Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the Regional Energy Efficiency Database (REED), a user-friendly tool to engage policymakers, customers and industry on the real benefits of energy efficiency. With the support of the DOE, the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP) created the regional database to create consistent protocols for energy efficiency in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, with Delaware and the District of Columbia to be added later this year. NEEP's Regional Evaluation Measurement and Verification Forum (EM&V Forum) will then use these protocols to evaluate and measure the results of each participating states’ energy efficiency programs.
Back in 2010, the EM&V Forum adopted standard guidelines for reporting, and as a result, has been able to develop this database that not only allows users to visually see the benefits of energy efficiency within a state, but also compare them in a meaningful way against other states in the region. Think of it as a little energy efficiency competition amongst neighbors.
The Northeast region has a robust energy efficiency partnership and network, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which caps power plants emissions and higher electricity costs than most other regions in the country, all of which incentivizes energy efficiency. By accurate monitoring and verifying energy usage using the EM&V Forum, policymakers can determine which programs are the most impactful, from both and economic and environmental perspective, which ensures consumers that their tax dollars are providing tangible benefits.
The great news is that a user-friendly database, such as REED, doesn’t require incentives in order to be extremely valuable. REED allows the users to view and understand the results and virtues of program funding, job growth, cost of saved energy, energy savings, avoided emissions and more. The viewer can even interact with visuals. For instance, a user can compare states’ performance across different sectors and types of programs with ease thanks to its smart, straightforward format.
NEEP has proven that there are clear benefits to being ‘smarter’ about energy resources and how we control our energy use. Having clear, readable, visual information to help see the benefits is a crucial tool that will lead to better policy and more informed consumer choices.