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Making efficiency more accessible

image credit: Image courtesy of Hawai'i Energy

This item is part of the Energy Efficiency - Special Issue - 10/2019, click here for more

As the energy efficiency program responsible for helping the islands of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i save energy, Hawai‘i Energy’s mission is to make energy efficiency accessible to all. With our state’s ambitious goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045, efficiency plays a major role, since it’s the most cost-effective method to reduce the amount of new renewable generation needed.

Although no-cost behavioral changes such as turning off the lights when leaving the room or unplugging appliances helps reduce energy, driving deeper savings comes with a price.

Recognizing the need to reach those in our community who don’t have the resources to make the upfront investment in energy efficiency, we provide financial incentives, education and information to residents and businesses.

We launched the Rapid Response Program on Hawai‘i island to help residents and businesses deal with the loss of a major source of energy generation, and shift their focus to reducing their usage. We partnered with Trade Allies, to give customers lighting retrofits for 196 projects, achieving 1.8 million kW and over 200 kW in savings.

We also recently completed our first cohort of the EmPOWER Hawai‘i Project, which helped five local nonprofit organizations make energy saving adjustments at their facilities, achieving a combined savings of more than $35,000. Participating organizations also received training on how to better assess their energy usage going forward and how to continue to make energy saving improvements. Watch the video below to see how the five nonprofits took energy savings into their own hands.

The time is now to act. We need to not just offer solutions that will benefit a small percentage of people, but will give people of all backgrounds the chance to make an impact for generations to come.

 

Jaclyn Saito's picture

Thank Jaclyn for the Post!

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Discussions

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 29, 2019 12:03 pm GMT

When it comes to implementing grid solutions, clean energy generation, etc., Hawaii no doubt has unique challenges compared with the rest of the country. Do you find that there is a similar uniqueness towards the challenges Hawaii utilities face in implementing energy efficiency programs?

Jaclyn Saito's picture
Jaclyn Saito on Oct 29, 2019 9:23 pm GMT

Hi Matt! Yes, there are unique challenges in implementing energy efficiency in Hawai‘i. First off, our isolated location increases the importance of our programs influencing the supply chain to have energy efficient equipment available for purchase.  With Hawai‘i’s high cost of living, retailers and end users are often focused on first cost rather than the life cycle cost, making the incremental cost an even higher barrier to participation.  Also our largest industry is tourism versus industrial or manufacturing.  Reducing energy use in hospitality without impacting the guest experience can be a challenge.  The peak load from hospitality also matches the residential and system peak in the evening, which causes additional challenges in reducing peak demand when solar PV systems are no longer producing power.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 29, 2019 9:58 pm GMT

With Hawai‘i’s high cost of living, retailers and end users are often focused on first cost rather than the life cycle cost, making the incremental cost an even higher barrier to participation. 

This is a great point, as even in places with lower costs of living and with customers who can afford the capital for upgrades, education and motivation is still an impediment. But add the cost of living, and that's an immense challenge. 

Also our largest industry is tourism versus industrial or manufacturing.  Reducing energy use in hospitality without impacting the guest experience can be a challenge.

Wow thanks for this one-- I wouldn't have thought of that but it's a really terrific point. 

Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Jaclyn!

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