Selected category: Energy Efficiency

How utilities can enter the energy-saving business this Energy Efficiency Day

Today is Energy Efficiency Day in the U.S. As someone who’s advocated for energy efficiency for nearly a decade, I’m glad to see the resource celebrated. Efficiency, from LED lightbulbs to insulation, is the most critical energy resource we have – energy we don’t use is our cleanest and cheapest option.

So, why isn’t everyone jumping on the efficiency bandwagon? In part it’s because utilities don’t usually encourage customers to save electricity. Electric companies make money by selling more electricity, so they’re reluctant to reduce use and their profits.

Nevertheless, utilities are logical places for energy efficiency programs, given their electricity relationships with customers.

Many states have efficiency goals that require utilities to invest in efficiency programs for customers, but much more could be done if the utility business model were reformed to align utility incentives with customer energy efficiency. Fortunately, several states across the country are reimagining the role of electric utilities in America’s 21st-century energy system, which could unlock efficiency’s potential. Read More »

Posted in Energy Efficiency| Comments are closed

Pilot program will use data to transform the efficiency of Chicago buildings

Over the past few years, Chicago has established itself as a leader in energy-efficient buildings.

The city’s landmark energy benchmarking program, for which properties measure and report on their energy use, has already saved Chicago over $17 million, while supporting high-paying jobs and healthier air. Relatedly, for the second year in a row, Chicago had the highest percentage of buildings with LEED certification (the most widely-used green building rating system in the world).

Industry pioneers have worked hard to make each building’s equipment as efficient as possible. The next opportunity is to work with those innovators to determine, how do we get the teams that use the equipment to make more energy-efficient decisions every day?

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), in partnership with local utility ComEd and the Accelerate Group, is building on Chicago’s leadership to find a solution by launching the Smart Building Operations Pilot. An innovative program that uses real-time energy data to incentivize energy-efficient choices, the pilot aims to inform the day-to-day decisions of equipment operators at 10 large Chicago buildings. Read More »

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The energy sector needs to adapt to millennials—not vice versa

By Elizabeth Villedrouin, Communications Intern, Clean Energy and Kristen Moore, Research Intern, Clean Energy

As interns at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), we’ve been tapped as resident experts on surviving on college budgets, social media, and all things Millennial.  Research tells us Millennials are the largest living generation. So, as Clean Energy interns this summer, we’ve learned that gives us much power to change the game for the energy sector. But in unexpected ways.

As young people, we’re working at EDF because we want to promote systemic, market-based solutions and new technologies that shift our country toward clean energy and away from our fossil fuel past (did someone say solar paint?).

We have high standards for our energy future, and our priorities differ from our parents’ (for example, millennials tend to value careers [PDF] over religious life). And although we’re the thriftiest generation, 64 percent of us are actually willing to pay more on our electric bill if it’s generated by clean energy. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Equity, Energy Financing, Energy Innovation, General, Grid Modernization| Read 5 Responses

UPDATE: A tale of two utilities: One Illinois power provider looks ahead, while the other won’t budge

TaleOfTwoEnergy Exchange published an original version of this post in July 2016. This post updates the original to reflect recent developments in Illinois.

As a utility executive, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times. It is the age of innovation, it is the age of stagnant tradition. With a nod to Charles Dickens, it is the epoch of environmental improvement, it is the epoch of continued pollution.

Perhaps no state better represents those extremes than Illinois, where Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) in the north is considering new business models and embracing greenhouse-gas reductions, while Ameren in the south is rejecting change and virtually anything related to clean energy.

Read More »

Also posted in Utility Business Models| Comments are closed

How to pack more power into NYC’s energy-efficiency bill package

Climate of Hope, United States Climate Alliance … These are a couple of initiatives and organizations formed by individual citizens, cities, and states to fight climate change since the President withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreements. And, I’m proud to say New York City is in on it.

Earlier last month, the New York City Council introduced a package of bills designed to make buildings more energy efficient. Given that about 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the City come from heating and cooling buildings, regulating how buildings manage energy is crucial to reaching Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal of reducing citywide emissions 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.

Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, General| Comments are closed

Better buildings pave the way for energy independence

By Monica Kanojia, Consultant, U.S. Department of Energy

American cities are home to nearly 63 percent of energy use, despite only accounting for 3.5 percent of land area.  It is estimated that these cities and their buildings will account for 87 percent of domestic energy consumption by 2030.

Since its inception in late 2016, 43 cities and counties have joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Communities Alliance (BCA), a first-of-its-kind partnership between DOE experts and leaders from the public and private sectors. Through BCA, cities and counties have access to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation solutions that support mutual goals of creating cleaner, smarter, and more prosperous communities.

Given increasing energy needs, aging infrastructure, and new challenges to ensure clean air and water, local government leaders are developing and implementing strategic solutions to enhance future livability.

BCA now represents more than 40 million Americans in over 20 states, which reflects the importance of energy innovation at the local level. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, EDF Climate Corps, New York, New York REV| Read 1 Response
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