EE Global 2013 got off to a record breaking start, as Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan officially welcomed a standing-room-only crowd to the Opening Plenary session of the sixth EE Global Forum. She noted that EE Global is centered around the goal of doubling U.S. energy productivity by 2030, which was spearheaded by an illustrious group of Commissioners who created Energy2030, a set of 52 policy recommendations that will aid the U.S. in reaching the goal of doubling energy productivity in 17 years through R&D, incentives, education and outreach, codes and standards, and government leadership.

She also took the opportunity to note that all of the US-based regional energy efficiency organizations are in attendance at EE Global, and that the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Alliance, would be spinning off to become its own organization by January 1, 2014.

Jeff Fettig, the Chairman and CEO of the Whirlpool Corporation, shared that over time, Whirlpool has set voluntary targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and they keep exceeding their goals. Jeff also announced that Whirlpool has launched its first full suite of appliances in the U.S. that are smart grid compatible which should result in fewer utility brownouts and the need to build fewer power stations. In concluding his remarks, Jeff noted that doubling energy productivity by 2030 is certainly a doable goal as far as the appliance manufacturing industry is concerned.

Jeff Drees, Executive Vice President, Professional Services Division, Schneider Electric, stated that Schneider Electric is working on energy efficiency, developing a smarter grid, and creating more sustainable cities. From Schneider Electric’s perspective, the four key pillars to promoting energy efficiency are 1) an educated workforce, particularly as it relates to math and science skills; 2) cutting edge technology; 3) collaboration between government, industry and the public; and 4) showing value to the customer.

John Mandyck, the Chief Sustainability Officer for United Technologies Climate, Controls and Security, announced that UTC just released a report that discusses the potential to unlock energy efficiency and we have every reason to be hopeful, especially when considering the accelerated pace of green building penetration, which has increased from 2 percent of the market to 44 percent of all new commercial construction in the U.S. According to a McGraw-Hill data survey, energy efficient green building activity is doubling every three years and while the rationale for energy efficiency building upgrades used to focus on how it was the right thing to do, it has now focused on a more mature rationale — lowering operating costs and client demand.

Helen Burt, Senior VP and Chief Customer Officer, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, shared that PG&E is an investor-owned utility that serves 15 million customers in central and northern California. Energy efficiency is the first fuel for PG&E customers. California uses approximately one-half of the amount of energy per capita compared to the rest of the U.S. They are working with OPower to gauge behavior change and are providing valuable data to California cities that are developing their climate action plans.

Ambassador Carlos Pascual, Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, U.S. Department of State, focused his remarks on how most energy demand is growing in China, Brazil, India and South Africa. Aggressive energy efficiency investment is needed worldwide. There are more than 400 cities worldwide with populations over 1 million. These high-density cities present opportunities for energy efficiency. The global agenda on energy efficiency will influence how countries play in this international arena and is integral to US national security.

In concluding the facilitated discussion, the panelists stressed the need for energy efficiency financing, strategic partnerships, data collection, utility involvement and worldwide education and action.