding field. Everyone is bidding on doing the job a specific way.

Both the city and the contractor can request a third-party evaluation.  The best practices list provides legal cover for the city having a preferred contractor list.

The program has a stringent quality assurance component. The city does improvement verification on 100 percent of the jobs. Performance testing was done on 100 percent of the first 10 jobs. Fort Collins is making sure that the program really works. We have the building science—use it!

Along the way, the utility had to figure out such things as legal contacts, replication tools and more. This is not a Home Performance program. The auditors work directly for Fort Collins. The training and quality assurance are also under the city, but the contractors work for the customers.

To date, Fort Collins has done 348 audits, and has processed 45 rebate applications. Most are for multiple measures. Insulation has been a popular measure, even though people start out saying they want windows.

The contractor list has 30 participating contractors. The utility has conducted trainings for insulation, HVAC and window installation.

Residential efficiency program snapshots

Black Hills Energy has a three-year industrial efficiency program for large customers. They are working with the Industrial Assessment Center at Colorado State University.  Student engineers spend a whole day doing extensive testing to see what energy efficiency gains can be attained. They ask owners where they see the business going, and put that into the report. Utility representatives follow up with the business owners on prescriptive measures.

The program is now completing its first year and evaluating the results. They are starting to see some implementation, although a lot of industrial customers are just hanging on. The low-hanging fruit is being implemented. Black Hills is mandated to do proven cost-effective measures.

The engineering program at Red Rocks has found more efficiency gains from doing infiltration evaluation on the whole building. The CSU program includes whole-building analysis, but does not look at backdraft. Auditors have found high CO levels in buildings. Red Rocks has just completed work on a 40-year-old Net Zero building in Lakewood, Colo.

Envelope measures on existing buildings may not pass the cost-effectiveness screen test, especially for investor-owned utilities. Custom programs may be the best way to capture those savings.

Thursday is track day at CUE

Welcome to the second day of the Colorado Utility Efficiency Exchange. Attendees will be dividing their time between dual track sessions. In the morning the focus is on residential and commercial efficiency; afternoon sessions will highlight technology and partnerships. See the schedule below for our coverage, and check back often throughout the day for updates. Feel free to leave comments or questions.

Public Utility Commission studies DSM efforts

Utility DSM in Colorado: Past, Present and Future
Paul C. Caldara, P.E., Colorado Department of Regulatory

The CUE Exchange opened with Paul Caldara of the Colorado Public Utility Commission, delivering a keynote address on utility demand-side management in Colo.

Caldara, a 20-year veteran of the utility industry, joined PUC’s advisory staff about the same time as House Bill 07-1037 was passed. The bill requires investor-owned gas utilities in the state to make rules for DSM programs. Electric utilities must litigate their programs with the PUC.

Each year, utilities file a DSM report with PUC that goes into the annual report the commission files with the Colorado General Assembly. In 2009, each dollar spent on DSM at gas utilities yielded $1.33 in benefits to ratepayers. For electric utilities, the ratio is a dollar spent for $4.00 benefit.

PUC still has many questions regarding what can be considered DSM.  Does it include rate design, reducing distribution system energy loss by increasing distribution conductor size, or is it any measure that increases generator efficiency? Will strategies, smart grid and other technologies that give consumers immediate feedback on their consumption be considered DSM or displace it? “There are a lot of questions,” Caldara said, “but no answers, yet.”

To answer these questions, PUC gathers information through dockets, at least 31 of which have been related to DSM, demand response or smart grid this year. The dockets are searchable online—see Caldara’s presentation (to be posted on the CUE Exchange agenda page) for the numbers.

Caldara concluded by telling attendees that events like the CUE Exchange are invaluable for collecting information—for sharing ideas, giving each other feedback on programs and meeting partners. “And the most important sharing takes place after 5 o’clock,” he said.

And the winning CUE Exchange sessions are…

Thanks to all the readers who let us know which sessions of the Colorado Utility Efficiency Exchange they want Breaking News to cover. On Thursday, Oct. 14, the morning sessions are Focus on Residential Energy Efficiency and Focus on Commercial Efficiency.  Here is the schedule you selected: 

8:30–9:00 a.m. Utility Commercial Program Snap Shots
Five-minute highlights of utility program activities presented by the session co-chairs and other participants. 

9:00–9:30 a.m. Creating a Compelling Home Energy Audit (res.)
Learn about a pilot project by Xcel Energy and Apogee Interactive, Inc. to study the accuracy and performance of a web RESNET certified software modeling tool. 

9:30–10:00 a.m. Driving Scale and Adoption in the Hard to Reach Small Business Sector (com.)
This presentation focuses on an effective, high-touch, tiered program that drives energy education and energy-efficiency adoption in San Antonio, Texas.

10:30–11:00 a.m. Existing Home Efficiency – Covering All the Bases (res.)
Learn how Fort Collins developed the standards, training and quality assurance aspects of installing insulation, air sealing, windows and HVAC measures and get a progress report on the first 10 months.

11:00–11:30 a.m.  Residential Audits to Homeowner Action in One-Step: How Oklahoma Gas & Electric Is Driving an Innovative Bundled Energy Audit & Residential DSM Effort to Produce Surprising Results (res.) 
This overview of OG&E’s new bundled residential energy-efficiency audit and DSM program covers the program’s innovative use of technology such as real-time scheduling and staff coordination, paperless and tablet-computer driven home audit process and more.

11:30 a.m.–noon  Home Energy Audit Software Selection for Kansas and Utah (res.)
Presentation of home energy audit software selection for two different programs (Kansas and Utah) with similar but distinct objectives.

The themes of the afternoon tracks are Focus on Technology and Focus on Partnerships:

1:00–1:30 p.m. Partnership Snap Shots
Five-minute highlights of utility program activities presented by the session co-chairs and other participants.

1:30–2:00 p.m.  Select HVAC Joint Program Implementation (tech.)
The Select HVAC, a joint utility program developed by Poudre Valley REA and Platte River Power Authority, provides educational opportunities for qualified HVAC professionals and requires a commitment to proper installation practices and commissioning. 

2:00–2:30 p.m.   CARE Program (part.)
Poudre Valley REA has started a CARE program to bring energy efficiency to 50 homes in its service territory.  This program is providing funding for energy audits and improvements on participants’ homes. 

2:30–3:00 p.m.  Moving Beyond Savings: Exploring Techniques for Determining the “How” and “Why” Behavioral Program Success (part.)
Learn how to collect the information utilities really need  to move beyond cookie-cutter intervention models and get to the next level of success. 

3:30–4:00 p.m.  Why Utilities Should Add Geothermal To Their Service Offering (tech.)
Case studies summarize the demand and energy reductions from geothermal heat pump installations across the country and highlight innovative approaches that rural electric cooperatives, municipal utilities and investor-owned utilities are using to accelerate the deployment of these systems.

4:00–4:30 p.m. Energy Efficiency Incentives That Motivate Home and Business Owners (part.)
Discover best practices and lessons learned from leading utilities, municipalities and manufacturers that partner with installation contractors to design and deliver rebate and financing incentives.

4:30–5:00 p.m.  ENERGY STAR HVAC Quality Installation Program (tech.)
The ENERGY STAR HVAC Quality Installation program goes beyond traditional equipment incentives to deliver energy savings from proper installation of high efficiency HVAC equipment. In addition to realizing the full energy-saving potential of these systems, this new approach can increase customer confidence in their contractor and utility.

Visit the complete agenda for last minute additions to the program. If you see a session that really strikes a chord, let us know. We  encourage guest contributors, and we’ll try to enlist attendees from those sessions to fire off reports in their own words. And of course, we look forward to hearing from you, our readers.

Live from Aspen and Anaheim!

Western’s Energy Services Bulletin editor is going on the road to cover the Colorado Utility Efficiency Exchange, Oct. 13 to 15, and the APPA Customer Connections Conference, Oct. 24 to 27. 

BUT—there is only one editor, and many sessions.

You can shape our story by telling us which sessions are most important to you. Visit the conference agendas, pick the sessions you would like us to cover and e-mail your choices to the Energy Services Bulletin editor by Oct. 8.* The sessions that get the most votes get the most coverage.

Watch Breaking News for the coverage schedule. Then check back often during the conferences to follow the action and share your views.

*UPDATE* The deadline for suggesting sessions has been extended to Tuesday, Oct. 12.

CUE Exchange calls for presenters

The deadline for suggesting topics for the 4th annual Colorado Utility Efficiency Exchange is July 31. The City of Aspen Utilities is hosting the event, Oct. 13-15, at Aspen Meadows Resort.

Modeled on the Utility Energy Forum, the CUE Exchange is a gathering of professionals from energy and water utilities serving Colorado and neighboring states, trade allies and sponsoring organizations dedicated to efficiency. Over three days, participants discuss customer programs related to energy and water efficiency, renewable energy, demand response and key account customer management. Participants ask questions, form partnerships and come up with new ideas, with emphasis on the regional point of view. 

An ad hoc Agenda Planning Committee puts together the agenda each year, but don’t think that gets you off the hook. Your input is more than welcomed–it is what makes the CUE Exchange fresh and relevant.  Anyone can recommend themselves or others to present a 30″ x 40″ poster, a 10-minute “snapshot” panel presentation or a 30-minute presentation.

To submit your recommendations to the committee, complete the online form with information as you would like it to appear in the published agenda. Don’t forget to include a brief bio sketch of your qualifications to present your topic. To suggest topics only, scroll down to the last  large box on the form.