Jim McMahon, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Pat Love, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) held its eleventh biennial Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings in Pacific Grove, California. This conference is devoted to technology, policy, and implementation issues related to energy use in buildings. Over 650 energy efficiency experts from around the world attended the 2000 Summer Study. The resulting 10-volume conference proceedings contains over 300 peer-reviewed papers.
The theme of the 2000 Summer Study was "Efficiency and Sustainability," reflecting the trend toward buildings that minimize overall non-renewable fuel use (both direct use and use through electricity consumption) as well as environmental impacts more generally. This theme was addressed in papers concerning: strategies for reducing carbon dioxide emissions due to energy use in buildings; initiatives promoting the construction of "Green Buildings" and ensuring that these buildings perform the way they are designed; analysis of the environmental benefits of urban heat island mitigation strategies; implementation and monitoring of community-based climate action plans; the status of the "Green Power" market; techniques for crediting energy efficiency measures for air emissions benefits; and the impact that appliance efficiency standards have on pollutant emissions.
The effects of electric utility industry restructuring on energy efficiency initiatives also received considerable attention at the 2000 Summer Study. A number of papers report on the status of "public benefit fund" or other energy efficiency programs in places where restructuring has occurred or is underway, including California, New York, Sweden, Hungary, Brazil and Chile. Other papers address the evolution of energy service companies (ESCOs) in the context of restructured energy markets, including developments related to performance contracting, the e-business revolution, and the role of ESCOs around the world. In particular, the highlights from a new database on 800 ESCO projects in the United States were unveiled at the 2000 Summer Study.
Market transformation continued to be a major theme at the Summer Study with over 40 papers addressing this topic. Noteworthy among these were papers on the impacts of and plans for expanding the Energy Star labeling program, the progress in transforming residential lighting to use of compact fluorescent lamps, and a report on an innovative and successful commercial building operator training program in the Pacific Northwest. Other papers reported on the results of market transformation programs for windows, clothes washers, high efficiency furnaces, distribution transformers, LED traffic signals, and other efficient lighting products, as well as market transformation program experiences in Mexico, Hungary, and the European Union. In addition, a number of papers addressed the issues of how to evaluate and reward market transformation efforts.
Given recent power outages in some regions of the country and growing concerns about electric system reliability throughout the United States, strategies for reducing summer peak power demand were a "hot topic" at the 2000 Summer Study. Researchers reported on studies that measured the effects of high efficiency windows, evaporative coolers, duct sealing, and building shading techniques on cooling demand in hot climates. One demonstration project from Florida showed how a combination of measures could reduce total electricity use for home cooling by 70%. Another paper summarized the ten-year experience of the exemplary Texas LoanSTAR program. This program has already saved consumers over $80 million and cut peak demand by 17 MW through establishing a revolving loan fund and a technical assistance program for building retrofits and improved O&M practices in public buildings in Texas.
Information and electronic technologies were other major topics at the 2000 Summer Study. A number of papers addressed the power consumption of computers, printers, copiers, TVs, VCRs, and other electronic devices, as well as the status of efforts to reduce this rapidly growing power demand. One alarming research result presented at the Summer Study is that among Energy Star personal computers in use, only about 35% of CPUs and about 65% of monitors are enabled for power management; the good news is that this fraction appears to be increasing. Other papers discussed use of the internet and information technologies for energy management in commercial buildings and facilities. The "information technology revolution" clearly has opened up new avenues for improving the energy performance of buildings. Continuous monitoring and diagnosis of building energy systems, as well as remote monitoring, were two of the trends highlighted at the Summer Study.
The non-energy benefits resulting from energy efficiency projects and programs was another key issue addressed at the 2000 Summer Study. One paper reported on a statistical analysis showing a marked improvement in student test performance at the primary level as the amount of classroom daylighting increased. Another study found a statistically significant correlation between the amount of daylighting in stores and retail sales. Other papers examined the non-energy benefits of the national low-income household weatherization program as well as a host of utility energy efficiency programs. These studies demonstrate that the value of the non-energy benefits often exceeds the value of the direct energy benefits
Consumer behavior was discussed in one of the "tracks" at the ACEEE Summer Study. The 2000 conference included papers on the socioeconomic factors affecting commercial building design; organizational strategies for diffusing the use of so-called energy-efficient mortgages in the new housing market; consumer research on the design of energy efficiency labels for appliances; consumer attitudes towards the use of renewable energy systems; the ways that consumers use their thermostats; energy-related practices and investment criteria of corporate decision makers; utility bill comprehension in the commercial and industrial sectors; and the purchasing behavior of public agencies. These studies are useful for designing more effective energy efficiency programs in the future.
The 2000 Summer Study also devoted considerable attention to international collaborations and progress in improving energy efficiency around the globe. Various papers described the prospects for or the results of energy efficiency initiatives in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, and the European Union.
All of these issues and findings, and many more, are covered in the Summer Study proceedings—an invaluable reference for anyone concerned with energy use or the energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings.