Emerging Technologies & Practices
Exciting new opportunities are emerging for commercial buildings to optimize their energy use. These include not only innovative technologies, but also new approaches to system design, building operations, and financing. ACEEE explores three of these opportunities in new topic briefs, released today, as part of our Emerging Opportunities for Buildings series.
Strategic energy management (SEM) programs are expanding beyond the industrial sector to commercial and institutional customers. These programs and data management technologies are two of the biggest opportunities to reduce energy use at large facilities. Not only do they save energy and decrease carbon emissions, they also help utilities build long-term relationships with clients and introduce them to additional efficiency programs.
US homes can lower their energy use by up to one-sixth simply by incorporating smart technologies, according to our new report, Energy Impacts of Smart Home Technologies. In addition, these technologies — a combination of software, sensors, and hardware that monitor and control a home’s interior environment — allow homes to shift some of their energy use to times when energy demand and pricing are lowest. This pairing of energy savings and peak demand reduction is a win-win scenario for consumers and utilities alike.
Smart technologies can reduce a building’s energy use by nearly a fifth and yield additional benefits, such as increased worker productivity, according to our new report, Smart Buildings: a Deeper Dive into Market Segments. This report documents how many types of buildings — not just the biggest and ritziest — can benefit from the latest interconnected technologies, from simple occupancy sensors to complex energy management and information systems.
During the holiday season, we are inundated with marketing messages as well as goods and services — hallmarks of our market economy. Popular products include holiday lights, once made only with incandescent bulbs but now mostly with LEDs. This shift to efficient LEDs is an offshoot of a much larger market transformation in lighting, which has saved vast amounts of energy.
As gas and electric utilities increasingly rely on energy efficiency as a resource, innovative ways to evaluate its impacts are emerging. Our new report Recent Developments in Energy Efficiency Evaluation, Measurement, and Verification presents examples of what pioneering states and utilities are doing to address challenges and take steps to evolve in a changing utility landscape.
Ever wonder what a building thinks about its climate or the occupants it serves? Or, conversely, how the occupants perceive their building? Buildings are becoming increasingly smart; they are becoming more aware of their environment and responsive to our needs. In our new report, we discuss how smart buildings respond to, and even anticipate, changes in operation to meet energy demand and occupant expectations. Our research focuses on existing US commercial buildings of different sizes and types.
Given the importance of small businesses to our national economy, ACEEE has examined successful utility program practices in the small commercial segment. We find there are still significant energy efficiency opportunities. Our new paper describes effective program strategies.
Our new guide helps separate the Pikachus from the Digletts of energy efficiency behavior-change programs
In the energy efficiency world, programs that reduce energy use by targeting human behavior are relatively few, but proliferating quickly. In 2013, some US states claimed as much as 28% of their energy efficiency savings from behavior change programs. Like Pokémon Go characters in the wild, some behavior change programs are common, well-known, and seen everywhere. Others are rare and largely unknown.
Recent press accounts of automobile fuel economy trends express concern that light trucks won’t be able to keep up with rising fuel economy (CAFE) standards.