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Energy Efficiency in Action

image credit: ID 120392810 © Bannasak | Dreamstime.com

Energy efficiency efforts continue to increase in the U.S., reaching the private sector, utilities and consumers. Since 2011, utility investments in efficiency generated an 18 percent increase in electricity savings.  As the year comes to a close, Harminder Singh, Director of Power at leading data and analytics company GlobalData, looks at the key trends that will shape the industry in 2020.  Along with energy storage, EV’s and digitalization, microgrids will continue to advance in popularity.  This year has seen an increase of microgrid projects announcements around the world. Utilities such as Duke Energy, EDF, Engie and AusNet have been involved in the development of recent microgrid projects.  Having the ability to shift the balance from large central station power plants to microgrids reduces transmission loss and creates a more efficient system.  A five percent energy loss during transmission may seem minimal but it adds up.  What are utilities, regulators and businesses doing to combat energy loss and increase efficiency?

  • In Tennessee, TVA is furthering their energy efficiency efforts by launching the Home Uplift Program.  The goal is to help customers reduce utility bills, by focusing on weatherization improvements.  TVA would assist customers with window replacements, insulation, appropriate ventilation, etc.  Glasglow Electric Plant Board (GEPB) Superintendent Billy Ray said TVA hasn't completely finished working out the details of the program, but hoping the final draft will be available in January.  
  • New building codes by the International Code Council in connection with the International Energy Conservation Code will also contribute to energy management.  Currently, buildings account for 35 percent of US carbon emissions and efficiency could reduce that number significantly.  “We are delighted that the IECC is back on track to improving energy performance and are confident that the new IECC code can be a resource for cities and states working hard to reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions” stated Chris Perry, ACEEE’s manager of codes and standards. The new residential code will allow builders to choose energy efficiency upgrades that work best to reduce energy use by five percent.  Improved insulation, efficient air conditioners and water heaters will increase savings but builders will also wire garages and parking spaces for future EV chargers.
  • Tampa’s multi-tenant facility, Henderson Pointe is another example of efficiency in action and was recently rewarded with PSC’s Triple E Award for Energy Efficiency Efforts.  But it would not have happened without the help of the local utility company.  Chris Jones of Henderson Pointe’s property management worked with Tampa Electric Company (TECO) to improve the facility’s energy and demand usage by retrofitting lighting systems, installing occupancy sensors, replacing HVAC systems, and sealing air duct systems. “TECO helped us identify the goals, as well as the path for achieving those goals, and we’re very proud that our energy efficiency is having a positive impact on our bottom line and our competitiveness.”

A new report from ASE, ACEEE, and BSCE states energy efficiency actions have delivered positive results but warns more action is needed. “Energy efficiency is the enabler for optimization and integration of clean energy technologies, and we need to scale it urgently to meet our energy and environmental objectives,” said Lisa Jacobson, president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy(BSCE). “Scaling energy efficiency is also critical to enhancing the resilience of energy systems. Recent disasters have strained energy infrastructure and buildings, costing billions. Upfront investments in energy efficiency not only decrease emissions but mitigate extreme weather impacts.” 

With 2020 quickly approaching, what are your energy efficiency investment plans?  What new technologies and efficiency programs are you implementing in the new year?

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 24, 2019 1:01 pm GMT

. Since 2011, utility investments in efficiency generated an 18 percent increase in electricity savings. 

This is a great figure-- though I'd love to see an assessment of costs for those efficiency investments vs. money saved (by both the utility and the end consumer)

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