Search Articles

Archives

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

pexels-photo-25112

Here in Chicago where MEEA is based, the winter months get so cold the air hurts my face. During my walk to work a few days ago, I’m pretty sure I was close to becoming an actual Popsicle. The long nights and lack of sunshine only exacerbate the pain.

When the weather outside is colder than the surface of Mars (seriously), there is no better feeling than coming inside to a warm, cozy home. While we battle the harsh Midwest winter, let’s be sure to keep our homes nice and toasty the responsible way. There’s no reason to waste energy and money by trying to overcompensate for sub-par insulation and drafty windows. Try a home energy audit!

A home energy audit and simple home improvements can cut down your energy use, lower utility bills and keep your home comfy and warm. Here in the Land of Lincoln, Illinois Home Performance can help.

Once you select a participating contractor to install your upgrades, not only will you enjoy the benefits of an energy-efficient home, you’ll also receive a certificate that can increase the resale value of your house! Save money on your energy bill now and sell your home for more money later – that’s the power of an energy audit.

To connect with a qualified energy auditor today, visit illinoishomeperformance.org.

Stay warm out there!

Kasich Vetoes Extension of Energy Efficiency Freeze

Photo credit: Arlenz Chen

Photo credit: Arlenz Chen

On December 27, Ohio Governor John Kasich vetoed Substitute House Bill 554 (Sub. HB 554), which would have extended the two year freeze of the state’s renewable portfolio standard and energy efficiency resource standard (EERS). Specifically, Sub. HB 554 would have imposed an unenforced 1% annual energy savings requirement through 2018, an enforced 1% annual energy savings requirement through 2025 and a 2% annual energy savings requirement through 2027.

Background on the Freeze

Senate Bill 221 (SB 221), which created Ohio’s EERS, requires investor-owned electric utilities and retail suppliers to achieve savings through energy efficiency programs equal to at least 0.3% of sales, gradually ramping up to a cumulative 22% in electricity reduction by 2025.

In the years since SB 221’s passage, Ohio’s EERS has been tremendously successful; annual savings increased twelve-fold and Ohio utilities have collectively exceeded the savings targets every year since 2009 by an average of more than 50% above the target. Despite this success, legislation signed by Kasich in 2014 froze both the EERS and renewable standards for two years.

The Thaw Begins

On November 1, MEEA Policy Manager Nick Dreher and Policy Associate Leah Scull held individual meetings with several Ohio legislators in Columbus. MEEA reviewed the impact of energy efficiency in Ohio and the reduction in energy efficiency investment and energy savings since the repeal of the efficiency standard in Indiana, in addition to discussing the 2016 report by MEEA and the Cadmus Group, The Economic Impacts of Energy Efficiency Investments in Ohio, which found that energy efficiency investments in 2014 alone resulted in nearly 3,000 new jobs, more than $175 million in increased statewide income, about $270 million in total net economic value and over $500 million in net sales.

MEEA staff also submitted written testimony to both the House Public Utilities and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committees during the Sub. HB 554 hearings.

Kasich Cites MEEA Research in Veto

With Kasich’s veto of Sub. HB 554, Ohio’s EERS will resume on January 1, 2017 at 1% annual energy savings through 2020 and 2% thereafter. In his statement of the reasons for the veto, Kasich stated that “the bill would deal a setback to efforts that are succeeding in helping businesses and homeowners reduce their energy costs through increased efficiency.” The governor’s statement also cited The Economic Impacts of Energy Efficiency Investments in Ohio report: “Energy efficiency investments from 2009- 2012 alone have yielded $1.03 billion in savings to date and will result in $4.15 billion in lifetime savings thanks to the state’s existing energy efficiency standards.”

What Lies Ahead

Despite Governor Kasich’s veto of Sub. HB 554, the 2014 bill that created the two year EERS freeze, Senate Bill 310, also made some notable changes to SB 221 that remain in effect. For example, utility upgrades to transmission and distribution unrelated to reductions in their customers’ energy usage, now count towards the EERS targets. Utilities can also count energy savings achieved independently by customers towards their overall compliance with the target. SB 310 also established an industrial opt-out, which allows large energy users to avoid paying into utility energy efficiency programs.

More Information

For questions about MEEA’s resources and activities related to energy efficiency policy in Ohio, please contact Policy Associate Leah Scull at lscull@mwalliance.org.

Update (1/6/17): Sections were added detailing MEEA’s policymaker outreach and the future of EE in Ohio. 

Michigan Gov. Snyder Signs Pro-Efficiency Energy Package

Michigan

On December 21, 2016, Governor Snyder signed into law a comprehensive energy bill package (PA 341/PA 342) that the Michigan legislature passed (as SB 437/SB 438) on December 15, 2016, the very last day of its “lame duck” fall session. PA 341 amends PA 3 and PA 342 amends PA 295. The new language will give additional authority to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to 1) initiate a process for reviewing utilities’ integrated resource plans on a three year basis and 2) administer various regulatory mechanisms.

The legislation retains the current 1% (electric) and 0.75% (natural gas) annual energy efficiency standards. However, beginning in 2021, the MPSC will open a docket to determine the appropriate mandated energy efficiency targets for each rate regulated electric provider. 2022 will mark the first year that standards might differ from existing standards and this docketed evaluation will occur every two years.  Despite the possibility of adjusted standards, mechanisms are expected to spur utility investment, including: cost-recovery, electric decoupling, financial incentives and tiered shared savings incentives. Lastly, the legislation removes a 2% cap on the rates that utilities can charge customers to pay for energy efficiency programs.

During the legislative process, MEEA provided informational materials and testimony to legislators, including the recently released MEEA/The Cadmus Group report on the Economic Impacts of Energy Efficiency Investments in Michigan.

For questions or information on additional details, please contact Policy Manager Nick Dreher at ndreher@mwalliance.org.

Conference Recap: 7th Annual Midwest Building Energy Codes Conference

IMG_5919

The MEEA Codes team took their talents to Cleveland, OH where they held the 7th Annual Midwest Building Energy Codes Conference from November 15 -16, 2016. This event was a success with two productive days of networking and discussion among a diverse group of building efficiency professionals in the Midwest (and some from the coasts). Building professionals were represented from Federal, State and Local Energy Offices, Federal National Laboratories, Consulting Agencies, Non-Profits, and Code Enforcement Agencies. MEEA invited experts from across the Midwest and Nation to discuss timely topics related to building energy code adoption, compliance and enforcement – these are described below.

Commercial Energy Codes 101

Conference attendees enjoyed a breakfast of champions by learning about the Model Commercial Energy Code (ASHRAE 90.1-2013) to start the conference. Although this presentation was extra credit for those early risers, attendees were in their seats, eager to gain a better understanding of the Commercial Energy Code.

IMG_5933

Introduction to Building Energy Codes

To “officially” start the day, Isaac Elnecave welcomed everyone to the conference and discussed the purpose of the Codes Conference. This was also a time to recap energy code successes in various states in the Midwest. A MEEA recap sheet can be found in the link below.

Panel 1: Multifamily Energy Efficiency and Codes

Multifamily buildings tend to be the odd building out when it comes to energy codes. This panel discussed the unique difficulties multifamily buildings face in terms of air leakage testing and lays out a rationale for developing a single energy code for multifamily buildings, instead of splitting them between the Residential and Commercial chapters in the IECC.

Frank Spevak, The Energy Conservatory

Jim Edelson, New Buildings Institute

Panel 2: Multifamily Compliance Code Official Forum

Given that multifamily buildings are split between two chapters in the IECC and certain code requirements are difficult to meet, there are often buildings that fail to comply with the energy code. During this panel, local code officials discuss common compliance issues they uncover when inspecting multifamily buildings in the field. Alison Lindburg from MEEA takes the following code officials through a series of pointed questions and the audience works together to discuss possible solutions.

Panelists

  • Richard Burton, Building and Safety Department, City of Lincoln, NE
  • Emily Hoffman, NYC Department of Buildings, NYC, NY
  • Tim Manz, Building Inspection Department, City of Blaine, MN
  • Tom Vanover, Building and Housing, City of Cleveland

20161115_112056

Panel 3: Making Multifamily High Performance

It is often said that building affordable multifamily projects with energy efficient features that go above the Model Energy Code is impossible due to funding constraints. However, the speaker in this panel put that myth to rest with several examples of how his firm is bringing Net-Zero (buildings that produce more energy than they consume) to affordable multifamily buildings. Tim McDonald understands that, in order for a building to truly be affordable, one must consider the cost of construction and long-term energy costs to the renter.

  • The PFHA Project – A National Net-Zero Energy-Capable Affordable Housing Initiative

Tim McDonald, Onion Flats

IMG_5936

Panel 4:  2018 IECC Development Process

Over the past year, building efficiency stakeholders recommended changes to the 2018 IECC and met twice to hash out these proposals during the development process. The IECC is updated every three years and the final vote on this update took place at the beginning of November. This presentation discussed how the code is developed and what changes might be included once the 2018 IECC is finalized.

Eric Makela, Cadmus Group

Panel 5: Water Efficiency in the Code

Although water use is not regulated in the Model Energy Code, these presenters talk about the potential to save energy when water use is reduced in buildings.  These speakers recommend two different approaches to reduce water use in buildings, one is through added language in the energy code and the other is by using a water modeling program called the Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS).

Karen Hobbs, National Resources Defense Council

Mike Collignon, Green Builder ® Coalition

Panel 6: Lighting up the Commercial Code

Day one finished with an in-depth discussion on the often mysterious lighting portion in the Model Commercial Energy Code. Learn about some of the energy considerations lighting designers make on a daily basis with this presentation.

Eric Richman, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

20161115_195210

Networking Dinner: After a long day in the classroom, attendees were ready to explore the Cleveland nightlife.

 


Energy Codes Conference Recap: Day 2

Panel 1: Ventilation

The residential chapter in the Model Energy Code requires that buildings meet and are verified to have a certain level of air leakage As builders begin to push the envelope (pun intended) and buildings become tighter, the type and rate of mechanical ventilation becomes a hot topic of discussion. This presenter outlines the various types of mechanical ventilation and displays best practices for tight and efficient homes.

Patrick Huelman, University of Minnesota Extension

Panel 2: Commercial Compliance Studies

Compliance studies are an effective approach to understanding how buildings are being constructed and outline the aspects of the energy code that engineers, designer’s, and builders could use additional training. During this panel we heard from three speakers on different ways to develop and implement a commercial compliance study in the field.

Poppy Storm, Ecotope, Inc.

Russ Landry, Center for Energy and Environment

David Cohan, Department of Energy

Panel 3: Testing Commercial Buildings

Although conducting a blower door test is not a requirement in the Commercial Model Energy Code, this is a clear path to achieve deeper energy savings in all building types. In this panel we hear about the recent adoption of the 2015 IECC in NYC which includes an amendment to require blower door tests on certain commercial building types.

Emily Hoffman, NYC Buildings Department

Panel 4:  Getting to a Zero Energy Ready Code

This panel brought in energy code experts to discuss how to achieve more robust energy codes in jurisdictions and states throughout the nation. With the development of stretch codes, these areas have become efficiency leaders with the adoption of codes that go above the Model Energy Code. Our speakers and attendees discussed the potential for this energy code mechanism to eventually move the Model Energy Code from its current level to a zero energy code.

Alison Lindburg, Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance

Cathy Chappell, TRC Energy Services

Jim Edelson, New Buildings Institute

Thank You

A big thanks to all our Super Energy Code professionals for making this Codes Conference another success – we couldn’t have done it without you!

 

 

Wisconsin Commercial Energy Code Veers Off Course

offices

Despite holding several meetings over the last eight months about the proposed 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)/ASHRAE Standard 90.1 -2013 for commercial buildings, the Wisconsin Commercial Building Code Council (CBCC) made several unannounced changes to the proposed rule at their final meeting on November 16 that will result in reduced energy efficiency.

The discussion about the proposed energy code at previous meetings culminated in a working document that included some amendments that reflected current building practices in Wisconsin, but maintained the core level of efficiency embedded in the 2015 IECC/ASHRAE 90.1-2013. The State of Wisconsin is currently enforcing the 2009 IECC/ASHRAE 90.1-2007 by reference, so updating to an unamended 2015 IECC could save approximately 18% in energy use.

But without notice, at the end of the November 16 meeting, the CBCC recommended a code that is significantly less efficient than what they had originally discussed.

Updating to a Weaker Code?

The proposed rules (starting on pg. 15 found here) include the following  weakening amendments, in addition to several minor amendments:

Reduced the building thermal envelope to 2009 IECC levels

Maintaining the 2009 IECC thermal envelope efficiency levels would result in a missed opportunity to improve the level of above deck and metal building ceiling insulation by 33% and 36%, respectively, and attic insulation by 22%. If this increased level of insulation were required, buildings would be more comfortable and efficient.

Removed lighting occupant sensor requirements

The 2015 IECC expanded lighting sensor requirements to rooms that are visited frequently by occupants for a short period of time. These sensors help ensure energy is not wasted once an occupant leaves the room by automatically turning off the lights.

Removed system commissioning requirements

The 2015 IECC requires that mechanical systems are fine-tuned or commissioned to ensure they are operating properly and at the efficiency levels listed in the original specifications. With the removal of this requirement, equipment may not operate at optimum efficiency and could be required to be replaced more frequently.

Removed the added efficiency package requirement

The additional efficiency package provides options for designers to improve the efficiency of the building through increased efficiency in one of six building components. If this package were included in the Wisconsin code, depending on which option the designer selected, the building could be up to 10% more efficient.

With these changes, the proposed code is significantly less efficient than model code for commercial buildings.

It is important to note that, of the five states in the Midwest that MEEA has assisted in the adoption of the 2012 or 2015 IECC or ASHRAE 90.1 -2010 or 2013 for commercial buildings, none of them have proposed amendments that weaken the efficiency of the commercial code to this degree.

Not only does this proposal leave significant commercial energy savings on the table, but given the changes, these buildings will have reduced occupant comfort and may not be operating to the level of efficiency agreed upon in the design phase due to lack of building testing. If approved, this code will likely go into effect in April or May of 2017 and will not be updated for another three years, as required by state legislation.

Stand Up for Sensible Energy Codes

Now that these rules are proposed, there are two periods in which the public can submit comments to voice their concern about the impact this will have on building owners, businesses and renters. According to this notice, the CBCC is accepting comments that discuss the level of economic impact this rule will impose on Wisconsin businesses and residents until December 28. Another notice will be issued to accept comments about the merits of the rules as a whole in January.

For questions or comments, please contact Ian Blanding, MEEA’s Senior Building Policy Associate.

Evanston Workshop Opens Eyes on Benchmarking

20161206_093302-1

Buildings comprise around 40 percent of the total energy consumption in the United States, and benchmarking policies have proven to be a crucial first step to achieving energy savings.

The Evanston City Council is currently considering a water and energy benchmarking ordinance to better track and reduce energy waste and costs for its residents. The proposed ordinance has been in development since March 2015, and the council is expected to vote on the ordinance at its Monday, December 12 meeting.

Benchmarking Training

On December 6, the City of Evanston, MEEA and the USGBC-IL held a free workshop in Evanston to answer questions about the ordinance and empower residents with tools to track and reduce their energy costs.

The workshop was attended by owners and managers of condo associations, worship facilities, offices, residence halls, assisted and senior living facilities, and even an alderman. Many attendees were curious about the benchmarking ordinance and how it might impact them.

The workshop gave a brief overview of the benchmarking software, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and then paired attendees with experienced volunteers to help them open their own accounts, answer questions and set up their buildings in the software. Many attendees were surprised by how quick and easy it was to set up, track and report their energy use.

20161206_093341-1

If the ordinance passes, future trainings will be held to help residents take control of their water and energy use through benchmarking.

What Can You Do?

The Evanston City Council will vote on the proposed benchmarking ordinance on Monday, December 12. Citizens of Evanston are encouraged to attend and/or contact their aldermen about the ordinance.

City of Evanston Benchmarking Ordinance Information Page
Evanston Building Energy and Water Use Benchmarking FAQ
Evanston City Council Meeting Agendas and Minutes

 

What Does Illinois’ New Energy Bill Mean for Energy Efficiency?

IL legislature

After more than two years of legislative proposals and negotiations, on Wednesday, December 7, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law the Future Energy Jobs Bill (SB 2814). The bill, which contains support for renewable energy, nuclear energy and energy efficiency, was passed by the Illinois legislature on December 1, the last day of veto session, with bipartisan support and will take effect June 1, 2017.

As a non-lobbying organization, MEEA did not take a position on the legislation, but did provide Governor Rauner’s office with information on the performance of energy efficiency in Illinois since the establishment of the portfolio standard and the impact in other states of self-direct programs and opt-out policies. As this legislation moves towards implementation, MEEA staff will continue to educate and reach out to policymakers.

Don’t have time to read all 500 pages of the bill? Here’s an overview of the energy efficiency provisions which were included and removed from the final version.

 

Energy Efficiency Targets

Beginning in 2018, ComEd will achieve 7.8% cumulative persisting annual electric savings. This number ramps up every year through 2030, at the end of which ComEd will achieve 21.5% cumulative persisting annual savings.

In 2018, Ameren Illinois will achieve 7.4% cumulative persisting annual electric savings. Ameren Illinois’ target ramps up to 16% cumulative persisting annual savings by the end of 2030.

The Illinois Commerce Commission does have discretion to adjust these goals.

Planning Cycles

Current programs will be extended six months through the end of 2017 so that program implementation efforts will align with the calendar year going forward.

Beginning January 1, 2018, utilities will be required to file and implement four-year demand-side management plans with the Illinois Commerce Commission. This is a change from the current 3-year cycle.

Rate Impact Cap

One of the primary concerns that Governor Rauner and others had with the legislation was its cost to consumers, specifically rate increases. While energy efficiency may arguably be the most accessible energy option for giving customers control over – and the ability to lower – their energy bills, rate impact caps were placed on the energy efficiency portion of the legislation. Moreover, the entire legislation has a rate impact cap.

The existing rate impact cap is at 2%. The new legislation raises the cap according to the following schedule:

  • 3.5% for the each of the 4 years beginning January 1, 2018
  • 3.75% for each of the 4 years beginning January 1, 2022
  • 4% for each of the 5 years beginning January 1, 2026

If the actual or projected average monthly increase for residential customers for the cost of the entire bill is projected to or actually exceeds $.25 in ComEd’s territory and $.35 in Ameren’s territory, then the utility must make adjustments to the programs enabled by this legislation. If the cap exceeds or is projected to exceed this limit for two years in a row, the utility may file to terminate some of the programs. Utilities can still recover costs on investments made prior to program termination. Programs that can be altered include the energy efficiency and the zero emission credit programs.

For Ameren Illinois’ and ComEd’s commercial and industrial (C&I) customers, if the actual or projected average annual increase for C&I retail customers exceeds 1.3% of $.089 per kilowatt-hour, the utility must make changes to or terminate programs. This cap covers the combined impact of the renewable energy, energy efficiency and zero emission credit programs detailed in the legislation.

Performance Incentives

This legislation includes both performance incentives and penalties to encourage electric utilities to meet their energy savings goals. Incentives and penalties are applied to the utility’s return on equity. Penalties and incentives are tailored for ComEd and Ameren Illinois, and for both utilities, the threshold for earning a penalty or incentive varies over time.

Large Energy User Exemptions

Customers that have a peak demand of or over 10 MW for 30 minutes in ComEd’s territory and 15 minutes in Ameren’s territory are exempt from participating in utility demand-side management programs beginning on June 1, 2017. MEEA does not expect that customers will be allowed to aggregate their loads.

Public Sector and Low-Income Energy Efficiency

Beginning in 2018, electric and natural gas utilities will administer public sector and low-income energy efficiency offerings that are currently administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Once the utilities take over these programs, Ameren Illinois and ComEd must use 7% and 10%, respectively, of their annual funds for public sector energy efficiency programs.

ComEd is required to allocate at least $25 million annually to low-income energy efficiency programs administered by a third party. Ameren Illinois must dedicate a minimum of $8.35 million for third party administered programs serving low-income customers. Taken together, the allocation of funds for low-income programs represents a doubling of current levels of investment. Electric utilities are also required to convene low-income advisory committees to inform the delivery and design of these programs.

Odds and Ends

The Illinois Commerce Commission will be overseeing an energy efficiency installer certification. This certification will be required of all those working with utility rebate and incentive programs.

Electric utilities can pay for natural gas efficiency measures and count natural gas savings to meet up to 10% of their electric savings targets annually.

Electric utilities may count their investments in voltage optimization towards their energy savings targets, but the spending on voltage optimization does not count towards the rate impact cap calculation.

Up to 3% of an electric utility’s annual budget may be used for program evaluation.

What Got Nixed

A version of the compromise legislation introduced before Thanksgiving included provisions to implement demand charges in both ComEd and Ameren Illinois’ territory. This bill also included subsidies for in-state coal plants and five pilot microgrid projects within ComEd’s territory. Each of these elements was eliminated in the final version.

 

New DOE Jobs Report Shows Promising Outlook for Energy Efficiency

U.S. Energy and Employment Report

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.

Future Growth

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.

MEEA Wins Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award

BOC_logo_yellow

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.

Ohio Adopts New Commercial Energy Code

Credit: Fensterbme / Flickr

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.

Additional Benefits

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.

 Page 2 of 37 « 1  2  3  4  5 » ...  Last »