The United States Department of Energy (DOE) recently released the Annual United States Energy and Employment Report (USEER) and the numbers look good for energy efficiency. The USEER study focused on four segments of the energy market—Electric Power Generation and Fuels; Transmission, Distribution and Storage; Energy Efficiency; and Motor Vehicles—to determine current growth and potential for jobs in the energy sector.
The report highlights that energy efficiency is a rapidly growing segment in the energy sector with an annually increasing market share. Though the majority of jobs in energy efficiency are in construction, there is growth potential in energy-related manufacturing in the coming years.
Current EE Employment
In total, the report found 1.9 million American workers engaged either partially or fully in the energy efficiency market. Of the 1.9 million energy efficiency jobs in the country, almost 1.2 million are in the construction industry. Energy-related manufacturing jobs account for just 34,571 of the 1.9 million total.
Firms specializing in energy efficiency are expected to add 257,000 jobs to the market in 2016-2017 for an overall projected growth of 14%. For employers across all four analyzed segments, nearly three-quarters of them reported difficulty hiring qualified workers in the last twelve months. The current shortage of skilled labor in the energy efficiency market, along with the industry growth potential, makes this an ideal prospect for recent graduates.
On November 1st MEEA was presented with the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award for work done in 2015 on the Building Operator Certification (BOC) program. During 2015, BOC was able to continue the success of the veterans program and fill a gap in the market by offering a new pilot BOC training for operations and maintenance staff of large multifamily buildings.
BOC Veterans Training
BOC is dedicated to helping veterans and active duty military personnel in Illinois attain free career development training through full tuition scholarships for a BOC Level 1 or 2 series. Within the scope of providing veterans with free career development training, BOC also provides underemployed or unemployed veterans with a travel stipend to defer the cost of getting to class, a mentor to help with homework assignments and job placement assistance from employment partners and veterans agencies. This effort is made possible with funding from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.
Partners in Saving Energy
Along with the continued success of the veterans program, MEEA was able to partner with Elevate Energy and USGBC to offer the first ever pilot BOC Level 1 Multifamily series, placing a particular emphasis on this sector. MEEA partnered with USGBC to offer an extra training, Green Professional Building Skills Training (GPRO), so at the end of the series the participants were awarded two certifications. The GPRO certification by USGBC focuses solely on residential buildings, allowing students to receive a well-rounded, multifaceted training program.
Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance
With large residential buildings required to start energy benchmarking in 2015 as part of the Chicago Benchmarking Ordinance, MEEA wanted to provide residential building operators with the same training that commercial building operators have been offered for years. A day of the BOC Level 1 series is dedicated to measuring and energy benchmarking with an emphasis on learning to use ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager and creating the first benchmark of a student’s facility. Part of the Benchmarking Ordinance requires buildings to have a professional come verify their energy data every 3 years to ensure accuracy; BOC is one of the few professional certifications an individual can have to qualify as a data verifier. The inclusion of BOC graduates as energy verifiers allows facilities to benchmark and verify their own data without having to hire an outside professional, further reducing the barrier to comply with the benchmarking ordinance.
Looking to the Future
With continued funding for 2017 from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, BOC is looking to expand the veterans program and issue up to 18 full tuition scholarships for veterans or active duty military personnel and at least 6 of those scholarships will go towards underemployed or unemployed veterans. BOC will also be offering a more robust multifamily Level 1 offering, with the first one taking place in Wisconsin and another in Chicago. The Level 1 curriculum has been fully adapted by our expert instructors to be the most relevant information for operators of multifamily buildings. The BOC team looks forward to bringing this multifamily series to the region while continuing to improve upon this new program offering.
Credit: Fensterbme / Flickr
In January 2016, the Ohio Board of Building Standards (BBS) began discussing the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)/ASHRAE Standard 90.1 2010 (ASHRAE 90.1-2010) for potential adoption as a means to regulate energy use in new (and majorly renovated) commercial buildings.
Nine months later, and after much discussion by state and local stakeholders, on Friday, September 30, the 2012 IECC/ASHRAE 90.1-2010 by reference was born (officially adopted by the Joint Committee of Administrative Rule Review (JCARR)). Although this new code has been formally adopted at the state level, this bundle of joy won’t make an appearance until January 1, 2017, the effective date set by JCARR and the BBS.
Energy & Cost Savings
In comparison to Ohio’s previous commercial energy code (2009 IECC/ASHRAE 90.1 2007 by reference), the adoption of the 2012 IECC/AHSRAE 90.1-2010 would improve the efficiency of buildings by over 18% based on the Department of Energy (DOE) Final Determination. Additionally, the incremental cost increase to construct a building to the new code is more than made up over the life of the building through annual energy cost savings, making it a cost-effective update.
According to a MEEA analysis, when accounting for the potential energy savings based on commercial construction starts in Ohio, buildings built to the recently adopted code in the state could contribute to over $9.5 million in energy cost savings and 470,000 MMBTU in energy savings per year. The amount of energy saved annually is equivalent to that of over 6,400 homes, which is almost half the number of single-family homes that were built in Ohio in 2015.
Not only will this code save energy and money for building owners, businesses and renters, but it also encompasses several non-energy benefits. With improved insulation, better windows and an improved and more finely-tuned mechanical and lighting system, building inhabitants will experience improved comfort, better lighting, and a healthier indoor working environment. Considering the average American spends 93% of their life indoors, and buildings account for 40% of all energy used in this country, a marked improvement in building performance through the adoption of this new energy code will have a lasting positive impact on residents in the State of Ohio.
Last month, the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency released a new report that ranks each U.S. state on their potential for industrial energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions. The report, State Ranking of Potential Carbon Dioxide Emission Reductions through Industrial Energy Efficiency, identifies which states are best suited to help the industrial sector to cut carbon emissions, while saving money and making manufacturers more competitive.
Through nationwide investments in industrial efficiency, the U.S. can cut carbon emissions by a total of 174.5 million short tons in 2030, which, according to the report, is equal to the emissions from 46 coal-fired power plants. Additionally, such actions can save businesses $298 billion from avoided electricity purchases. This level of carbon emission reduction is nearly one-third of the national emission reductions called for under the Clean Power Plan.
The Midwest is particularly well-positioned to benefit from industrial energy efficiency improvements due to the region’s significant manufacturing sector. According to the report, five of the top ten states that would experience the greatest total carbon emission reductions are in the Midwest: Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan. By investing in industrial energy efficiency, including combined heat and power and waste-heat recovery, these five states could avoid nearly 45 million short tons of carbon emissions and save over 63 million MWh of energy annually.
The Alliance for Industrial Efficiency report is aimed at helping state policymakers, industrial companies, utilities and others seize opportunities for industrial energy efficiency that will result in significant cost savings and emission reductions.
In addition to the full report, the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency has released a national factsheet and individual state factsheets for each of the top ten states.
MEEA has released its own industrial EE factsheet as well.
For questions about MEEA’s resources and activities related to industrial energy efficiency in the Midwest, contact Policy Associate Leah Scull at email@example.com.
Each year, the members, board and staff of MEEA meet to celebrate the past year’s successes, elect the Board of Directors, swap best practices (and business cards) and discuss industry trends and MEEA’s roles therein.
This year, we gathered June 8-9 in St. Louis—just a stone’s throw away from the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium—with a focus on upcoming political elections and treating energy efficiency as a supply-side resource. We were also pleased to unveil MEEA’s new logo and Annual Report.
The event began bright and early with an address from Board Chair Jeanine Penticoff and member introductions. As in years past, attendees said they came to form relationships with new members, deepen existing connections and learn about trends in the industry.
The following candidates were on the board slate for election or re-election for the 2017-2018 year:
- Nathan Baer (Staples Energy)
- Scott Drake (East Kentucky Power Cooperative)*
- Jim Jerozal (Nicor Gas) *
- Nick Mark (CenterPoint Energy), Michael Brandt (Commonwealth Edison)*
- Rick Morgan (Morgan Marketing Partners)*
- Ralph Muehleisen (Argonne National Laboratory)*
- Sam Mueller (Nexant) *
- John Nicol (Leidos)
- Art Thayer (Michigan Electric Cooperative Association)*
- Llona Weiss (Missouri Energy Office) *
- Shawn White (Xcel Energy)
- Dan York (ACEEE)
* up for re-election
All proposed candidates were approved and we’re pleased to have these and the current board members’ leadership and guidance for the 2017-2018 fiscal year ahead. You can see MEEA’s full board list here.
It was also announced that Jim Jerozal of Nicor Gas will be replacing Alliant Energy’s Jeanine Penticoff as board chair in the next term. Jeanine has served MEEA admirably, and we cannot thank her enough for her insight, dedication and expertise. We’re honored to have Jim’s leadership moving forward.
MEEA Board Chairs gave updates on the different sections of the organization- Programs, Policy, Membership and Events, and Finance. To see a recap of MEEA’s successes in 2015, please see our Annual Report.
Panel: “Opportunities & Consequences of Treating EE as a Supply Side Resource”
The first panel of Annual Meeting featured a whopping nine panelist with a wide range of perspectives, from grid operators to implementers to solar experts. Moderated by Dr. Ralph Muehleisen of Argonne National Laboratory, each presenter provided insight into how we treat energy efficiency as supply today; what needs to change in order to treat energy efficiency as a supply side resource equal to other generation; and what our industry looks like when we get there. Susan Covino, PJM, Steve Moritz, Encentiv Energy, and Jon Williams, AEP-Ohio discussed how utilities and others are aggregating energy efficiency projects to sell in forward capacity markets and how recent rule changes affect these markets. Brian Bowen, First Fuel, and Randy Gunn, Navigant, discussed the necessary big data and experimental controls to accurately and reliabily predict energy savings from aggregated projects. Finally, Amy Heart, Sunrun Solar, Matt Belcher, MEERC, Michaela Martin, ICF, and Scott Steiner, Lockheed Martin spoke about what this future will look like and how roles and responsibilities will evolve from now until then.
Panel: “The 2016 Election – What Does It Mean for the Future of Energy Efficiency”
The afternoon panel looked to November’s elections and beyond with an eye toward how those races might impact energy efficiency, including funding, regulation and the Clean Power Plan.
MEEA Executive Director Stacey Paradis discussed the policy positions of the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates relating to energy efficiency, before handing off the mic to John Rainbolt of Alliant Energy, who outlined presidential, congressional and gubernatorial electoral forecasts. The key takeaways: the fall elections will undoubtedly impact federal energy policy, though efficiency remains an issue with bipartisan appeal. And regardless of outcomes in November, regulatory agencies will continue to be in the driver’s seat.
Adam Cooper of the Institute for Electric Innovation then outlined the future for the Clean Power Plan and likely scenarios if the CPP is upheld or struck down.
Download the presentation slides for more details >>
The Annual Meeting reminded us once again why the future of energy efficiency is so promising: the passion and innovative spirit of our members. We look forward to another year championing the economic and environmental benefits of energy efficiency. Thank you for your support!
On Monday, June 6, 2016 the Columbia City Council voted to adopt the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) as written, to regulate energy use in residential and commercial buildings. Additionally, the Council chose to adopt the Solar-Ready Provisions (Appendix RB) as part of the 2015 IECC for residential buildings, making the City of Columbia the first jurisdiction in the Midwest to do so.
The adoption of the 2015 IECC improves upon the efficiency of their previous energy codes, the 2012 and 2009 IECC for residential and commercial buildings, respectively. According to the Department of Energy (DOE) final determinations, building to the new code will yield approximately 1% for residential and 25% for commercial buildings in site energy savings.
The potential energy savings associated with this adoption will save owners, renters, and businesses money, and reduce energy use and carbon emissions in new buildings in Columbia. According to a MEEA analysis, updating the commercial and residential energy codes to the 2015 IECC will save over $400,000 in citywide energy use costs annually. In addition to economic savings, building to the new code will contribute to a potential annual reduction of over 16,000 MMBTU in building energy usage, which is equivalent to the CO2 emitted from 223 homes (roughly 30% of newly constructed homes in Columbia in a year).
Changes from the Previous Codes
The 2015 IECC will also improve upon the system performance of buildings in Columbia. The residential energy code was updated from the 2012 to the 2015 IECC, so few substantial efficiency improvements to the code were added. Main changes to Columbia’s Residential Energy Code include the addition of an alternative performance compliance method (Energy Rating Index) and the adoption of the Solar Energy Ready Provisions. The Solar Energy Ready Provisions do not require solar panels be installed, it requires a home be equipped to potentially add solar panels at a later date, if it has a favorable roof orientation. This provision is an optional appendix to the model code, which states or municipalities may choose to include and enforce when adopting the 2015 IECC for residential buildings.
As indicated by the large potential energy savings, updating the 2009 to the 2015 IECC for commercial buildings will result in significant improvements in building performance in Columbia. In general, newly constructed commercial buildings will be more efficient and comfortable as they will be better insulated and sealed, have more efficient lighting and HVAC systems, include new efficiency requirements for refrigeration units, and require more robust commissioning of building systems.
Considering newly constructed buildings can last 50 to 100 years, the energy, economic and performance improvements stemming from the 2015 update will have a positive impact on the City of Columbia for decades to come.
To gain a better understanding of the 2015 IECC Residential and Commercial requirements, check out the DOE Building Energy Codes Program Training Catalog.
For additional information about the adoption of the 2015 IECC in the City of Columbia, MO please contact Ian Blanding, Building Policy Associate at MEEA.
 Methodology takes into account energy savings from DOE Final Determinations, annual commercial and residential construction in Columbia and EIA average electricity and gas cost for residential and commercial customers in Missouri.
MEEA Sr. Program Associate Catie Krasner leads a session on building a sustainability roadmap.
At this year’s Illinois Healthy & High Performing Schools Symposium, representatives from across industries rallied around the concept of getting each child into a green facility in this generation. On April 8, MEEA joined sustainability professionals from across the State to address how we can continue greening our schools in order to create healthy and high performing environment for students. Held at Chicago Public School’s Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, the event was sponsored by the USGBC- Illinois Chapter and the Association of Learning Environments.
Conversations ranged from sustainable restroom design to commercial composting, with a number of presentations highlighting how real schools throughout Illinois are using their campuses to teach students about energy efficiency and sustainability. As The Center for Green Schools’ Rachel Gutter remarked, “What if a classroom could help teach rather than act as a container for learning?” This concept resonated strongly with the teachers, administrators and staff in attendance, who share a passion for creating better learning environments. It also reflected the spirit of the Department of Energy’s three pillar framework for Green Ribbon Schools (outlined below).
Three Green School Pillars:
- Reduce environmental impact and costs
- Improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff
- Provide environmental education (incorporating STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways)
MEEA staff Rose Jordan and Catie Krasner led a session walking Illinois school representatives through Pillar 1 and the concept of building a sustainability roadmap. The presentation included advice, guidelines, and resources available for energy benchmarking and auditing as well as free EPA tools available to measure other sustainability metrics (e.g., water, waste, etc.). MEEA plans to make these resources available on our STEP webpage. Learn more about USGBC’s green schools advocacy efforts here.
On February 24-26, more than 650 energy professionals (a new attendance record!) gathered at the Chicago Hilton & Towers to discuss energy efficiency, the utility industry, benefits to economic development, industrial efficiency and the potential impact of state and federal regulations at the 14th annual Midwest Energy Solutions Conference. With experts and business leaders from around the globe, MES was an unparalleled opportunity to network, swap best practices and plot the future of the energy efficiency community.
This year’s MES conference tackled critical questions like:
- How is energy efficiency achieved overseas?
- What is the state of residential LED lighting?
- How are Chicago-area media covering climate and energy issues?
- What is the future of utilities around the Midwest?
The conference kicked off Wednesday with an opening keynote address from Ralph Cavanagh of the Natural Resources Defense Council, followed by a plenary session overviewing recent actions surrounding the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The rest of the day explored new partnership opportunities in energy efficiency in breakout sessions like “kWH2O: A Mashup of Water and Energy” and “Energy Efficiency and Demand Response: Now Offered in One Convenient Package.”
Colin Thurmond of Digital Lumens presents on LED lighting during the Exhibitor Demo Showcase.
Thursday’s sessions looked at EE both globally and locally with the plenary “Energy Efficiency Outside the Midwest: A Global Perspective”, where speakers from Germany, France and Canada shared best practices from their home countries, and “EE Pluribus Unum: Cities United in Energy Efficiency Efforts.” While visiting the Exhibit Hall to chat with exhibitors and play the Passport to Prizes sweepstakes, attendees had the opportunity to see live presentations on the brand new demo stage, as well as a Q&A with utility reps catered to EE businesses. The day wrapped up with a member reception and the 12th Annual Inspiring Efficiency Awards.
One of this year’s most well-liked sessions came on the closing morning of the conference. “Freaky Friday: An Evaluator, an Implementer and a Utility Swap Roles and Gain Perspective” flipped the tables and allowed evaluation and implementation teams to present from each other’s viewpoint, discussing the issues the respective sector faces, opportunities for improvement and strategies for building more effective partnerships moving forward. Friday morning started out with even more insight into utilities with the roundtable “Utilities Take Center Stage,” which included utility executives from ComEd, Duke Energy and Xcel Energy review the necessary business case for energy efficiency.
Friday’s panel “Navigating the New Media Landscape: The Rise of Digital Newsrooms and How to Get Your Story Out”
MEEA would like to thank the speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, attendees and board members who made MES 2016 a tremendous success. See you at MES 2017!
The Better Buildings Summit is the U.S. Department of Energy’s annual event, this year held May 9-11 in Washington, D.C. The event is designed for partners and stakeholders of DOE’s programs to exchange ideas and best practices towards improving the energy efficiency of our nation’s homes, buildings, manufacturing plants, and public facilities. This year’s meeting is expected to include over 900 attendees, who will be able to choose from nearly 250 speakers – sharing their proven success stories.
During sessions, attendees will delve into sector trends, participate in forward-looking discussions, and engage on a range of diverse topics. These include sessions focused on emerging technology innovation, creative organizational strategies, practical financing, strategic partnerships, data-driven decision-making, and future opportunities for scaling energy efficiency across portfolio of buildings. Topical areas are sub-divided by building types including commercial, industrial, multi-family, and public.
New this year, DOE is hosting a pre-conference event on Monday morning to showcase projects through hands-on building tours. Tuesday and Wednesday will debut a Partner Pavilion where attendees can engage informally with technology experts, network with peers, sit down for an interview for the DOE “Beat Blog,” or be filmed making an energy efficiency pitch inside of an elevator.
For a closer look at 2016 DOE Better Buildings Summit sessions, please visit http://betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov/summit. More information on workshops and special events will be posted on the summit soon. MEEA hopes to see you there!
Several employees from the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) had the opportunity to test out the Association for Energy Affordability Inc. (AEA) building efficiency training facility on South Central Ave., near Midway International Airport. A MEEA member, the Association for Energy Affordability is a non-profit organization “dedicated to achieving energy efficiency in new and existing buildings in order to foster and maintain affordable and healthy housing and communities, especially those of low-income.” This training facility provides an excellent space for building professionals to sharpen their building efficiency retrofit and new construction practices and obtain one of many Building Performance Institute (BPI) and other certifications.
MEEA is grateful for the invitation from AEA, as this training allowed MEEA employees focused on residential building efficiency policy and programs to practice what they preach and gain hands-on experience.
In the above image, Steve Kismohr (MEEA’s Senior Technical Manager) demonstrates how to effectively use spray foam to seal penetrations and gaps in a manufactured attic space. The AEA trainers, John Yi and Steve Marchese, highlighted areas in the attic that are commonly missed by building professionals and recommended techniques to obtain a secure and long lasting seal to prevent air leakage. Sealing building penetrations is a relatively easy and cost-effective approach to improving the energy efficiency of a building, and in reducing the potential for harmful contaminants to enter into the living space of a home or apartment.
In addition to providing training on effective air sealing techniques, the AEA trainers also demonstrated how to ensure a quality installation of dense-pack cellulose insulation. In the above image, Chris Burgess (MEEA’s Technical Manager for Codes Compliance) is trying his hand at dense-packing a wall and AEA trainer, Steve Marchese and MEEA’s Isaac Elnecave (Senior Policy Manager) are providing support and recommendations. Using dense-pack cellulose insulation is one of many methods to effectively insulate a home or apartment. In addition to the thermal barrier gained from insulation, this method is also effective in helping to ensure a tight home and in preventing air leakage in walls.
Ta da! MEEA’s Kelsey Horton (Senior Program Associate), Isaac Elnecave and Chris Burgess inspect their work and note techniques to use when dense-packing an above grade wall in the future. Nice work, MEEA team!
MEEA wants to thank AEA for the knowledge they imparted to us and for the opportunity to test out their building performance training facility. We had a great time as a building performance contractor for the day!