BLOG TO SAVE ENERGY

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), which operates bus, subway, railway and ferry routes in and around the Boston metro area, knew it wanted to cut back on energy costs. (The MBTA spends $42.5 million a year on electricity and is Massachusetts’ largest electricity consumer.) There was just one problem: lacking a system-wide view of operations, they weren’t sure where to begin.
On July 19, during the Alliance to Save Energy’s EE Noon webinar, we posed the following question: What if you could determine the efficiency capability of your building by measuring how it uses energy? Well, actually, you can: ASHRAE has created a building energy rating program – the Building Energy Quotient (Building EQ) – that can determine your building’s energy performance based on its potential and actual performance. The process involves an audit completed by an experienced practitioner using ASHRAE’s methodology.
In many parts of the United States, this summer has been hotter than average – and energy bills have been soaring as a result. With heating and cooling costs typically accounting for almost half of the average utility bill, homeowners and business owners would be wise to seek out energy-saving tactics for the remainder of the summer. From simple DIY tricks to energy-efficient appliances, there are dozens of adjustments that you can make to reduce your energy bills. Here are a few favorites to help you finish out the summer strong.
In addition to the Senate building energy codes provisions, there are many other sections of the two energy bills worth noting for their potential to improve energy efficiency across sectors and boost U.S. energy productivity. Today, let us take a look at another element of the bills: the energy-water nexus. The “nexus” terminology is widely used to convey the idea that human water and energy consumption are inextricably linked. As with many other Alliance priorities, energy-water efficiency policies currently enjoy significant bipartisan support, which we think will help bring House and Senate negotiators together during the energy bill conference.
The State Policy Opportunity Tracker (SPOT) for Clean Energy is a first-of-its-kind database that enables users to quickly identify existing clean energy policies across states – and to “spot” policy gaps. This easy-to-use and free resource was developed by the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.
Energy policy has been a major issue of the 114th Congress. As you read this post, two competing energy bills – one passed by the House of Representatives, the other by the Senate – are being negotiated by leaders engaged in a conference committee. Conferees, and especially their top staff, are working hard to sort out the differences between the two. Both bills address energy efficiency – and for good reason: improving energy efficiency is the easiest, least expensive, most cost-effective and cleanest way to boost our productivity, create jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil.
The Summer Olympics. An opportunity to kick back from the comfort of your couch every four years and watch the world’s most elite athletes go for the gold. Of course, we at the Alliance to Save Energy been watching plenty ourselves -- how about our gravity-defying gold-medal winning gymnastics team, and Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky’s continued dominance in the pool? -- but being efficiency nerds, we really wanted to know in what ways energy efficiency was being implemented at this year’s Olympics.
Boston’s mayor, Tom Menino, understands the value of energy efficiency. Speaking of the incredible efficiency strides his city has made, he said, “Reducing our energy use is just one smart step in improving the quality of life in Boston and around the world.” ­ We agree. And while the city, which has made a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050, has too many efficiency programs to name here, we present to you our favorite efficiency efforts being implemented in the City on a Hill, currently the top ranked energy efficiency city in the country.
Does any low-hanging fruit remain for energy efficiency improvement? This was the question posed by Alliance to Save Energy president Kateri Callahan at the onset of our recent congressional briefing. The answer – reinforced by the perspectives of our event panel speakers – is a resounding yes. The fruit of the “grid edge” offers novel approaches to energy efficiency improvement. But this begs the question: what is the grid edge?
On Tuesday, June 21, the Alliance to Save Energy hosted a webinar exploring the relationship between water and energy by looking at two things that are better when handled together: beer and sustainability. The webinar, which covered best practices on sustainable breweries, featured two speakers: Emilio Tenuta of EcoLab and John Stier of the Brewers Association.

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