New Tomorrows for Today’s Buildings: Existing Building Commissioning Webinar

The term commissioning comes from shipbuilding. A commissioned ship is one deemed ready for service. Before being awarded this title, however, a ship must pass several milestones. Equipment is installed and tested, problems are identified and corrected, and the prospective crew is extensively trained. A commissioned ship, like a commissioned building, is one whose materials, systems, and staff have successfully completed a thorough quality assurance process. For buildings, the commissioning process can occur upon the ‘launch’ of the building, as well as on a regular basis. For existing buildings, the term is slightly modified to ‘retro-commissioning,’ or even ReCx. This process is used to adjust or finely tune equipment to ensure that the building continues to operate as the owner intended, as well as with the efficiencies incorporated into the original design.

ASHRAE’s upcoming webcast, titled New Tomorrows for Today’s Buildings: Existing Building Commissioning, will broadcast live on April 23, 2015, from 1:00 – 4:00 pm EDT. This free presentation will feature industry experts who will define the benefits of building commissioning for the environment, occupants, operations staff, and overall ownership costs. Viewers will be able to recognize the varied scopes of commissioning, when to apply comprehensive versus focused commissioning, and best practices in existing building commissioning specifications & contracting.

“The speakers will distinguish between new building commissioning, existing building commissioning, and retro-commissioning,” said Nathan Hart, Chair of the ASHRAE CTTC Webcast Ad Hoc Committee. “Viewers will learn how to manage the commissioning process to minimize the impact on building functions and occupants, and how to integrate elements of existing building commissioning into the operation and maintenance staff’s daily activities.” The focus of the presentation will be on maximizing energy efficiency and return on investment or ROI.

For more information on the webcast program, continuing education credits, and ASHRAE resources related to existing building commissioning, see–conferences/webcasts. For more information on tracking and improving existing buildings in the Midwest, contact MEEA’s Senior Technical Manager – Steve Kismohr at or 312.784.7257.


BOC Graduates provide benchmarking services for the City of Chicago Benchmarking Ordinance

Chicago’s Building Energy Use Benchmarking Ordinance calls on existing municipal, commercial, and residential buildings larger than 50,000 square feet to track whole-building energy use, report to the City annually, and verify data accuracy every three years. The data verification is required to be completed by an in-house or third-party licensed professional, and MEEA’s BOC credential is one of six credentials recognized by the City of Chicago for data verification.

In 2014, nonresidential buildings over 250,000SF were required to comply, and all six of the city-recognized credentials were used for data verification for these facilities, including the Building Operator Certification (BOC) credential offered by MEEA. A total of 71 unique individuals verified data of 300+ buildings; the BOC credential was held by 8% of the verifiers and those individuals verified 8% of the 2014 reporting buildings.

In 2015, the second phase of the City’s initiative will be implemented. This year all commercial and municipal buildings from 50,000 – 250,000 square feet and residential buildings over 250,000 square feet will be required to benchmark, verify, and report for the first time, greatly increasing the number of buildings reporting under the ordinance. Some of the large 250,000 square feet buildings classified as “residential” under the ordinance have more than 10% of residential occupancy included with other commercial uses. One of these mixed-use buildings, the John Hancock building, has BOC operators employed in it who will be involved with the reporting and verification this year.

MEEA continues to coordinate with partners to provide educational sessions on how BOC graduates and other energy professionals can take advantage of this opportunity and provide benchmarking and data verification services.

For information on upcoming educational sessions or to sign up for a BOC class, please visit or contact Jenn Allen at or (312) 784-7243.

Advanced Outdoor Lighting Shines Brighter with the Presidential Challenge Launch

During 2015 alone, outdoor lighting in the U.S. will consume about 100 TWh of electricity, enough energy to power roughly 6 million homes (one terawatt hour equals about one trillion watt hours). This electricity consumption alone, costs cities a cumulative total of about $10 billion annually. As a means to keep budgets intact, many cities are turning to LED, or Light Emitting Diode, street lighting projects to reduce their energy costs while improving the quality and effectiveness of outdoor lighting.

Many U.S. jurisdictions have already retrofitted their incandescent traffic signal lighting to LEDs in the last 5-10 years. LED street lighting fixtures are the next gateway to energy savings, with many installations currently underway throughout the Midwest, from  Detroit to Ann Arbor to the Kansas City region. However, many municipalities are interested in retrofitting their low/high pressure sodium fixtures for a variety of reasons beyond the energy savings. Using today’s LED technology combined with integrated control strategies, local governments can cut their outdoor lighting bills by 50 percent or more. Some entities see these retrofit projects as a means to revitalize aging infrastructure or bring higher levels of safety to areas not yet serviced by streetlighting. Others see the revenue-generating possibilities of integrating fiber optic cabling, telecommunications, air quality sensors, or other technology within street lighting fixture projects.

The Obama White House is working with mayors to determine how best to capture the potential of LEDs to light their cities while continuing to saving money. They have recently issued the Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting to encourage more mayors to upgrade 1.5 million street lighting poles to include LED fixtures – essentially tripling the original DOE Better Buildings program goal of upgrading 500,000 fixtures. LED light bulbs are an example of a lighting success story that, when taken to the streets, makes a lot of sense. The technology has rapidly improved over the past several years, and the price has dropped. As the technology advances, communities are installing LEDs, and showcasing market acceptance and satisfaction with the technology for even greater savings.

We are excited to recognize the cities stepping up to the Challenge. Through the Better Buildings Outdoor Lighting Accelerator, MEEA is assisting cities with technical expertise and sharing the experiences of leading cities to accelerate the deployment of highly efficient lighting. All the while, MEEA is helping realize energy and cost savings for Midwest communities of all sizes.

For more information on street lighting technology and gaining recognition for your municipality, contact: Steve Kismohr, Senior Technical Manager, at or Rose Jordan, Program Manager, at

The Better Buildings Summit is Posed to Celebrate Huge Success on May 27-29

The Better Buildings Challenge is a program created by the federal Department of Energy to support commercial and industrial building owners interested in reducing their energy use by providing technical assistance and proven solutions. Partners include city and state governments, school districts, manufacturers, affordable and market rate multi-family owners, as well as data center owners. The Challenge also includes Allies, mainly comprised of utilities and financial lending institutions, who are matched to Partners to enhance collaboration and problem solving towards higher energy efficiency outcomes.

Organizations who commit to the Better Buildings Challenge pledge to save at reduce the energy used across their entire building portfolio by 20 percent or more over ten years. By accepting the free and available assistance, these organizations also commit to transparently showcase the solutions they used and the results they achieve. Currently 3.5 Billion square feet of Partner commercial and industrial space has been enrolled in the program to date, while $2 Billion in financing from program Allies has been made available to Partners. Importantly, both Partners and Allies are publically recognized for their leadership and innovation in energy efficiency.

The yearly Better Buildings Summit gathers Partners and Allies together share ideas and celebrate the successes within one conference. This year, the event is expanding to include new sectors and further engage in a diverse set of market leaders. It is predicted to bring over 800 partners and stakeholders in Washington D.C. on May 27-29 to participate in two and a half days of sessions. These panels and related meetings will focus on the sharing the most successful strategies for achieving energy savings through energy efficiency and will include topics such as finance, data access, high-impact technologies, and portfolio-wide strategies. Program Allies, including utilities and financial lending institutions, will be in attendance and present effective solutions they have achieved in the last year. This year, the Summit will also offer sessions for residential energy professionals.

A limited number of travel stipends and registration scholarships are available for state and local government and K-12 school districts to attend. If you have an existing grant agreement with DOE, please consider using available administrative funds to pay the registration fee and travel costs associated with your attendance. As you register for the conference, please indicate your interest in financial assistance.

MEEA will be attending the event and participating in some of the presentations and associated meetings on the topic of energy data access. We will also be involved with case studies on developing internal organization processes to track energy consumption in buildings. For more information on the Better Buildings Challenge contact Steve Kismohr, Senior Technical Manager at 312.784.7257 or

CP EnMS Training Recap

MEEA was excited to have the opportunity to partner with the Georgia Institute of Technology Professional Education and the Institute for Energy Management Professionals (IEnMP) to host MEEA’s pilot Certified Practitioner in Energy Management Systems (CP EnMS) training at the end of last month. This four day intensive training was successful in preparing thirteen energy professionals for the ANSI accredited CP EnMS exam. Upon passing the exam, these professionals will receive their CP EnMS certification and be qualified to lead an industrial organization through the development and maintenance of an energy management system; helping to meet ISO 50001 requirements and prepare for Superior Energy Performance (SEP). Their contact information can be found on the IEnMP website, here, upon graduation.

cp enms 1

The CP EnMS class (shown above) of thirteen energy professionals from seven different states in the US, and one from India, left the training knowing more about MEEAs role in the Midwest, ISO 5001, and Superior Energy Performance. The training covered a wide range of topics including but not limited to: energy models, managing energy demand, problem solving skills, operating characteristics of key energy using systems, system optimization, regulatory requirements, instrumentation and controls, data collection and use, and fundamentals of business decision making in the industrial sector.

cp enms 2

The class was led by two experienced instructors from Georgia Tech., Bill Meffert and Frederick Green (shown above). They were able to create collaboration among the participants and bring in personal experience to build on the material covered in the training.

Considering the success of this pilot CP EnMS training, MEEA will be offering additional classes in 2015. If you have questions, or would like to be considered for the next CP EnMS training, please contact Jenn Allen at or (312) 784-7243.

Missouri Launches Home Energy Certification Program

On February 20, Governor Jay Nixon announced the Missouri Home Energy Certification (MHEC) – a voluntary program designed to recognize homes that have received energy efficiency upgrades. Homeowners in Missouri can access these certificates through participating in an approved Missouri energy efficiency program, making upgrades that are identified in an energy audit, or receiving a rating through one of many well-known energy rating systems.

The MHEC program uses a two-tiered certification approach, issuing Silver and Gold Certificates to homeowners. Illinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®, a program that MEEA coordinates on behalf of the Illinois Energy & Recycling Office, also issues Silver and Gold Certificates to homeowners. Having these two levels of certification helps celebrate homeowners who have made moderate energy improvements to their homes with Silver Certificates while also encouraging them to undertake deeper energy retrofit projects to earn the Gold Certificate.

Common home energy improvements include measures such as air sealing and installing insulation in attics and walls – measures that are largely invisible without climbing into the attic or drilling holes in the walls. Certificate programs such as the MHEC and Illinois Home Performance communicate these upgrades to the potential homebuyers, demonstrating the increased comfort, durability, and efficiency of homes that have Certificates. Recent research suggests that third-party green certifications may help homes sell faster or for a premium.

MEEA coordinated the stakeholder process for the MHEC program in 2013 and wrote the initial guidelines for the program. For information on how MEEA can coordinate your stakeholder process or create a third-party certification program in your area, contact Kelsey Horton at

Funding for High Efficiency Street Lighting in Illinois

The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has released a grant opportunity for Illinois public entities who are interested in upgrading their municipal owned and operated streetlights. As part of their Street and Roadway Lighting Pilot Program, this grant opportunity is an excellent method to start a retrofit pilot project converting existing streetlights to LEDs, possibly even including adaptive controls for dimming. Requirement is for the public entity to own their own streetlights or the portion of streetlights included in the grant must be owned by the public entity.

The grant provides up to $25,000 for development of a new Pilot Program for energy efficient street and roadway lighting improvement. These funds can be combined with DCEO Illinois Energy Now Incentives to cover up to 100% of total project cost.

The intent of the Pilot Program is to evaluate fixture performance and better understand project costs and energy savings. Grants may pay for upgrades to the fixture (lamps, ballasts and/or controls) in street and/or roadway outdoor lighting systems that reduce electricity consumption. Grants are only made available to projects that are no further along than the lighting evaluation and design stage. Replacement of poles, arms, foundations and other required infrastructure equipment to accommodate the new lamp fixture is not eligible. Project applications are due by March 13, 2015.

For more information, see
For additional resources and assistance in municipal lighting projects, speak with Steve Kismohr, Sr. Technical Manager, or Rose Jordan, Programs Manager – Lighting and Education,

Midwest LUMEN: Connecting Peers Across Midwest Utility Lighting Programs

Midwest LUMEN January Meeting

On January 27 and 28, 2015, representatives from eight Midwest utilities (including MEEA Members Ameren Illinois, ComEd, Dayton Power & Light, DTE Energy, Duke Energy, EKPC,  and MidAmerican Energy, as well as Kansas City Power and Light) met in Chicago to discuss advanced lighting and advanced lighting controls programs. Topics varied from NEEP’s Commercial Advanced Lighting Controls (CALC) initiative, to midstream market efforts, to marketing advanced lighting programs and more. Once again, this proved an excellent forum for information sharing across utility boundaries.lumen

Advanced Lighting Reception and 2015 Midwest Advanced Lighting Solutions Guide

Midwest LUMEN Members were joined by more than 30 additional lighting stakeholders and MEEA staff for the January 27 Advanced Lighting Reception where MEEA officially released the 2015 edition of the Midwest Advanced Lighting Solutions Guide, featuring solutions from MEEA members Ecova and TCP Lighting. Members had a great time meeting old and new friends and energy efficiency colleagues from around the Midwest (and the country) before the launch of the 2014 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference. MEEA’s Interim Deputy Director, Bill Angelos and Midwest LUMEN Chair and MEEA Board Member Vicki Campbell offered warm welcoming remarks, speaking to the important role that groups like Midwest LUMEN have on fostering greater collaboration across the region.


About Midwest LUMEN

Midwest LUMEN connects utility employees to share information, leverage resources, engage in strategic planning and coordinate program efforts; helps utilities hit aggressive efficiency targets; and delivers targeted information from leaders throughout the advanced lighting industry to the network.

The group meets tri-annually and is currently open to utility employees from throughout MEEA’s Midwest footprint. Contact Rose Jordan at for more information.

Innovative Projects Engage Consumers, Businesses in Energy Savings via Technology Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s Inspiring Efficiency Award Winners Celebrated

The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) celebrates nine winners that helped Midwestern businesses and consumers save energy and money in new and innovative ways. The recipients of MEEA’s 2015 Inspiring Efficiency Awards include:

  • The development of an interactive smart phone app, which allows residential electric customers to see their energy usage in real-time.
  • An initiative that has helped to make Chicago a more affordable, competitive and sustainable city.
  • An industry leader who developed and managed an energy efficiency program portfolio that achieved the highest natural gas savings in the U.S.
  • Innovative new program to advance energy efficiency in low income housing, saving residents energy and money.

“These organizations, programs and individuals showcase the many benefits of energy efficiency, from saving money for consumers and businesses, to saving energy and creating new technologies and innovative programs,” said MEEA Interim Executive Director Stacey Paradis. “MEEA is pleased to recognize this group of winners as part of the 11th Annual Inspiring Efficiency Awards’”

The winners were honored at the Inspiring Efficiency Awards dinner and gala on Thursday, Jan. 29, during MEEA’s 13th annual Midwest Energy Solutions Conference ( The three-day conference, which ended Jan. 30 and was hosted at the Chicago Hilton and Towers, is the largest regional energy efficiency conference in the Midwest. The event brings together a broad range of private and public sector thought leaders in energy strategy, policy, technology and program design and implementation.

The Inspiring Efficiency Awards competition recognizes Midwest energy efficiency leaders in five categories: Leadership, Education, Impact, Innovation and Marketing. MEEA also honors one winner with the Inspiring Efficiency Chairman’s Award. Award recipients for 2015 included:

  • Education Award:
    • Nicor Gas won for its “What’s in the Box?” campaign that creatively simplified energy efficiency for homeowners and encouraged participation in Nicor Gas’ cost and energy saving programs.
  • Impact Awards:
    • The Illinois Public Housing Authority Efficient Living Program by the Illinois Public Housing Authority through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Architecture is one of the few public sector programs in the nation to influence energy and cost saving measures at local public housing authorities. The program helped install 97,510 energy saving measures at 52 of 99 public housing authorities in Illinois.
    • Retrofit Chicago by the City of Chicago won for its role in helping to drive energy efficiency improvements, and associated cost savings, job creation and greenhouse gas reductions, in Chicago’s residential, commercial and municipal sectors.
  • Innovation Award:
    • AEP Ohio was honored for its Continuous Energy Improvement Program, one of the first Strategic Energy Management Programs in the U.S. to apply a full treatment of energy use in large industrial facilities.
    • DTE Energy was celebrated for its DTE insight app, which allows customers to see their energy usage in real-time allowing them to change their habits, saving more money and energy.
  • Marketing Award:
    • Nicor Gas also won for its Customer Journey Strategy. The strategy involved examining program interactions, removing barriers to participation, and redesigning marketing, outreach and communications strategies, to be customer-centered.
  • Leadership Award:
    • Carol Stemrich, demand side manager for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, won the leadership award for playing a key role in launching Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s statewide energy efficiency program. Carol’s vision and passion helped establish Wisconsin as a national leader in energy efficiency.
    • Jim Jerozal, managing director of energy efficiency at Nicor Gas, was honored for developing a program portfolio that resulted in more natural gas savings last year than any other energy efficiency program in the U.S.
  • Chairman’s Award:
    • Tim Melloch, retired director of energy efficiency services at ComEd, became known as the ComEd Energy Doctor. He is honored for his role in managing one of the nation’s largest and most cost-effective energy efficiency portfolios, and for his role in helping ComEd customers reduce energy consumption by approximately 8.5 million MWh and save more than $800 million on their electric bills. The former chairman of the board of MEEA retired from ComEd in August 2014.

View the Storify recap from that evening.

More information about the Inspiring Efficiency Awards and this year’s recipients can be found at

2015 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference Recap

Thanks to all who attended the 13th Annual Midwest Energy Solutions Conference last week in Chicago. More than 600 energy leaders from throughout the nation at the Chicago Hilton and Towers to explore energy issues.

Last week’s conference addressed emerging energy industry trends, taking on critical questions such as:
• How can utilities turn consumer interest in energy efficiency into long-term action?
• Why is it important for businesses and governments to make energy efficiency investments part of long-term strategies?
• What are the challenges and solutions to saving energy in Midwestern agricultural operations?
• What is Utility 2.0 and is it the utility business model of the future?

Other conference highlights included:

Wednesday, Jan. 28
• Keynote remarks by Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Director for the Office of Air and Radiation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
• Energy Efficiency and the Clean Power Plan: A Choose Your Own Adventure for States: With the release of the U.S. EPA’s draft Clean Power Plan, states will need to weigh supply- and demand-side options in relation to one another. Panelists including Doug Scott, former chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission, and Philip Mihlmester, ICF International executive vice president, explored the factors that influence these decisions including resource potential, costs and reliability impacts.
• Under the Influence: How are Behavior Change Programs Going beyond Initial Influence to Achieve Sustained Energy Savings?: Social marketing and customized data have the power to catch community interest, but how can utilities turn that interest into long-term action? This panel looked at several emerging behavior-changing programs and the tactics used to leverage momentum into persistent savings.

Thursday, Jan. 29
• The Brave New World of Integrated Efficiency: Panelists discussed the potential for Integrated Efficiency in the Midwest and activities that could result in a large expansion of energy efficiency technologies in the near future. They also discussed business model innovations that will enable market transformations.
• Agricultural Energy Efficiency: A Midwestern Imperative: Opportunities to save energy in Midwestern agricultural operations and rural small businesses abound, yet significant barriers still remain. Panelists identified challenges, solutions and next steps to take in the Midwest.
• Friends with Non-energy Benefits: Beyond the Monetary Savings of Energy Efficiency: The benefits of energy efficiency for the customer are extensive: monetary savings, improved comfort and safety, increased employee productivity and better brand positioning. This panel explored the latest trends in measuring and marketing these non-energy benefits and presented a case study.
• 11th Annual Inspiring Efficiency Awards Dinner and Gala. MEEA presented awards in Education, Innovation, Impact, Marketing and Leadership and announced the 2015 Chairman’s Award winner.

Friday, Jan. 30
• Keynote remarks by Terry Proffer from Major Geothermal on behalf of IKEA.
• Surfing Advanced Lighting’s Cutting Edge…Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond: The digitization of lighting technology continues to drive transformative change. Efficiency, integrated control systems and consumer expectations are evolving in the new LED landscape. Panelists discussed what’s currently possible in efficient lighting systems, and gave a glimpse into the next wave for residential, commercial and industrial markets.
• The Most Known Unknowns: The Future of Energy Efficiency in an Uncertain Environment: Recognized as valuable contributions to our resource mix, energy efficiency (EE) and demand response (DR) face an uncertain future in organized energy markets. Panelists presented the effects of recent regulatory proceedings on the future role of EE and DR in capacity markets and opportunities and challenges for businesses bidding into these markets.

For a detailed conference agenda, visit



photo credit: Rebecca Sack

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