We opened the 10th edition of the Energy Efficiency Global Forum on a high-note Monday with over 400 attendees from over 30 countries. Following our Intensive Learning sessions, we convened for the EE Visionary Awards Luncheon. In the afternoon, we hosted thought-provoking Executive Dialogue panel sessions, the first-ever EE Global SpeedGeeking workshops, and capped off the day with a welcome reception. Read on for today’s highlights, and we hope to see you tomorrow at #EEGlobal!

EE Visionary Awards 

The Alliance had the honor of presenting the EE Visionary Award to His Majesty, King Mohammed VI of Morocco for his leadership and Morocco’s example-setting energy efficiency policies. His Majesty has played a significant role in transforming Morocco’s energy strategy to significantly improve the country’s standards and meet the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. A big step in this regard was the creation of the National Agency for Development of Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency (ADREREE), tasked with reaching renewable energy goals and fostering efficient consumption. 

The EE Visionary Award was accepted by Her Highness Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, on behalf of His Majesty. The award was given by Alliance Chairman and New York Power Authority CEO & President, Gil Quiniones.

Industry Announcements at Press Event

The Alliance to Save Energy hosted a media breakfast event to announce the release of a series of exciting industry news, including a new blueprint for achieving significant increases in building efficiency through a focus on building systems entitled: “Going Beyond Zero: A Systems Efficiency Blueprint for Building Energy Optimization and Resilience“.  

In partnership with The Climate Group, the Alliance also announced that two new companies – H&M, the multinational clothing retail company, and Cree, the U.S.-based LED lighting and technology company – are joining EP100, the global initiative of leading businesses pledging to double their energy productivity. 

Executive Dialogues: First Round 

The first round of Executive Dialogue Sessions on Monday covered extremely important and current topics, including plugload management, energy efficiency in the military, how technologies are disrupting conventional models, and energy efficiency as a tool to mobilize funds and improve access.

1A – The Plugload Potential: Are We Tapping the Potential of Miscellaneous Load Management?

Led by Sheila Hayter, Treasurer at ASHRAE, this session convened Warren Williams, Chief Marketing Officer & Director, Cyber Switching; David Nemtzow, Building Technologies Office Director of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy; Tom Lowery, President, Building Control Systems at Legrand North America and Kevin Kampschroer; Federal Director, Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings, US General Services Administration. They panel led a conversation on the rapidly growing source of end-use consumption within the residential and commercial sectors known as plug load and miscellaneous load. It is estimated that plug load accounts for 60% of energy use in high-efficiency buildings. Working with stakeholders to include plug load management in the early stages of construction and increasing the prevalence of retrofits are important steps in ensuring that plug loads are managed as an energy efficiency resource. The speakers identified the main barriers preventing the greater adoption of plug load management systems as: institutional incentive gap, lack of knowledge among stakeholders, inability to accurately measure plug load energy use and savings, and the absence of a national standard code mandating the use of plug-load management systems in commercial buildings.  

1B –  By Air, Land and Sea: How are the Armed Forces Advancing Energy Efficiency?

This panel, moderated by Dennis V. McGinn, Former Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Navy, featured Colonel Brian Magnuson of the U.S. Marine Corps., Kevin Vaughn of Schneider Electric; Jack Surash of the U.S. Army; and Lieutenant Commander Patrick Hudock of the U.S. Navy. The discussion revolved around the idea that energy efficiency can play a significant role in helping the military improve its effectiveness. When it comes to incorporating energy efficiency into the military there tend to be 3 main areas where this can be done: bases and installations, operations and expeditionary. There are many opportunities for the military to incorporate energy efficiency across these areas and, with the understanding that an energy efficient fighting force is a more effective one, the military has been a national leader towards the adoption of energy efficiency. In fact, the Army has invested $2.5 billion dollars in energy efficiency improvements, $1.1 billion of which came as a result of President Obama’s call on the federal government to invest $4 billion in energy efficiency projects through performance contracting. There is also the issue of cost – the Department of Defense consumes a significant amount of energy and that energy costs money. As a result, being more energy efficient allows the military to save taxpayer dollars and allocate it to other critical areas. One last factor that is of paramount importance to the military is resilience, which relates to the ability of a building, facility or fighting force to continue to maintain critical operations in the event of an energy outage and the ability to recover. Efforts to improve resiliency include onsite generation, energy storage and energy management, but these factors can all be maximized by making the building, installation or fighting force as energy efficient as possible. 

1C – No More Status Quo: Are Technologies Disrupting Conventional Models?

Lisa Jacobson, President of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BSCE) led a diverse panel in a discussion of how recent advances in technology (from LED lighting to home automation, the IoT, and others) are disrupting traditional business models and creating exciting new business models. What makes these technologies disruptive, and what do their new models look like? Tim Wolf of Itron reflected on how a home now can generate, store, and use its own energy independently of the grid—a proposition unheard of several years ago. Trane’s Brad Trevillian sees the future in connectivity, as connected buildings are able to satisfy both demand-side and utility needs while driving energy efficiency. Luis Suau of Cisco talked about the evolution of the companies smart load: powering buildings through low voltage power delivered by the Ethernet. Ron Voglewede from Whirlpool said that the number one myth about their products is that they’re “dumb load.” They are building smart, connected appliances. Their appliances can look at demand response signals. They can look at load within the house. They are even capable of learning human behavior. And for six months, their appliances have been Alexa-enabled, so that washing the dishes is now as easily said as done. Timm Kehler of Germany’s ERDGAS talked about how new technologies are enabling Germany to take its overgeneration of renewable power and, using Power-to-Gas technology, turning that into storable, renewably generated natural gas. Taken together, the panelists created a vision of technologies converging to deliver more services to customers with greater safety, comfort, and energy efficiency. 

1D – Closing the Gap: Is Energy Efficiency a Tool to Mobilize Funds and Improve Access?

As moderator Timothy Farrell of the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency stated, this panel featured speakers that represented “over 100 years of energy efficiency experience” with Said Mouline of the Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency, Russell Sturm of IFC; Ashok Sarkar of the World Bank; and Andrew McAllister of the California Energy Commission. The panel discussed how critical energy efficiency is to communities with limited energy access since every kilowatt-hour really counts when you only have a few. Speakers agreed that customized business models with a locally trained workforce are essential to achieving success in financing energy access in unique off-grid communities and modern energy networks. Sturm highlighted a pay-as-you-go business model with scaled down energy packages in which companies work as utilities by selling solar energy products rather than grid service. Mouline also emphasized the importance of subsidies in bringing down the cost of items like solar pumps as payback periods for farmers converting from diesel to solar powered pumps has decreased from 10 to 4 years just over the last decade.  Overall, the speakers agreed that the popularity of the decentralized model, especially in developing countries, is challenging; however, the moral imperative to ensure that low-income individuals have access to energy mandates flexible business models, community-based workforce training, and a deeper understanding of risk management when dealing with customers that have never borrowed a dime.

Executive Dialogues: Second Round 

The second round of Executive Dialogue Sessions covered engaging and diverse topics, including voluntary commitments, urban resiliency, and green bond evaluation.

2A – Voluntary Commitments: Are They Moving the Needle?

During this session, Carolyn Snyder of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Steven Schulz of 3M, Rudolph Nicolle of Buildings 2030, Siegfried Knecht of the Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy in Germany, and Michael Geissler of the Berlin Energy Agency elaborated on programs that have demonstrated clear and sizable results and the components and strategies that makes voluntary programs successful. Energy Star, for example, saved American homes and businesses $34 billion and 500 billion KWH in 2015 alone. Maria T. Vargas, of the U.S. Department of Energy, emphasized that in order to design a successful voluntary program, clearly identifying the problem it will solve is integral, as is knowing where it fits into the policy scheme and its ability to drive real action. The panel elaborated that a successful program will provide common, trusted definitions of success that ideally are government backed, performance based and independently certified. Once a program is established, the benefits are multifaceted. Voluntary programs may serve to keep corporations striving to do better to honor commitments. They also offer the ability to network, share problems and solutions, and develop a synergy with others working on the topic. Voluntary commitments drive excitement and recognition. However, while the speakers highlighted the success and benefits of voluntary commitment programs, it was noted that they are only one of the instruments available to bringing energy efficiency to scale.

2B – From Climate to Clean Energy Goals: Is Energy Efficiency Being Fully Utilized?

Samuel Thomas, Senior Energy Efficiency Analyst at the International Energy Agency moderated this panel, focused on the extent to which different countries’ strategies to fulfill their commitments under the Paris Agreement rely on energy efficiency. As Samuel noted, energy efficiency could account for fully 50% of the emissions reductions needed (beyond the original global INDC commitments) to keep the world below 2°C warming. The panelists—Said Mouline, CEO of the Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency; Patricia Fuller, Director General of Energy Efficiency Natural Resources Canada; Odon de Buen, Director-General of the National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (Conuee) in Mexico; and Rob Murray-Leach, Head of Policy at Australia’s Energy Efficiency Council—all pointed to significant energy efficiency improvements in their countries. Some of these improvements stem from strategies specifically aimed at meeting climate goals – e.g., the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change; others are a result of different drivers – e.g., Mexico’s efforts to increase the global competitiveness of its companies and protect family incomes; or a reaction to the five-fold increase in Australia’s gas prices.  All of the panelists, however, agreed that more needs to be done.  Mr. Mouline noted that the key need in Morocco is to develop innovative policies to finance 1000 small programs to give everyone – including poor households – access to efficient technologies. Important gaps in Australia are vehicle standards and industrial efficiency programs. All of the panelists agreed on the importance of coherent energy pricing policies to incentivize investment in energy efficiency.

2C – Smarter Cities:  What Trends Are Driving Urban Efficiency and Resilience?

This session, moderated by Clay Nesler, Vice President, Global Energy & Sustainability, convened speakers Jill Anderson, Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, New York Power Authority; Ted Atwood, Chief of the Sustainable Energy Office, City of Baltimore; Dr. Francis Slakey, Upjohn Lecturer on Physics & Public Policy, Georgetown University and Katie Clarke, U.S. State Department for a dialogue on how American homeowners, consumers, and businesses engage in energy efficiency at a the local level.  Cities and counties, utilities, community organizations, and institutions of higher education are involved in and can generate positive benefits more immediately for Americans and local employers than, say, Congress or the Department of Energy. In many areas of the country, cities and local or community-based organizations are providing leadership by improving the energy efficiency of their own building stock, generating new program-design best-practices, and delivering innovative opportunities for energy efficiency—often leveraging metering and cutting-edge data collection efforts—to residents and businesses.  The best returns on efficiency investment, according to the panelists, are the results of engagement up and down the ladder: coordination and support among international, national, state, and local stakeholders in the public and private sectors. 

2D – Green Bond Evaluation: Does it Boost Investor Confidence and Energy Efficiency Visibility?

Ken Locklin of Impax Asset Management moderated a panel on the impact of green bond evaluation on market expectations, projections and investor interest including input from Justine Leigh-Bell of the Climate Bonds Initiative; Mike Eckhart of the Citigroup; Ben Hulac of E&E News; Rod Richardson of the Grace Richardson Fund; and Henry Shilling of Moody’s Investors Service. Panelists agreed that interest in the Green Bond market is climbing with Moody’s forecasting issuances to cross $200 billion this year, though still a small sliver of the world debt market. The panel also discussed the importance of having a standardized model for evaluating Green Bonds to create clarity and consistency throughout the market for investors. Evaluation of Green Bonds can come in many different forms, from the Green Bond Principles that set best practices and are internationally recognized to the Alliance to Save Energy’s CarbonCount® scoring tool that specifically determines the carbon emission savings per $1000 of investment. While being labeled “green” doesn’t impact the initial price of the bond when issued, as Citigroup’s Mike Eckhart informs the group, a price uptick can be seen in the secondary market. In addition, the group heard about the new idea of creating clean tax cuts to reduce the cost of capital for projects financed by Green Bonds from Rod Richardson of the Grace Richardson Fund. Finally, when asked about the potential for Green Bonds to support the development of infrastructure, there was a resounding “Yes!” that the potential is huge and already being used around the world. In the U.S. municipalities are one of the largest issuers, taking the Green Bond market by storm. 


For the first time ever, EE Global offered SpeedGeeking, a fully immersive new approach to meeting people and learning about the ground-breaking technologies, innovative tools, strategic partnerships and “out of the box” ideas transforming our industry. We’ve chosen a roster of smart, outgoing “Geeks” who spent two minutes leading a discussion around the following question: “How do we capitalize on these emerging trends – smarter grids, improved systems efficiency, greater interconnectivity, the digital revolution – to advance the business of energy efficiency?” We want to a extend a big thank you to both our Geeks and our event attendees who joined this experience.

Thank you for joining us for the first day of #EEGlobal. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow!