Energy Exchange

East Coast meets West Coast style – how 2 states are advancing clean energy

By Rory ChristianLauren Navarro

Cities and states are taking the initiative to address climate change independently from the federal administration. With unique political contexts and environmental needs, each local authorities’ policies address specific climate challenges.

California’s new landmark mandate, requiring solar panels on new home constructions, and New York’s ongoing Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative, illustrate just how different paths can lead to accomplish the same intent: to fight climate change.  They are also indicative of how elected officials are prioritizing energy, infrastructure, and housing in their planning.

The longer states wait to take action to set or meet environmental goals, the more expensive their efforts will become. More importantly, the delay can affect the economic and health benefits from new jobs and lower emissions that improve residents’ quality of life.

New York and California are well positioned because they’ve capitalized on emerging trends by addressing legal and regulatory issues in ways other states have yet to do. Let’s take a look at their approaches and challenges. Read More »

Also posted in California, Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, Electricity Pricing, Energy Innovation, New York, New York REV, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

How to measurably improve existing buildings' energy, water, and waste impacts

Buildings are responsible for a third of harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution from U.S. electricity use, with that percentage rising dramatically in urban centers. Chicago is no exception: Buildings account for approximately 70 percent of the city’s GHG emissions. Moreover, many buildings use more energy than they need to, which is unnecessarily expensive and damaging to the environment.

Although there are programs like Energy Star, LEED, and Green Globes that help buildings manage energy use, they don’t always meet the needs of every building. A large portion of the built environment doesn’t have the resources to pursue complicated certifications. In fact, it’s estimated that less than 1 percent of buildings can achieve LEED certification.

To address this opportunity gap, a group of dedicated built environment professionals – with backgrounds in environmental science, policy, business, and commercial real estate – developed the BIT Building Program (BIT). BIT is a framework that drives the adoption of sustainability best practices in existing buildings, specifically those whose age, resources, and operations put other industry standards out of reach. By following BIT’s guidelines, buildings can achieve measurable improvements in energy, water, and waste impacts. Read More »

Also posted in General / Comments are closed

New Jersey’s leaders pave the way for a clean energy future

New Jersey’s legislature voted on two important bills last week related to the state’s energy future. One will boost clean energy like renewables and energy efficiency, create jobs, and cut pollution. The other subsidizes two nuclear plants indefinitely. Both bills passed. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) enthusiastically supported the clean energy bill, but withheld our support for the nuclear bailout.

New Jersey deserves a clean, healthy, and prosperous future, and we need a plan to make it happen. The clean energy bill is such a plan. The details may be complex, but the result is simple: It prepares the state for the inevitable retirement of nuclear plants by accelerating the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The nuclear bailout is flawed and wasteful. It should have been fixed. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Equity, New Jersey, Solar Energy / Read 2 Responses

Clean energy bill: A roadmap for New Jersey

Today, New Jersey lawmakers will be voting on a “Clean Energy Bill,” a piece of legislation that can help the state transition to a 21st-century clean energy economy, and set us on a path to becoming a national clean energy leader once again.

Gov. Phil Murphy’s pledge to source 100 percent of the state’s electricity from clean energy by 2050 points us in the right direction. But we need a roadmap to get there – one that will boost the state’s economy and reduce harmful pollution.

The clean energy bill paves the way to invest in clean energy – a critical step toward achieving a more resilient, healthier future for New Jerseyans. We can only move forward if elected officials vote for it, accelerating the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, New Jersey, Solar Energy, Wind Energy / Comments are closed

A global game changer for energy efficiency investments

Three hospitals in England recently cut energy costs in half after spending the equivalent of $18 million in energy efficiency upgrades. The projects got a much-needed boost from a certification that gave investors confidence the retrofits would bring returns.

With millions of buildings in need of upgrades and the emergence of a $20-billion retrofit industry in the United States alone, there is neither a shortage of projects nor capital looking for environmental opportunities in which to invest. What has been lacking is a way to grow the market to scale.

Even with an energy efficiency market topping $1 trillion, investors have historically considered such retrofits risky. All this is changing quickly with a new and global underwriting standard mitigating the risk of such investments. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Financing, Investor Confidence Project / Comments are closed

New interactive map shows the economic impact that solar, wind, and energy efficiency have on U.S. communities

The benefits of clean energy reach far beyond protecting the environment. Investments in the U.S. clean energy sector are creating millions of jobs and supporting local communities across the country. A new online mapping tool will help illustrate this incredible progress.

Developed by San Francisco-based Kevala Analytics Inc., the U.S. Clean Energy Progress Map can display the number of solar, wind, and energy efficiency jobs by state, county, congressional district, and even census tract. The free, interactive map also shows wind and solar projects and investments. It’s exactly the kind of data that citizens need to show policymakers and local officials the economic benefits of clean energy in their state or district. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Financing, Solar Energy, Wind Energy / Comments are closed