Mayors Leading Way in Energy Efficiency

This week the mayors from across the U.S. released results of a new survey pointing to successes of cities using Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to improve energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 9.18.21 AMUnveiled by Gresham, Oregon Mayor Shane Bemis, Bridgeport, Connecticut Mayor Bill Finch, and Carmel, Indiana Mayor Jim Brainard, the survey findings derived from the responses of 204 mayors demonstrate how cities invested their EECBG program funds to help further local initiatives to reduce energy use, deploy new energy technologies and curb harmful energy emissions, among other local outcomes. All three mayors are members of the Mayors’ Climate Protection Center.

“These findings underscore that mayors have been leading by example on energy efficiency and conservation for years,” said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis, Chair of the Conference’s Energy Committee. “Mayors all across the country have been actively working to advance energy-saving measures in communities large and small, and what we see in this report translates into real budgetary savings, local job creation and small business growth.”

Some of survey’s key findings include:

  • The three top uses of EECBG dollars by cities were energy retrofits of government buildings (83 percent of cities), LED/other energy-efficient street lighting (42 percent), and solar energy systems on public buildings and facilities (31 percent).
  • Most mayors directed a majority of their EECBG funds to investments in municipal projects and operations. Nearly seven in eight mayors (87%) expended a majority of their EECBG grant dollars on municipal projects and operations.
  • LED/other energy-efficient lighting ranked first among energy technologies that have already been deployed by cities, with local and federal resources, most notably EECBG grants, providing the primary sources of funding for these deployments.
  • The availability of EECBG funds to cities has influenced city budgetary priorities, and also prompted new partnerships with a range of private sector and governmental entities.
  • A majority of mayors cited energy service contracting as the innovative energy financing strategy that EECBG funds helped most often.

Of the report’s findings, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, who Co-Chairs the Conference’s Energy Independence and Climate Protection Task Force noted, “Even as mayors were confronting budget constraints due to the recession and federal spending cuts, this report shows that cities leveraged EECBG dollars by making investments that are still paying dividends today. In my city, we are reducing electricity usage and making solid waste and sewage sludge operations more efficient. So, clearly, this modest federal commitment has bolstered mayors’ efforts to advance energy efficiency, conservation and technology deployment initiatives in their cities.” Continue reading

Green Charge Networks Help Save Green

Green Charge Networks can help retail chain customers and city municipalities save some green. The company, which specializes in intelligent energy storage, has signed agreements for 1 MW of energy storage with several organizations that are looking to reduce their electricity bills via smart grid technologies.

GreenStationFor example, it is common in California and New York City for business to pay 40 percent or more for their monthly electric bill in “demand charges” based on their electricity use during peak times. To reduce these costs, Green Charge Network uses its GreenStation technology. It works by collecting utility and weather data to predict peak use and store energy accordingly.

7-Eleven stores have been using GCN’s GreenStation successfully for the past two years. One 7-Eleven GreenStation in New York endured Hurricane Sandy and then went on to save the business 56 percent on their electricity bills during the 2013 summer heat wave. Green Charge Networks is adding to its list of customers including 7-Eleven, Walgreens, office buildings, community colleges, and municipalities, adding up to 1 MW as listed on the DOE’s Global Energy Storage Database.

“It is a big accomplishment to our company to help businesses and local governments use power more efficiently,” said Vic Shao, CEO at Green Charge Networks. “1 MW marks a very significant milestone for Green Charge Networks as we continue to diversify our customer base and increase our penetration in the rapidly growing intelligent energy storage market. Energy efficiency initiatives can only take us so far. The era of power efficiency using advanced software is the next frontier in energy savings.”

It is no secret that America’s aging grid needs to be reborn. Yet with the billions, if not trillions, of dollars it would take to accomplish this and ongoing fights on who should pay for the updates (utilities/consumers or state and federal governments) smart grid technologies can help immediately reduce electricity demand on the overstressed grid.

Experts also say that they are also a good tool in both climate change adaptation and mitigation. Green Charge Networks points out that GreenStation is designed to withstand storms as fierce as Hurricane Sandy or temperatures as extreme as the recent polar vortex. In addition, Green Charge Networks says if smart grid technologies like GreenStation were implemented nationally they could save the energy equivalent of 4,000 coal plants per year.

Senator Max Baucus Unveils Tax Reform Proposal

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) have launched a process for the committee to begin developing a proposal to reform America’s tax code. Over the next several months, the committee will convene weekly to discuss a series of topics and collect feedback from members on a wide range of options for taking on tax reform. The revised incentives are designed to be more technology neutral.

Senator Max Baucus“It is time to bring our energy tax policy into the 21st century,” Baucus said. “Our current set of energy tax incentives is overly complex and picks winners and losers with no clear policy rationale. We need a system of energy incentives that is more predictable, rational, and technology-neutral to increase our energy security and ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.”

Ethanol Today reports that information released by Baucus finds that current law contains 42 different energy tax incentives, including more than a dozen for fossil fuels. An additional 10 tax incentives exist for renewable fuels and alternative vehicles, along with six credits for clean electricity. Of these, 25 are set to expire every year to two years and if they are extended, could cost taxpayers nearly $150 billion over the next decade.

The proposal aims to neutralize clean energy technologies, i.e. not play “favorites” as the federal government is often accused of doing. Based on several criteria, tax incentives for all forms of energy would be based on a “cleanliness credit” or determined by a ratio of the greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) of a facility divided by its electricity production.

The incentive would be available as either a production tax credit of up to 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour or an investment tax credit of up to 20 percent. The production tax credit would be indexed for inflation and could be claimed on a single facility for a maximum of 10 years.

orrin-hatchA second incentive outline by the proposal is the clean transportation incentive and would be available for fuels that are 25 percent cleaner than conventional gasoline. The percent of “cleanliness” would be determined by the production process’s lifecycle emissions basis as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The max credit would be $1 per gallon.

Senator Baucus has invited members of Congress, key stakeholders and the general public to provide feedback on the draft. Comments must be submitted by January 31, 2014 (the same time comments for the EPA’s proposed renewable fuel volumes for the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Click here for information about the proposal as well as information on how to submit comments.

Global Effort to Bring Clean Energy Amps Up

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim have announced a concerted effort by governments, international agencies, civil society and private sector to mobilize financing to deliver universal access to modern energy services such as lighting, clean cooking solutions, and power for productive uses in 567790-uncity-1bdeveloping countries, as well as scaled-up energy efficiency, especially in the world’s highest-energy consuming countries.

After a meeting of the Advisory Board of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4ALL), which they co-chaired, they welcomed the growing momentum. “Energy powers growth and opportunity,” said the UN Secretary-General. “We count on all actors to lead by example in scaling up and accelerating action that will provide clean, efficient and sustainable energy for all. Today’s many announcements are a testament to the resolve of partners to chart a path forward.” Continue reading

Alliant Energy Cuts Energy Efficiency Goals

The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) today approved Alliant Energy’s plan to scale back energy efficiency goals at the same time the utility is pursuing a new $920 million plant in Marshalltown, Iowa. According to the Environmental Law & Policy Center Alliant is punting on a chance to lead on energy efficiency and ensuring the utility’s Iowa customers will pay higher electric bills for years.

Alliant-Energy“At a time when Iowa is defining its energy future, the IUB could have advanced Iowa’s leadership on energy efficiency, but instead it put that leadership in doubt,” said Josh Mandelbaum, staff attorney for the Environmental Law & Policy Center, part of a coalition of environmental groups who intervened in the proceedings. “Energy efficiency creates jobs and is the most cost effective way to meet demand for power, but instead we are taking the expensive path of new power plants.”

The new goals represent less than half the efficiency progress possible through cost-effective means even under the utility’s own analysis, commissioned in 2012. The decision comes at a time when many states in the Midwest and nationally are increasing the amount of energy saved, not reducing those savings.

“It is disappointing that the Board approved savings goals for Alliant Energy that leaves significant amounts of cost-effective energy efficiency on the table,” said Nathaniel Baer, energy program director at the Iowa Environmental Council. Energy efficiency is most valuable when new generation is needed, and a precursor to approving plans for a newer power plant should be to ensure that we are implementing all of the available cost-effective energy efficiency.”

Under the new goals, Alliant will attempt to save 1.1 percent in retail sales each year over the next five years. This is a sharp reduction from both the utility’s current goal of 1.3 percent or its recent performance of 1.4 percent. Continue reading

Energy Access Practioner Network Directory Launched

The United Nations Foundation has launched an Energy Access Practitioner Network’s Directory, “Investing for Energy Access: 2013 Directory of Investment and Funding Opportunities.” This new directory provides an overview of opportunities to invest in more than 140 companies and organizations delivering a range of decentralized energy solutions in developing countries, as a contribution to the Sustainable Energy for All objective of ensuring universal energy access by 2030.

Energy practitioners networkThe directory reflects the results of a 2013 survey of Practitioner Network members in an array of developing countries, highlighting their individual and aggregated investment and financing needs, including early-stage equity and project debt as well as concessional financing – totaling some US $250 million – and a range of technical assistance requirements.

The Investment Directory will be used to connect investors and donors with members of the Energy Access Practitioner Network. Respondents were drawn from a wide range of start-up and established commercial companies, social enterprises, and non-profit organizations focusing on delivering micro-grid and off-grid renewable energy solutions, as well as manufacturing and other services. Collectively they have reached more than 16.5 million people at household and community levels with sustainable energy solutions in 2012.

Since the launch of the Energy Access Practitioner Network in 2011, the Network has grown rapidly and now includes more than 1,500 business and organizational members from 191 countries, delivering a wide range of technologies and services. Members have long highlighted the ongoing need for financing that is tailored more closely to the needs of the sector, and this directory represents a first opportunity to catalog these diverse financing requirements.

Enter The Haunted Energy House

gI_86333_haunted-house_200The United States celebrated Halloween yesterday and to pay homage to the holiday, ClearlyEnergy created an energy haunted house that unmasks the energy gremlins lurking in your home. Here are some fun tips to banish the gremlins and ghosts from your home (well, at least until Halloween next year).

  • Afraid of the dark? Don’t be: 11 percent of the typical household energy budget goes to lighting, so just turning off the lights can reap ghostly good savings. Avoiding the ghoulish gloom, save by using more compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) instead of incandescent bulbs, or better yet: go straight to LEDs.
  • Familiar with energy saving angels battling comfort demons on the thermostat front? Programmable thermostats can cut the tug-of-war: make the savings when nobody’s home or when everybody’s asleep.
  • Letting old showers & toilets RIP (aka rest in peace) can save big bucks. Low-flow shower heads use less than half the gallons per minute of older regular models, and cut the electricity and gas use needed to heat all that water. Newer toilet models flush a whole lot less water down the …toilet!
  • Think being a tech geek unleashes the electricity demons? Think again! While home electronics are the fastest-GROWING part of the household electric bill, over two-thirds still goes to the big stuff: lights, heat & a/c. Turning off a mobile phone all night for a year (rather than leaving it plugged in) saves 50c, while washing clothes cold rather than hot for a year saves $80. So to save green and be green, not point fiddling with a tablet’s power settings (but beware of the XBox, TV and computer gremlins).
  • How does doing laundry make us energy devils? Washers which are not EnergyStar maniacally throw money away. A typical non-EnergyStar top-loading washer uses over ten thousand gallons of water per year (that’s over $100 in water costs) and another $100 to heat all that water and run the machine. An EnergyStar model (even the top loading kind, rather than the even more efficient front load variety) uses half as much water and a third less power.
  • Think the emissions from the witch’s cauldron look pretty icky? Any ancient fridge is also causing some serious human earth farts (greenhouse gas emissions). Refrigerators made in the 80s use about four times as much electricity and cost $200 more each year than modern ones, and even 90s models suck down twice as much power as those made in the past couple years.

Click here to experience the full interactive tour of the energy-haunted house.

Energy-Efficiency Standards Could Save Consumers $$

According to a new report, Energy Efficiency Performance Standards: The Cornerstone of Consumer-Friendly Energy Policy, consumers could save nearly $1,000 on annual household energy costs if energy-efficient performance standards were more prevalent and understood.

The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) report also finds a broad consensus among a variety of independent policy evaluations that energy-efficiency performance standards, iStock_000019192538XSmallwhen effectively implemented, are the ideal tool for delivering these savings. Currently, proceedings affecting almost two-dozen new energy performance standards are pending at the federal and state levels for a broad spectrum of products.

“Some analysts doubt the money-saving potential of energy efficiency standards because they assume that energy markets work perfectly and automatically push consumers toward money-saving, energy-efficient options. But that’s not how the real world works,” said Mark Cooper, Director of Research for CFA.

“Hundreds of empirical case studies we reviewed show that barriers and imperfections in energy markets create an efficiency gap—the difference between our actual level of energy consumption and the optimal level of energy consumption,” Cooper continued. “The studies show the barriers affect both the supply-side and the demand-side of markets for residential and commercial/industrial products. More importantly, evaluations of policies over the past decade indicate that those barriers can be brought down by well-designed energy-efficiency performance standards, like fuel economy standards for cars and trucks or standards for air conditioners.”

The report bases its conclusions on an extensive review of studies done by academics, think tanks, private-sector firms, and government agencies, drawing on literature by experts in several fields, including economics, energy efficiency, and technology innovation and diffusion. In addition to examining recent studies that directly address the efficiency gap and performance standards directly, the CFA study draws insights from empirical studies of two closely related fields, the innovation diffusion literature and climate change. The report will provide the analytic basis for evaluating specific standards that are currently going through regulatory review including household appliances, light duty vehicles, and heavy duty trucks.

“Critics of performance standards, whether they are efficiency gap deniers or cost-benefit naysayers, have either ignored the mountain of evidence that shows the benefits of standards far outweigh the costs, or use flawed data and misspecified models to reach unsupported and misleading conclusions. Our economic analysis confirms the pocketbook savings and our survey results show that consumers understand the benefits of these programs,” Cooper said. “Well-crafted, long-term, energy efficiency performance standards give consumers and businesses extra cash through significant energy savings.”

WW2 Air Raid Bunker Converted to “Energy Bunker”

A former air raid bunker has been transformed into an “Energy Bunker” in the district of Wilhelmsburg, located in Hamburg, Germany. The project was part of the 2013 International Building Exhibition Hamburg (IBA) that kicked off this week. The massive building had been derelict for several decades but is now the host of a regenerative power plant supplying the surrounding community with green energy.

Former WW2 Air Raid Bunker Converted Into an "Energy Bunker" in Hamburg, GermanyThe project is part of the “Renewable Wilhelmsburg” climate protection scheme, which aims to provide the 50,000 Wilhelmsburg residents with CO2-neutral electricity by 2025 and with climate-neutral heating by 2050.

The surrounding neighborhood’s household energy is generated by a combination of energy sources: besides solar energy and biogas, the bunker also uses wood chips and waste heat from a nearby industrial plant, supplying heating energy to local households. What might be the project’s most innovative feature is its large-scale buffer storage facility with its 2 million litre capacity that integrates different eco-friendly heat and power units. The Energy Bunker also feeds the renewable power generated by its solar panels into Hamburg’s electricity grid, thereby supplying 3,000 households with heat and 1,000 households with electricity.

Another landmark project of the climate protection scheme is the “Energy Hill”, a former toxic landfill site that has been transformed into a renewable energy hill that, using solar energy and wind power, supplies 4,000 households with electricity.

Other pioneering projects include the “Energy Network Wilhelmsburg Central,” which integrates energy-generating facilities from various buildings into one large “virtual” power plant, and the BIQ House, which is setting new standards as the world’s first building to have a bioreactor façade. Microalgae are cultivated in the glass elements that make up the BIQ House’s “bio skin”. The house is part of the IBA “Building Exhibition within the Building Exhibition” project, which gives us a glimpse into urban life in the future.

Team Austria Wins 2013 Solar Decathlon

Team Austria has won the 2013 Solar Decathlon by building the most energy-efficient solar-powered house at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. Team Austria was made up of students from the Vienna University of Technology, who won top honors in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) event by designing, building and operating the Team Austria 2013 Solar Decathlonmost cost-effective, energy efficient and attractive solar-powered house. In second place was the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and in third place was the Czech Republic comprised of students from the Czech Technical University.

The Solar Decathlon is inspiring and training the next generation of clean energy architects, engineers and entrepreneurs, and showing that affordable, clean energy technologies can help homeowners save money and energy today,” said DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Congratulations to the Solar Decathlon 2013 competitors – your hard work and creativity is helping to build a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.”

According to the DOE, the winning teams’ final scores were the closest they have ever been since the beginning of the Solar Decathlon competition. Team Austria earned 951.9 points out of a possible 1,000 to win the competition, followed by University of Nevada Las Vegas with 947.6 points, and Czech Republic with 945.1 points. Contributing to their overall win, Team Austria performed well in several of the individual contests, finishing first in the Communications Contest, second in Market Appeal, and tied for first in the Hot Water Contest. Every house in the 2013 competition produced more energy than it consumed.

Over the 10 days of competition, 19 collegiate teams from across the country and around the world competed in 10 contests that gauged each house’s performance, livability and affordability. The teams performed everyday tasks, including cooking, laundry, and washing dishes, that tested the energy efficiency of their houses. The winner of the overall competition best blended affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

The results of the Engineering Contest also were announced with Team Ontario, comprised of students from Queen’s University, Carleton University and Algonquin College, taking first place by scoring 95 out of 100 possible points. Each competing house was evaluated by a group of prominent engineers who determined which house best exemplifies excellence in energy-efficiency savings, creative design innovations, and the functionality and reliability of each system.

Engineering Juror Kent Peterson, chief operating officer and chief engineer at P2S Engineering, said, “Team Ontario demonstrated a complete understanding of building science, a very good building envelope for the target climate, and excellent integration of passive and active strategies.”

Czech Republic claimed second place in the Engineering Contest with 94 points, and University of Nevada Las Vegas, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Team Austria all tied for third place with 93 points each.

2013 Solar Decathlon Underway in Cali

2013 solar Decathalon2The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar Decathlon 2013 has kicked off in Irvine, California and on display are solar houses designed and built by more than 1,000 college students from around the country. The best houses are one that are affordable, energy efficient, attractive and easy to live in.

“These inspiring collegiate teams show our onsite visitors and online Solar Decathlon audience around the world how efficient building design and clean energy products available today can help families and businesses save money by saving energy,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “The event provides student competitors with unique real-world training to become the clean energy workforce of the future and helps ensure that our nation remains competitive in the global race for clean energy.”

In addition to educating the public about money-saving and energy-saving opportunities currently available the competition engages students from across the nation and around the world to develop the skills and knowledge to become the next generation of architects, engineers and clean energy entrepreneurs. DOE says over the last decade, the competition has prepared approximately 17,000 students to become future innovators in clean energy technologies and efficient building designs that cut carbon pollution and help slow the effects of climate change to leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. The Solar Decathlon also supports the Obama Administration’s goal of transitioning to a clean energy economy while saving families and businesses money.

Student teams in the 2013 competition span two continents, including teams from the United States, Canada, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Between October 3-13, 2013, the teams will compete in 10 contests that gauge each house’s performance, livability, and affordability, rewarding teams that build houses with estimated costs at or below $250,000. The teams will have to perform a variety of everyday tasks, including cooking, laundry, and washing dishes, to test the livability and energy use of their houses. The winner of the overall competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. Continue reading

Flex-Plant Opens In California

NRG Energy and Siemens Energy recently dedicated the country’s second Flex-Plant, the El Segundo Energy Center located near Los Angeles, California. The first Flex-Plant is located in Lodi and went into commercial operation last year. Siemens Energy supplied and commissioned the two Flex-Plant 10 El Segundo Energy Centercombined cycle power islands. In total they have an installed capacity of 550 megawatts (MW) – enough to supply efficient and flexible electricity to approximately 450,000 Californian homes.

El Segundo Energy Center is considered an environmentally conscious, combined cycle solution for peaking and intermediate load. The two units can achieve 300 MW in less than 10 minutes, allowing the plant to back up the electrical grid, including grids that are connected to wind and solar power. The Flex-Plant is a solution for supplementing energy should renewable power generation suddenly fall short.

During the dedication ceremony, Martin Tartibi, executive vice president at Siemens Energy Solutions Americas, noted, “NRG and the state of California today moved one step closer to realizing a greener future in California. Siemens Flex-Plant 10 technology is on the leading edge of where power generation in America is going in the future – fast, flexible and environmentally friendly.”

With the SGT6-5000F gas turbine integrated with a single-pressure, non-reheat bottoming cycle, and an air-El Segundo Martin Tartibicooled heat exchanger for steam condensing, this Flex-Plant 10 provides a net efficiency of nearly 49 percent – much higher in efficiency than conventional simple cycle solutions. As compared to conventional combined cycle technology, this Flex Plant is more environmentally friendly with a reduction of 95 percent of CO2 start up emissions and low water consumption.

This plant also demonstrates the Siemens Clean-Ramp Technology, which reduces transient emissions, while the gas turbines ramp up and down to meet electricity demands.

“Flex-Plants with fast start technology are an environmentally friendly solution to seamlessly integrating renewable power into the grid. As a result of this project, the El Segundo Energy Center will be able to provide Californians with 550 MW of clean energy for decades to come,” added John Chillemi, President of NRG Energy’s West Region. “With Siemens as our partner, we were able to meet the challenges of permitting, constructing and operating in a highly populous and visible beach community in the South Bay Southern California area.”

Report Ranks Energy Saving Efforts of Cities

Boston, Massachusetts took top honors for its energy saving efforts according to the 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, a report released by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). In addition to city rankings, the report also includes strategies and recommendations for all cities to lower energy use.

“We couldn’t be more proud of our progress in creating a greener, healthier city,” said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “Boston is a world-class city, and we know that our economic prosperity is tied to its ‘greenovation,’ which has helped create jobs and city-scorecardimprove our bottom line. Reducing our energy use is just one smart step in improving the quality of life in Boston and around the world.”

In addition to Boston in the top spot, other top-scoring cities include Portland, Oregon; New York City, New York; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and Austin, Texas. The next tier of top-scoring cities (Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Chicago, Philadelphia and Denver) have also developed efficiency initiatives and are poised to rise in the rankings in future years.

“Our report shows that cities are laboratories of innovation for energy-saving solutions that directly benefit people where they live, work and play,” said Eric Mackres, ACEEE’s local policy manager and the report’s lead author. “Local governments have great influence over energy use in their communities and many have initiatives that result in significant energy and cost savings.”

ACEEE said the report is the first to rank cities exclusively on energy efficiency efforts. Cities are evaluated on what actions they’re taking to reduce energy use in five key areas: buildings; transportation; energy and water utility efforts; local government operations; and community-wide initiatives.

Key findings include:

  • Local leadership and commitment to energy efficiency is strong.
  • Boston achieved the highest score overall, but other cities led in some policy areas. Portland scored highest in transportation and local government operations. Seattle ranked first in building policies. San Francisco tied with Boston for first in utility public benefits programs, and Austin is the city furthest ahead of its state on energy efficiency policy.
  • All cities, even the highest scorers, have significant room for improvement. Boston, the highest scoring city, missed nearly a quarter of possible points.

Key recommendations for cities includes: lead by example by improving efficiency in local government operations and facilities; adopt energy savings goals; actively manage energy use, track and communicate progress toward goals, and enable access to data on energy usage; adopt policies to improve efficiency in new and existing buildings; partner with energy and water utilities to promote and expand energy efficiency programs; and adopt policies and programs to lower transportation energy use through location-efficient development and improved access to additional travel mode choices.

Steven Nadel, ACEEE’s executive director, concluded, “The good news is that cities across the country are saving money, creating local jobs, and protecting the environment by implementing energy efficiency measures.”

India’s First Green Building Features Solar

Swadeshi Civil Infrastructure has completed the installation of a 930-kilowatt (kW) SunPower solar system on the rooftop of the Indira Paryavaran Bhavan building in New Delhi, India. The solar panels were selected in part due to the relatively little amount of rooftop space for the solar panels.

The building is India’s first net zero building. Its design emphasizes conservation featuring trees to reduce adverse environmental impact, adequate natural light and shaded landscaped areas to reduce ambient temperature. The building is targeted to achieve SunPower E Series Solar Panels on rooftop in IndiaPlatinum from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system, known as LEED INDIA. It also is expected to receive a five star Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment from the rating system developed by the Energy and Resource Institute and supported by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the nodal ministry of Indian government. Managed by the Central Public Works Department of India, the project is being spearheaded by the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests.

“For this urban project, with very limited rooftop space and high energy generation requirement, the selection of high efficiency solar panels was the most critical aspect,” said Ram Avatar, CMD of the New Delhi-based Swadeshi Civil Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. “Thanks to SunPower solar panels, we can now hope to achieve the stringent goal of net zero energy for this building.”

The high-efficiency SunPower E-Series solar panels were installed on the building with a five-degree tilt to fully optimize its expected energy output of 1.5 million kWh annually.

“SunPower’s world leading solar panel technology will help the Indira Paryavaran Bhavan project in New Delhi generate enough electricity from its rooftop solar system to cover 100 percent of its energy demand,” addded Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions. “We’re proud to be one of the Indian government’s sustainability partners as it maximizes clean solar power generation and cost savings at this innovative net zero building.”

Legislation Would Save $65B In Energy Costs

According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), proposed bipartisan energy efficiency legislation has the potential to save the nation billions while creating domestic jobs and reducing energy waste. The Energy Savings & Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013 (S. 1392) was introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) and is pending floor consideration when the Senate returns from recess.

“Energy efficiency is an excellent, bipartisan and affordable way to immediately grow our economy and create the kind of jobs the 21st century economy demands,” said Senator Shaheen. “The bipartisan energy efficiency plan Senator Portman and I have introduced will help address our country’s energy needs in a way that boosts our economy and also saves taxpayers dollars.”

The ACEEE analysis looked at the impacts of several provisions in the bill as well as a group of related amendments under consideration. These provisions cut government and industrial energy waste and help homeowners finance energy efficiency improvements, among other energy-saving measures. ACEEE found that the proposals being considered could, in combination, save consumers and businesses over $65 billion on their energy bills by 2030.

ACEEE New Jobs EstimateThese savings also translate into a stronger economy says ACEEE. Consumers who save money on their energy bills can reinvest this money to buy goods and services where they live, stimulating their local economies. The energy efficiency measures proposed by the legislation would also help create new jobs. Altogether, these provisions would support an estimated 152,000 new jobs in 2025, increasing to 174,000 jobs by 2030.

In addition to providing economic benefits, the provisions would prevent unnecessary electric generation and natural gas consumption. Energy savings from these provisions would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 676 million metric tons by 2030.

“The Senate should act quickly to pass this important legislation,” said Steven Nadel, ACEEE executive director. “The provisions we analyzed have the power to save consumers money, stimulate the economy, and protect the environment.”