Energy Efficiency Programs
The electric and gas utility industries are facing substantial changes. For decades, rising sales have contributed to increasing revenues and profits, but the combination of improved energy efficiency with the growing use of solar electric systems and other forms of “distributed energy” has reduced growth rates, which could lead to small declines in future sales.
What is the true value of energy efficiency? Well, we all know that manufacturers use energy to meet their production goals. Energy is the lifeblood of the process and the business of manufacturing. Energy drives not just the machines, but also the pace and magnitude of the wealth created by manufacturers. Because it permeates every stage of the industrial process, energy provides ample opportunity to influence operating margins, returns on invested capital, productivity and product quality. Energy also performs concomitantly with safety and emissions compliance agendas.
Commercial buildings consume 20% of the total energy used in the United States---more than the energy consumed by all the nation’s cars, trains, and airplanes put together. A significant portion of this energy can be saved through efficiency in design, systems, and operation. Utilities and other efficiency program administrators have long been incentivizing energy efficiency measures that target various energy end uses such as lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
The Ohio Senate reconvened so late last Wednesday night that when a motion was made to adjourn until Thursday, the Senate president had to remind the senators that it was already Thursday. What emergency situation kept Ohio’s upper house busy into the small hours? A bill, hastily substituted and amended at the last minute, that would cut back Ohio’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards.
State and local governments are laboratories for innovation in energy efficiency policies and programs. Policymakers, regulators, and citizens at all levels increasingly recognize that energy efficiency is crucially important to their economies and are increasingly taking action and seeking information on policies and programs in their communities. Today ACEEE is launching a new database tool that highlights the energy efficiency leadership—and opportunities for improvement—of state and local governments around the United States.
Energy efficiency is increasingly viewed as an essential element of community development, and is arguably becoming the most appreciated and integrated “green” topic in the field. For example, a growing number of state housing finance agencies actively encourage the inclusion of energy-efficient features in the properties in which they invest.
Energy Efficiency Costs Utilities 2 to 3 Times Less Than Traditional Power Sources; Average of 2.8 Cents per Kilowatt Hour
Washington, D.C.—According to a new report released today by ACEEE, energy efficiency is the cheapest method of providing Americans with electricity. Energy efficiency programs aimed at reducing energy waste cost utilities only about three cents per kilowatt hour, while generating the same amount of electricity from sources such as fossil fuels can cost two to three times more.
The ACEEE Field Guide to Utility-run Behavior Programs, released in December, is the first comparative analysis of utility-run behavior programs. Practitioners, evaluators, and regulators can now use the guide to design and assess strategies and develop policies for utility-run behavior programs. The problem has been that, when state and local stakeholders thought about creating behavioral programs, they would encounter barriers.
Energy service outsourcing is a business relationship that relieves a large facility from the potential distractions imposed by the ongoing management of one or more energy functions, such as steam, compressed air, water treatment, lighting, or other activities. In essence, a facility would transfer these functional duties to a vendor per a contractual agreement, subject to periodic renewal. The facilities that choose this route anticipate that their energy functions will be performed in a more reliable and cost-effective way by the vendor.
A new tool released today by ACEEE may provide the secret ingredient for achieving emissions reductions that can appeal to even the most finicky tastes.