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Synergy is the Name of the Game with LEED

1. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects

Synergy. That is the main theme of the LEED rating system and is also going to be the premise of this blog post. I apologize ahead of time for anyone who is not up on LEED, but I am going to assume that the majority of readers are at least somewhat familiar with the system. If not, please check out the USGBC website.  This is not going to be a typical overview of the LEED system, but more of an educational awareness commentary focusing specifically on energy issues within LEED. 

The rating system places an importance on technologies, strategies and design approaches that positively affect the building as a whole, not just individually. One or more credits in a section are related to others in completely different sections. There has been a lot of talk with how LEED certified buildings perform, and quite frankly the verdict is still out. Speaking of verdict, check out this article explaining the recent lawsuit brought against the USGBC. Read the rest of this entry »

Energy Star Conference Leaves No Attendee Wanting

This year’s ENERGY STAR Products Partners Meeting in Denver combined appliances and lighting under an omnibus agenda, leaving no attendee wanting of energy efficiency information and networking opportunities.  The first two days of the conference focused exclusively on lighting, where I was asked to represent the Midwest on a session discussing the environment for energy efficient lighting from a number of regional perspectives.  What we presenters found was that, in spite of geographical distances between us, we face many of the same issues.  Among the topics on the minds of lighting-minded folks across the country are:

• Consumer reactions to EISA’s lighting provisions, and what these requirements will portend for CFL incentives programs
• The depressed new housing market’s effect on the lighting industry
• Regulatory environments where misperceptions surrounding lighting efficiency persist
• The mark that LED technology will leave on lighting efficiency efforts

There was much to be excited about in the area of lighting research and development.  A few high-performing CFLs were discussed which may help to bury the few remaining complaints surrounding CFL performance, and the next generation of halogen lamps presented were inspiring.  Previously seen as a ‘barely there’ EISA-compliant technology, manufacturers were seen to be putting a new twist on an old technology.  Halogen lamps reaching CFL-level efficacy were projected to be just a few years from store shelves, and theoretical limits of around 100 lumens per watt softened my skepticism of pairing the words ‘halogen’ and ‘energy efficient.’  No one can accuse the lighting industry of resting on its laurels these days.

Read the rest of this entry »

ACEEE Scorecard Shows Mixed Results for Midwest

The ACEEE 2010 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released today, shows big gains in energy efficiency throughout the country but also shows some areas that still need a lot of improvement.  In MEEA’s region, the results show some big winners (Minnesota in the Top 10, and Iowa and Wisconsin in the Top 15) but also some of the lowest scores (including Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and North Dakota in the Bottom 10).

The Scorecard tries to account not just for utility energy efficiency policies, but also for transportation, building energy codes, combined heat and power, state government initiatives, and appliance standards.  The states that come out the highest are often engaged in all of these areas, whereas states further down on the list might be excelling in one area while having room for improvement in others.  Read the rest of this entry »

Thought Leadership Roundtables

Minnesota Thought Leadership at Target Field With our Wisconsin Thought Leadership Roundtable behind us, we take stock of the program and how it continues to provide value to those associated with MEEA.

MEEA looks at these Roundtables as a way for us to travel the Midwest and get  face-time with our members, and to afford us the opportunity to stay in touch with state energy efficiency efforts in the region.  Support from the Energy Foundation has been crucial in allowing MEEA to hold these free events.

Our next Roundtable will be  held in Ann Arbor, Michigan on October 18, 2010. Find out more about the Thought Leadership event series or Register Now for the Michigan event.

BOC Grows in Michigan

BOC Midwest LogoMEEA will be hosting another Building Operator Certification program in Michigan this week which expects to have over 30 attendees. Michigan is the newest addition to the list of states in the Midwest where BOC courses are being offered. We have had good growth in the state for such a short period of time.

Program associate Caitlin Henning will be in Detroit today to help kick the class off. We also have staff in Iowa this week working some classes that have had solid turnout themselves. To date we have had over 150 graduates from BOC in Iowa.

Since MEEA has worked to implement BOC courses in the Midwest the program has produced roughly 2000 graduates from the program. Learn More about MEEA’s BOC Program.

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