BLOG TO SAVE ENERGY

In a week, more than 190 countries will meet in Paris for the 21 st annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 21 st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to negotiate the final details of a legally binding and universal agreement on limiting global temperature increases for the first time in several decades.

We are deeply saddened by the recent events in Paris, and extend our heartfelt sympathy and concern for anyone impacted by the tragedies. While some large public events have been canceled in the wake of the November 13 attacks, the majority of COP21’s side events will continue as planned, albeit with a higher level of security. More than 100 heads of state are still expected to visit Paris for the opening of the negotiations.

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Last week regulators and industry convened in Austin, TX for the 127th annual meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), where topical utility regulatory issues for electricity, water, gas and telecommunications were addressed, and where the 127th President of NARUC, Travis Kavulla of Montana, was installed. It was an interesting week all around.
El Monte Union High School District (EMUHSD), which has taken great strides in recent years to lead the way in energy conservation, was recently honored with the prestigious U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon School award for 2015. The Green Ribbon School program recognizes schools and school districts that are reducing environmental impacts, improving wellness of schools, students, and staff, and providing environmental education to students.
Few energy efficiency policies are as impactful or far-reaching as robust building energy codes and appliance standards. Under the leadership of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), stakeholders from industry, advocacy groups and the public sector routinely meet and negotiate in good faith to develop cost-effective and technologically-feasible codes and standards. While the average consumer might not realize how much time and effort are involved in developing codes and standards, the results are tremendously beneficial. When a family purchases a new home and outfits it with a furnace, air conditioner, dishwasher and other appliances common in modern life, energy efficiency is a core engineering and design element that delivers long-term savings.
Setting ambitious energy efficiency targets for 2030, a goal that the Alliance shares and strongly pursues, is becoming increasingly popular among leaders. In the latest example, on October 7, Governor Jerry Brown (D) enacted landmark legislation ramping up California’s clean energy goals via energy efficiency and renewable energy penetration. The California Assembly voted 52-26 on September 11, the last day of the legislative session, to approve S.B. 350, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015, which requires the state to increase its renewable portfolio standard (RPS) from 22 percent to 50 percent and double energy efficiency in buildings by 2030. Both of these provisions will help drive a cleaner, safer, cheaper and more efficient electric grid, and sets a bold precedent for other states around the country to follow suit.
Connected homes – homes that contain interconnected devices that connect to the internet – present an exciting market opportunity and a way for consumers to save money. While there are challenges, such as finding scalable solutions, addressing data security and communicating the value to consumers, leaders in the industry are viewing connected homes as a promising new frontier. And with 75 percent of the electricity in the United States used by buildings, the Alliance to Save Energy sees an opportunity to advance residential energy productivity through connected homes. Subject experts speaking at the Alliance’s November 4th Connected Homes Congressional Briefing provided insight into some of the market’s opportunities and challenges. Read below for a summary of the briefing discussion and observations from the briefing’s panelists.
When thinking about opportunities for increased energy efficiency, the small business sector deserves much more attention that it often receives. Small businesses make huge contributions to our economy according to any measure. We all know small business owners, and probably patronize several each week. In every corner of our country, small businesses are—figuratively and literally—the engines of growth. Furthermore, small businesses have much to gain in terms of savings and an ability to manage energy costs through investments in cost-effective energy efficiency.
Special events will be underway in a number of states this Friday, October 30th to mark 2015’s Weatherization Day in recognition of the benefits of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). In New Hampshire, Governor Margaret Hassan will gather with community and energy efficiency leaders at the state house to hear first-hand from WAP clients about the impact the program has had on their lives.
A little more than one year before the 2016 election, presidential candidates are beginning to articulate their energy policy platforms—and the recent debates, discussions and policy proposals have given us an early opportunity to evaluate where the various candidates stand on the importance of energy efficiency in our modern energy economy. Several candidates have already shown support for energy efficiency and the Alliance stands ready to amplify the message of efficiency’s value on the national stage over the coming months.
Thanks to the generosity of the U.S. Department of State, the hospitality of the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore, I had the great privilege to travel to Singapore in September as part of a small group of energy efficiency advocates and practitioners to share experiences with delegations from across Southeast Asia. It was a fantastic professional and cultural experience.

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