Upcoming Webinar: ESPC 2.0: How a New Generation of Energy Savings Performance Contracting is Improving Energy Efficiency in U.S. Buildings

On Tuesday, Feb 3, 2015, at 2-3pm CST, join Better Buildings Challenge Partners and Allies to learn how Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) is expanding to new sectors, including and beyond municipal and state governments, to impact building energy efficiency. In this webinar, learn how your organization can take advantage of ESPCs to see long-term energy savings in your buildings with limited upfront investment.  A representative from the U.S. Department of Energy will also introduce DOE’s ESPC Accelerator – a high impact program designed to support expansion of ESPCs among state and local governments.


The Better Buildings Challenge supports commercial and industrial building owners by providing technical assistance and examples of proven, energy efficiency solutions. It also celebrates the accomplishments of those signed onto the challenge of committing to reduce the energy across their building portfolios by 20 percent or more over ten years. These include U.S. companies, universities, school districts, multi-family organizations, and state and local governments. The monthly webinar series showcase with the solutions they have implemented, along with the replicable results they have achieved. The program also provides a forum for matching Partners and Allies together to enhance collaboration and problem solving in energy efficiency.


To attend the webinar on ESPCs, sign up here:

For more information on the Better Buildings Challenge contact Steve Kismohr, Senior Technical Manager at or 312.784.7257.

11th Annual Inspiring Efficiency Awards – Leadership

This week MEEA is announcing the final list of nominees for the 2015 Inspiring Efficiency Awards in the Leadership category. We are looking forward to honoring these candidates and their ongoing contributions to energy efficiency at this year’s Inspiring Efficiency Awards Dinner and Gala.

The Inspiring Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award is presented to the organization or individual who has served as a strong leader in support of energy efficiency in their city, state, region, company, or community. Candidates may include state and local political leaders, regulatory officials, legislators, state agency directors, corporations, or other policymakers who have been exceptional in their support of energy efficiency.

  • Carol Stemrich, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, Focus on Energy Program
  • ComEd Energy Efficiency, George Malek
  • Deb Sundin Director of DSM and Renewable Strategy, Xcel Energy
  • The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC)
  • Illinois Green Economy Network
  • James (Jim) Jerozal, Managing Director, Energy Efficiency, Nicor Gas
  • Tom Kurucz, Deputy Superintendent, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District
  • Mark Barich, Facilities Engineering – Energy Manager, Summa Health System

To find out who will take home this award, join us for the Inspiring Efficiency Awards Dinner and Gala during the Midwest Energy Solutions Conference, January 29th. For more information, visit the conference website:

DOE Seeks Input on Definition of Zero Energy Buildings

Designing and managing the use of a low energy using building or one that intends to use less than half (50%) of the typical building of its size and occupancy is a difficult process. However, design teams and building owners are beginning to create buildings which use as little energy as possible, while producing only the amount they need – on or near the building site. These types of buildings are called Zero Energy Buildings (ZEBs) or Net Zero Energy (NZE) Buildings.

Although these ultra-low energy buildings have been built and are in use, there are not commonplace in our current, Midwest building stock. A retail building was recently completed by Walgreens in Evanston, IL. On the residential side, Habitat for Humanity in Northwestern Wisconsin completed a set of homes this autumn which follow a similar definition. Earlier in 2009, the Washington University in St. Louis completed the Tyson Learning Center in rural Missouri. The U.S. Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) is interested in developing a commonly-accepted definitions and nomenclature of Zero Energy Buildings (ZEBs) or Net Zero Energy (NZE) Buildings (the specific term might be something to comment on itself!) in a newly released, Federal Register document.

Specifically, DOE would like public input on define “zero-energy buildings,” and how to designate buildings that meet various standards toward net-zero. A common definition could assist to set guidelines that could help governments, private companies, and others in construction industry have a goal to reach for and achieve, while simultaneously using the same standard to recognize those buildings who do meet the agreed upon requirements. Some may see this as a means to continually move the market towards low energy buildings and further reductions of greenhouse gas/CO2 emissions – goals many Federal, State, and local governments have already established. To others, it could suggest influencing future generations of the building energy code or green building certification programs. The Living Future Institute is one such organization who already has set up the Living Building Challenge program using a set of criteria to certify buildings who achieve a number of ultra, low-impact features, including those termed as a “Net Zero Energy Building.”

For more information on the U.S. DOE Request for Information (RFI) recently released in the Federal Register, follow this link. There is plenty of opportunity to voice your opinion on the matter through the public comment period. U.S. DOE has not suggested this information will immediately influence their goals, but will help clarify the working definition we all use. Comments are not due until 2/20/15, while a report on the findings and comments is slated for late 2015.

For more information on benchmarking, building data collection, and the next generation of places we inhabit, contact Steve Kismohr, MEEA’s Senior Technical Manager, at or 312.784.7257.

Upcoming Event: Getting to Zero National Forum, Washington, DC, February 1 -3, 2015

Please see below for information on the Getting to Zero National Forum, courtesy of New Buildings Institute, Rocky Mountain Institute, and NASEO:


Join Leading Practitioners and Policymakers to Discuss the Future of Commercial Buildings

New Buildings Institute, Rocky Mountain Institute, and NASEO will host a second Getting to Zero National Forum, February 1-3, 2015 in Washington D.C. The Forum will gather policymakers, design professionals, building owners, and real estate representatives to share perspectives on the growth of zero energy commercial building policies and projects.  The event takes place prior to NASEO’s 2015 Energy Policy Outlook Conference.

Over 40 leading experts, three plenary sessions, and four breakout tracks will cover a broad range of issues, including the technical and operational considerations for creating and maintaining zero energy performance, business perspectives on cost and value, and taking zero energy buildings from policy to practice.  The sessions are especially suited for State Energy Office staff, NASEO Affiliates, and other organizations interested in high performance commercial buildings.  The full program is available on the Forum website.

Location, Registration, and Sponsorship

The Getting to Zero National Forum will be held at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC.  The room block is limited and expires on January 9, so reserve today by calling 800-441-1414. Mention “NBI” to receive the reduced Forum rate. You can also reserve online at

For a list of registration options, visit the Forum website.

If you are interested in attending NASEO’s 2015 Energy Policy Outlook Conference, separate registration and accommodations are available through NASEO’s conference page.  Both events take place at the Fairmont Hotel.

For information about sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities for the Getting to Zero Forum and Energy Policy Outlook Conference, please contact Chris Wagner at



BOC Veterans Program Veteran Highlight: Florance Clanton

Florance Clanton of Glenwood, IL is one of several scholarship recipients for the Building Operator Certification Veterans Program. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Recycling and Energy Office provides tuition scholarships for this eight day training program for unemployed or underemployed veterans in the state of Illinois as part of the Illinois Energy Now Program. MEEA spoke with Florance to discuss her experience with the BOC program.

1.      What interested you about the Building Operator Certification Program?

I have a Stationary Engineer license. This program allows me to gain more knowledge in the world of energy efficiency. I Know no matter where I am working, I will bring the knowledge to be more energy efficient to the job to help save cost to my employer.

2.      Tell us about yourself – what experience do you have with building systems?

I worked for the Chicago Board of Education for twenty four years. I started in the construction trade as a Glazier. I was promoted to assistant Glazing Forman. I was attending college at night until I graduated from undergraduate school with a BS, in Environmental Science and then on to graduate school for a degree in Business Management in Environmental Science/Building management.

After school I was promoted to the Bur, of Arch. While working there I applied to the Stationary Engineer program it was a four year study program. In this program you learn about all building systems and recording keeping and preventive maintenance for buildings. I trained at twenty different school buildings to learn the operations and the environmental concerns of each school: Asbestos, Lead, Radon, Mold, Hazmat waste in the schools.

3.      What was your favorite part of the BOC program?


There were many things that I liked about my classes. The class had team sprit we all talked to each other about work and the classes. We had class projects to in class and at work/home to do. I think the first class was very good; my next best was the Environmental class.

4.      What type of position are you hoping to get in the operations and maintenance field?

I worked as a Project Manager for five years in the environmental field. I am open to any suggestions about career choices this is a new start for me. I do enjoy teaching others and so I’d like to perhaps pursue a position where I would be instructing others on energy efficiency strategies.

There are some big thank you’s I must include in this This my support team I want to say thank you to everyone I could not do it alone thank you for the help and support  from ComEd I appreciate it more than I can tell you.

Jennifer Allen, Program Manager, MEEA, Paul Pipik ,Veterans Coordinator, Prairie State College Vicki J. Evers, Regional Facility Manager, Jones Lang LaSalle Richard Reyes, FMP, Manager of facility Operations William Burns PE, Senior Engineer Com Ed Dale Williams CEM, Senior Engineer, Com Ed Charles Daniels, Building Engineer, Com Ed

11th Annual Inspiring Efficiency Awards – Marketing

As we continue our countdown to the 2015 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference we are happy to share the list of nominees for this year’s Inspiring Efficiency Award in the Marketing category.


The Inspiring Efficiency through Marketing Award will be presented to the nominee that has engaged in or supported a marketing campaign, program, strategy, or idea to increase the adoption of energy efficient products and/or best practices in the Midwest region. National programs may be nominated as long as there is a clear Midwest benefit.


  • AEP Ohio (sponsoring utility) and CB&I (program designer and implementer)
  • Alliant Energy
  • Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy® Business Program
  • Columbia Gas of Ohio
  • ComEd’s Fridge and Freezer Recycling (FFR) program
  • ComEd’s Smart Ideas for Your Home (SIFYH)
  • Consumers Energy Smart Energy™ Challenge
  • Dayton Power and Light Company
  • Focus on Energy Lighting Incentive Catalog
  • Michigan Commercial & Industrial Energy Conference, MCIEC
  • Nicor Gas, energySMART, Customer Journey Marketing Strategy
  • Urbana-Champaign ENERGY STAR Challenge
  • Xcel Energy – Energy Efficient Showerhead Program


To find out who will take home this award, join us for the Inspiring Efficiency Awards Dinner and Gala during the Midwest Energy Solutions Conference, January 29th. For more information, visit the conference website:

The Results are in – the City of Chicago Releases their first year of Benchmarking Data

Congratulations to the City of Chicago in the release of it’s first-ever energy benchmarking report from data collected under their Energy Benchmarking Ordinance! The 2014 City of Chicago Building Energy Benchmarking Report found millions of dollars in potential savings in the city’s largest, non-residential buildings. The findings are based on the first set of benchmarking data from 2013, provided by building owners and managers (or their representatives) who have measured, verified, and reported their energy usage with the free, web-based EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool.

The citywide effort included 348 of Chicago’s largest buildings, representing 260 million square feet of space and approximately 11% of citywide building energy consumption. Following the ordinance language, owners of municipal and commercial buildings greater than 250,000 square feet submitted their previous year’s energy use. Unsurprisingly, Chicago reported a 90+% compliance rate among buildings covered by the ordinance.

Why isn’t it a surprise you ask? The City of Chicago’s benchmarking ordinance incorporated the perspectives from a large variety of stakeholders throughout the process. They merged viewpoints from these stakeholders into a cohesive law. Additional feedback was further embedded into the implementation process as a means to explain to the building community how they can most easily meet the ordinance requirements. This package of support included FAQ documents, a website, and a Help Center – was developed in tandem with a series of free, public training sessions (live and webcast). With MEEA’s assistance during this development, these devices helped support building owners through the quick process of collecting, processing, and reporting their data. It didn’t hurt that many of the initial stakeholders also became ambassadors of these supporting mechanisms.

Chicago’s report is also unique to other cities’ versions by the inclusion of perspectives of five different building owners. Viewpoints from owners or managers of a commercial office building, a City of Chicago K-12 school, a hospital, a university auditorium building, and the Museum of Science and Industry were noted throughout the report. Each highlighted building included a quote from the building manager, as well as a tip – describing an action that was already incorporated to assist in the reduction of energy consumption of the building. These viewpoints will aid current and future building owners understand the myriad of different options they can implement to achieve energy savings.

MEEA has been honored to work extensively with the City of Chicago and their partners throughout their process towards this first year of benchmarking data reporting or transparency. The second and thi
rd phases of the benchmarking ordinance implementation will run through 2016 to include commercial, municipal, and residential buildings larger than 50,000 square feet. MEEA will continue to play a role in supporting Chicago and other Midwest Cities develop t

heir benchmarking initiatives. For more information on how benchmarking can assist your city meet its sustainability goals and reduce overall energy use, contact Steve Kismohr, Senior Technical Manager at or 312.784.7257.

Minute Dec 2014 - City of Chicago Bldg Energy Benchmarking Reportcover

11th Annual Inspiring Efficiency Awards – Innovation

We would like to congratulate all the nominees who have made the shortlist for this year’s Inspiring Efficiency Award in the Innovation category. The variety and number of nominations we received this year was very impressive.

The Inspiring Efficiency through Innovation Award will be presented to the nominee that has developed and implemented a new and innovative program, idea or policy in the Midwest. While the concept of the program, idea or policy may have been implemented elsewhere, the applicant will need to clearly detail why the program, idea or policy and its impact is unique to the region and new to the marketplace.

  • AEP Ohio’s Continuous Energy Improvement Program (CEI)
  • AEP Ohio Energy Efficiency/Peak Demand Reduction (EE/PDR)
  • AEP Ohio, Lime Energy – Express Program
  • Bruner Corporation / Licking Heights School District
  • DesignLights Consortium Qualified Products List
  • DTE Energy / Energy Efficiency / DTE Insight
  • Focus On Energy – Multifamily Energy Savings Program
  • Focus On Energy – Large Energy Users (LEU)
  • Illinois Energy Now: Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Public Sector Energy Efficiency Program
  • Nicor Gas – Energy-Saving Kit Reachback Campaign
  • SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company
  • The Urbana-Champaign ENERGY STAR Challenge
  • Veritatis Advisors
  • Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy Enhanced Rewards Program

To find out who will take home this award, join us for the Inspiring Efficiency Awards Dinner and Gala during the Midwest Energy Solutions Conference, January 29th. For more information, visit the conference website:

Upcoming Webinar on Public Sector Energy Data Collection and Tracking

Implementing a robust and comprehensive energy tracking and measurement process can be a challenge. A webinar on December 18th at 1pm CST will cover DOE’s Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program Office’s step-by-step guide with best practices for state and local governments and school districts. The presentation will also demonstrate the value of an energy data tracking effort.

Specifically, the guide addresses the following topics:

  1. Creating a comprehensive energy asset inventory
  2. Streamlining access to utility data
  3. Leveraging data management tools
  4. Optimizing the organizational structure for portfolio-wide energy data tracking
  5. Driving engagement and communicating results

This presentation will include an overview of the upcoming document, “Best Practices in Energy Data Collection and Tracking in the Public Sector.” The webinar will feature the US Department of Energy’s Mona Khalil (who was featured during the MEEA Benchmarking and Codes Conference) and the guide that she developed on this topic, as well as Jeff Hamman, the Energy Specialist with Portland Public Schools in Oregon. Jeff will showcase the school district’s efforts of energy data management (collection and use). The webinar is being presented through DOE’s Technical Assistance Program (TAP), and is available to anyone interested in learning about data collection, use of the information, and how to manage it in ongoing operations.

Find out more about the event here. For more information on collecting building energy data contact Steve Kismohr, MEEA’s Senior Technical Manager, at or 312.784.7257.


11th Annual Inspiring Efficiency Awards – Impact

As MEEA continues its preparations for the 2015 MES Conference we are proud to present the nominees for the Inspiring Efficiency Award in the Impact category.

The Inspiring Efficiency Impact Award will be presented to the organization that has made a significant contribution to market transformation either through the implementation of a specific program or through a policy change. The applicant will need to clearly demonstrate the measurable & significant impact that the program or policy has had on reducing energy consumption, altering public behaviors/practices, and/or increasing the market penetration of energy-efficient products and technologies in the Midwest. This award covers the residential, commercial, institutional, agricultural and industrial sectors.

  • AEP Ohio’s Data Center Program
  • Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy® All Electric Homes (AEH) Program
  • Ameren Illinois ActOnEnergy®  Small Business Direct Install (SBDI) Program
  • City of Chicago, Retrofit Chicago Program
  • City of Minneapolis
  • ComEd Smart Ideas® Small Business Energy Savings (SBES) Geo-targeted Campaigns
  • Dayton Power and Light (DP&L)
  • Focus on Energy: Chain Stores and Franchises Program
  • Focus on Energy: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Resource Program
  • Focus on Energy: Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Program
  • Illinois Energy Now: Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Public Sector Energy Efficiency Program
  • Illinois Public Housing Authority Efficient Living Energy Program (ILPHA)
  • Michigan Electric Cooperative Association
  • Nicor Gas – energySMART
  • NTC’s Trickle Up! Program
  • Urban Innovations, Ltd.

To find out who will take home this award, join us for the Inspiring Efficiency Awards Dinner and Gala during the Midwest Energy Solutions Conference, January 29th. For more information, visit the conference website:

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