Largest Energy Efficiency Standards in History – Part 1

Big Moves For Efficiency

As I have said in previous posts, energy efficiency manifests itself commercially in two ways: market advantage or federal standards. December ended up being a big month for the forwarding of energy efficiency standards under the Obama Administration. The two, newly implemented standards will save consumers approximately $168.1 billion dollars on utility bills over the next 30 years. This three-part blog will explore the implications of each of these monumental standards as well as the political and industrial ramifications.

Just days after the Paris agreement, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the end result of negotiations between industry leaders and the federal government for commercial efficiency. The effort exerted by this diverse group of stakeholders resulted in new commercial air conditioning and furnace standards that supported current market momentum and future innovation. The energy efficiency standards, which will occur in two stages, are aimed at low-rise commercial buildings such as small offices, restaurants, big-box stores, and schools. Commercial air conditioners cool about half the commercial space in the nation according to the Department of Energy.

The Standard

The standard was finalised by 17 stakeholders, including utilities, efficiency organisations, and major HVAC contractors and manufacturers. The first phase of the standard commences in 2018 with a 13% improvement on efficiency. Then, in 2023, an additional 15% increase is required for commercial units. Over the next 30 years of sales, the result will be more than twice the kWh savings than any previous Department of Energy efficiency standard.

Study Ranks Cities’ Energy Efficiency Policies

Energy efficiency in large cities is the most effective way save resources, protect the health of the community, and catalyze the local economy. This week, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released their 2015 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard that takes the 51 largest US metropolitan statistical area (MSA) populations and grades them in the five categories below.

•Local government operations
•Community-wide initiatives
•Buildings policies
•Energy and water utilities
•Transportation policies

The intricate scoring system placed Boston in the top spot with 82 out of the possible 100 points. Following after Boston was New York City, Washington DC, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, Portland, Austin, and Denver to round out the top 10. The four Florida cities on the list, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, all scored in the bottom 50% with Orlando scoring the best at 33.5 points.

Compiling this information in one place with yearly reporting is the ideal way to drive change. The old saying that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure first” holds true. This is the second year this report has been released and cities averaged an increase in their scores by 2 points. Energy efficiency is an important tool for both business and home to save money, save energy, and protect the environment. Florida cities have their work cut out for them and this is an exciting time to be a driving force in the energy efficiency industry.