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Energy Efficiency Highlighted at the Advancing Renewables in the Midwest Conference

The Missouri Department of Economic Development, Columbia Water and Light, and the University of Missouri hosted the annual Advancing Renewables in the Midwest conference on April 6-7, 2015. In its tenth year, the conference continues to promote discussion on energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, policies and projects in the Midwest.  This year, the conference included presentations on electric vehicles, community solar, Missouri’s potential for biomass, and the successful implementation of energy efficiency programs and policies.

In particular, Dennis Murphey, Chief Environmental Officer for Kansas City, presented on Kansas City’s major advancements in educating building owners on energy efficiency and their further plans to promote benchmarking using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager ® through the City Energy Project, a 3-year initiative to improve energy efficiency in large commercial, institutional and multi-family buildings.

MEEA program and policy staff attended and interacted with ongoing partners at the conference, such as the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the City of Columbia, and Honeywell.

Visit www.advancingrenewables.org for more information on next year’s conference.

AdvancingRenewables

Illinois Home Performance receives the EPA’s 2015 Partner of the Year Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the Illinois Energy & Recycling Office at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) with a 2015 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Award for its work on the Illinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. DCEO’s accomplishments will be recognized in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2014.

DCEO sponsors Illinois Home Performance, a statewide program coordinated by MEEA that helps Illinois homeowners improve the comfort, safety, value, and efficiency of their homes. To date, Illinois Home Performance has awarded Silver and Gold Certificates of Completion to over 5,100 Illinois homeowners. The program has also trained hundreds of home performance contractors in advanced building science and has educated hundreds of real estate professionals about the value of energy efficiency in Illinois homes.

“There’s a big difference in air movement in my home. You used to feel the cold air coming in and moving through the house, and you don’t feel that chill anymore,” attests Ann Robertson, a Springfield homeowner who received an Illinois Home Performance Certificate. Ms. Robertson took advantage of utility rebates to offset the cost of her home energy upgrade. She worked with Green Home Weatherization, a qualified contractor, to install insulation and seal the leaks where heated air once escaped to the outside.

Since its inception in 1992, ENERGY STAR and its partners have helped prevent a total of more than two billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2013 alone, ENERGY STAR and its partners provided more than $11 billion in societal benefits due to reducing damages from climate change.

ENERGY STAR has 16,000 partners working to protect the environment through greater energy efficiency, including manufacturers, retailers, public schools, hospitals, real estate companies, and home builders.

For a complete list of 2015 winners and information, and more information about ENERGY STAR’s awards program, visit www.energystar.gov/awardwinners.

For more information about Illinois Home Performance, visit www.illinoishomeperformance.org or call the Illinois Home Performance hotline at (866) 395-1032.

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 https://www.ashrae.org/membership–conferences/webcasts. For more information on tracking and improving existing buildings in the Midwest, contact MEEA’s Senior Technical Manager – Steve Kismohr at skismohr@mwalliance.org 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 www.boccentral.org or contact Jenn Allen at jallen@mwalliance.org 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 skismohr@mwalliance.org or Rose Jordan, Program Manager, at rjordan@mwalliance.org.

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 skismohr@mwalliance.org.

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.

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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.

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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 jallen@mwalliance.org 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 khorton@mwalliance.org

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 http://www.illinoiscleanenergy.org/street-roadway-lighting-program/
For additional resources and assistance in municipal lighting projects, speak with Steve Kismohr, Sr. Technical Manager, skismohr@mwalliance.org or Rose Jordan, Programs Manager – Lighting and Education, rjordan@mwalliance.org.

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.

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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 rjordan@mwalliance.org for more information.

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