Sponsored by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and
the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE)
with support from the US EPA/DOE ENERGY STAR® Programs.
Reflections from the 15th Annual National Symposium on Market Transformation
“Transition and Transformation,” the theme of the 2011 Symposium, reflected the evolving landscape for energy efficiency and the challenges presented by ongoing economic woes, including efforts to sustain momentum as ARRA funding ends, and the need to realize ever deeper savings. Yet along with each of these challenges there are opportunities, and the nearly 350 attendees at this year’s conference convened in the nation’s capital to discuss these promising paths forward.
At the Symposium’s start, participants paid tribute to Blair Hamilton, a true champion of energy efficiency. Blair’s commitment and pursuit of innovative approaches to energy efficiency programs and policies advanced the field and inspired many. We are grateful for his many years of leadership in our energy efficiency community.
In the opening plenary, industry partners presented insights on the role of federal policy, energy efficiency programs, and growing interest and awareness of energy efficiency in their businesses and how these drivers factor into their business planning and development. Randy Moorhead of Philips discussed the emergence of new lighting technologies and greater consumer choices, punctuating his remarks with a demonstration of the new bulbs now on the market, including a screw-in LED, a technology that presents significant opportunities for energy savings. Brett Knox, President of GreenHomes America, followed up with a discussion of successful strategies for selling home energy improvement projects across different regions and constituencies and shared suggestions for better coordination between efficiency programs and contractors in the field.
Throughout the remainder of the conference, the emphasis was on strategies, tactics, and technologies to build on past successes and continue to expand the reach and impact of energy efficiency programs and policies. Sessions featured rousing presentations and discussions from speakers and attendees across sectors, including real-world experience with building energy rating and disclosure, local policy and program initiatives, cutting-edge technologies in lighting, and new opportunities for industrial facilities.
Successful market transformation efforts have made possible recent adoption of more stringent appliance and equipment standards and stronger building codes by moving more efficient technologies and practices into the mainstream. A number of Symposium sessions were dedicated to identifying new opportunities for programs in light of these successes. Discussion topics included development of a holistic approach to markets that looks beyond short-term opportunities toward greater cooperative exchange between market actors in order to maximize savings, development, and broader use of evaluation models that capture whole market impacts. Other topics focused on the role of efficiency programs in capturing lost opportunities from lagging building code compliance, and new whole-system approaches that take the field beyond individual products to increase savings and accelerate the move to net zero energy buildings.
If one were to pick a common thread among the many sessions at the conference, it might be cooperation through communication. Many speakers stressed the importance of communication and teamwork in order to meet our ambitious energy savings targets. While the challenges facing the energy efficiency community provoked frank discussion on roadblocks to future progress, attendees also left with a renewed sense of optimism based on the innovative and paradigm-shifting solutions presented