We spend a lot of time here at ACEEE with numbers. We calculate energy savings, efficiency investments, and jobs. Even with all this data at our fingertips, though, I’m always most curious to see the numbers we produce every fall in the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. This will be the eighth year we’ve ranked states on their adoption of policies that encourage energy efficiency, and while some results are easy to predict, there are always a few surprises.
Efficiency has become intelligent. We’ve always known that waste is stupid and that efficiency is smart, but now, many energy measures can learn, adapt, and self-optimize. It’s called “intelligent efficiency,” and it’s going to transform how energy efficiency is provided, achieved, and measured. We’re so excited about its potential that we are hosting an entirely new conference on the subject in November.
Whenever I go to trivia night, I am amazed by the little factoids I know nothing about. Baseball or Seinfeld trivia, I have that down. Knowing the name of the township in New Jersey, of Algonquian language origin, where Aaron Burr mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a duel? Not so much. (It’s Weehawken, by the way.) Even for those of us in the energy efficiency world, there’s always more to learn about efficiency-related programs and policies that have been implemented by states and cities.
In 2011, the EPA and NHTSA adopted the first-ever fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and engines built for the 2014 to 2018 model years. Those standards, although not demanding enough to promote adoption of all available efficiency technologies, will benefit truckers and consumers and save over a half-million barrels of oil per day by 2030.
Today is National Bike to Work Day, an annual campaign to encourage people to consider biking as a viable transportation choice for their commutes. Besides being fun, bicycling saves energy. It produces no new emissions, and burns no fuel other than our own calories.
Currently only 0.6% of U.S. commuters use a bicycle to get to work, and it rises only to 1.0% in the largest cities. Of all trips made by Americans in major cities, 76.7% are by car, despite the fact that 40% of these trips are two miles or less.
The U.S. Department of Transportation rolled out the GROW AMERICA (Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America) Act recently, calling for several big changes in transportation policy and funding.
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.
Data on manufacturers’ compliance with the first year (model year 2012) of greenhouse gas emissions standards for light duty vehicles is now available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The bottom line is that manufacturers as a whole have met the standards with a bit of room to spare.
Last week a National Research Council (NRC) committee on heavy-duty vehicles released a report on technological, market, and regulatory factors relevant to the upcoming Phase 2 heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse emissions standards.
Washington, D.C.—In response to President Obama’s speech today on new fuel efficiency standards for heavy trucks, ACEEE Transportation Program Director Therese Langer made the following statement: