Monthly Archives: December 2017

DOE Plans Major Changes To Its Appliance Energy Conservation Program

On November 21, 2017 the US DOE issued a Request for Information (RFI) that provides notice DOE is considering wholesale changes to its energy conservation standards program. The current program for reducing energy consumption contains mandatory, minimum efficiency standards for appliances and other consumer, commercial, and industrial products that must be revisited every six years. The RFI suggests that the Trump Administration may replace this mechanism with a more market-oriented one. The RFI specifically solicits feedback on how trading schemes might be applied to energy conservation. The Federal Register notice was published on November 28 (see https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/11/28/2017-25663/energy-conservation-program-energy-conservation-standards-program-design) giving interested parties 90 days to comment (February 26, 2018).

The Energy Policy Conservation Act (EPCA) requires the DOE to set minimum energy conservation standards for over 60 consumer, commercial, and industrial products. Manufacturers and importers must test and certify that their covered products meet all applicable energy conservation standards prior to initial distribution and annually after that. EPCA also requires DOE to review each energy conservation standard at least every six years for potential revision. This contains an “anti-backsliding” provision, preventing the DOE from loosening energy conservation standards for any reason.

The Trump Administration has put on hold several new energy conservation standards promulgated late in the Obama Administration. DOE Secretary Perry has called this program “overly burdensome”.

The RFI solicits feedback and suggestions on how market-based approaches might be used to improve energy efficiency. The RFI uses as a model established market-oriented approaches in other areas, such as the automotive corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards, which permit automobile manufacturers to average the fuel efficiency of their automobiles across their entire fleet rather than have to comply with the individual fuel efficiency standard of each vehicle class. The RFI also cites the USEPA Acid Rain Program, a large regional cap-and-trade program, which succeeded in achieving significant reductions in power plant SO2 and NOx emissions by creating emission credits to be bought and sold to meet mandatory reduction goals. The RFI wishes to achieve energy use reductions at high efficiency and reduced cost.

The RFI is the DOE’s first significant attempt to modify the energy conservation standards program since it was enacted in 1987. Any changes to the rule can significantly impact energy and electricity usage and with that energy costs for all businesses and residents nationwide, greenhouse gas emissions and management of our electric grid, including the number and types of power plants nationwide. The public and manufacturers and importers of appliances have until February 26, 2018 to submit ideas and comments to the DOE for consideration in its redesign of the program.

CCES has the experts to help you plan and design your energy management program to maximize the direct financial benefits of minimizing energy use, including the most energy efficient equipment. Contact us today at karell@CCESworld.com or at 914-584-6720.

Another Financial Benefit of Energy Efficiency: Improved Space Utilization

This blog and newsletter have published many articles substantiating the many different ways a building owner, manager, or tenant will benefit financially from implementing smart proven energy efficiency strategies. Besides saving on one’s direct energy bill, there is improved asset value, making space more attractive to increase demand from tenants, reduced O&M, and higher productivity and retail sales. Now here is another one. Philips Lighting recently released a study estimating that businesses globally could reduce their office space per employee by as much as 50% and realize savings of up to $1.5 trillion just in reduced rental costs if office buildings were refurbished to the most efficient current standards. $220 billion of the savings is estimated for North America. Real estate costs are a major concern to any business; any opportunity to reduce the fixed cost of rental space can be very beneficial. See: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3017951/refurbish-offices-to-save-usd15tr-philips-lighting-tells-business

These estimations were based on the results of an actual move by a major Deloitte office into a space considered very advanced in terms of energy efficiency. Deloitte reduced their space utilization from 50.2 sq. ft. per full-time employee to 24.9, not only saving on the amount of space they needed to rent, but on their energy costs, too, as they had less space to condition, light, and service. Deloitte also attributed increases in worker productivity and wellbeing in the new space, in part, due to the energy efficiency improvements.

The new office space used by Deloitte uses LED lighting and smart technology allowing employees to adjust the lighting and temperature at their own workspaces via a smartphone app. The system also provides building managers with real-time data on both energy usage and office utilization to help maximize energy and operational efficiency, based on data collected by sensors embedded in the lighting.

CCES has the technical expertise to help your office or any other space become more energy efficient, whether your goal is, like Deloitte’s, to be high tech or whether your goal is more modest. We can help you incorporate the right technology for your budget and goals to attain the greatest financial benefit, whether it be controlling real estate costs, utility costs, or to boost productivity and asset value. Contact us today at karell@CCESworld.com or at 914-584-6720.