Regional Role-Models: What can be learned from organizations working to implement EE at the state and local level?
Susan Coakley, the Executive Director of the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, talked about the success that her organization has had working in partnership with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, state and local regulators, to develop and sustain a robust policy infrastructure supporting energy efficiency initiatives.
Jay Wrobel, the executive director of the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance discussed the strategies that his organization is using to overcome the challenges confronting energy efficiency policies in his region. These challenges include downward forces on energy prices, new governors and legislators who may not be supportive of these programs, and learning how to educate industries and consumers on the value of energy efficiency in jobs and economic growth.
Mandy Mahoney, the President of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, talked about successful programs in her region resulting from TVA partnerships. She also discussed harnessing the frustration that southern farm bureaus and manufacturers are expressing over the dearth of viable energy efficiency programs offered in her region.
Doug Lewis, the Executive Director of SPEER, talked about the climate for energy efficiency programs in Texas and Oklahoma, and he explained that as a strategy, programs based on leveraging market forces, competition, and natural price signals gain significant traction in his region.
Elizabeth McDonald, the president of the Canadian Energy Efficiency Association, identified that political and cultural barriers confronting energy efficiency programs in a resource-driven country. McDonald also discussed how her organization has developed a narrative supporting energy efficiency based on leveraging the shared desire of a majority of Canadians to contribute to environmental conservation, to save money, and to know that the data is reliable.
Sticker Shock: Can building labeling programs transform the market?
The session began setting the context large contribution of the building sector to energy consumption and the connect between energy and financial performance. Information contained in labels is a necessary but not sufficient precondition for market transformation; this information must be augmented with technical and financial resources to attribute and improve energy performance. Essential elements for labels include clarity, consistency, and the ability to address asset and operational factors for both new and existing buildings. Discussion centered on the different importance and ability to make changes between the residential and commercial sectors. Panelists concurred that labeling programs will engender resistance if framed as a deficiency rather than an opportunity for improvement.
Leading by Example: How do governments around the world drive efficiency through their own operations?
This panel included representatives from government agencies leading energy efficiency in the following countries: the United States, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Germany, and Germany. There was a strong consensus about best practices for driving forward energy efficiency in the public sector. The best practices cited included the following: the importance of high-level government leadership and goals and agency accountability in meeting energy reduction goals and the benefits of energy service performance contracting.
Plugging In to Consumers: How do you impact behavior to help individuals become more energy efficient?
Thought-leaders in this session discussed successful strategies for consumer-targeted energy efficiency programs from the federal, utility, and local community perspective. Chuck Wilson, Program Director, Small Town Energy Program for University Park (STEP-UP) shared that in order to be effective energy-efficient programs that are targeted to households must reduce transaction and trust barriers and leverage local infrastructure. Other speakers echoed his experience and added that across the country, the programs that have been most effective in achieving results have use tailored messaging, partnered with organizations that have credibility in the community, and used grassroots and word of mouth campaigns to deliver energy efficiency programs to households.
Soup to Nuts & Bolts: How do we improve the eco-efficiency of supply chains from top to bottom?
Members of the panel discussed the biggest issues surrounding energy efficient supply chains and discussed best practices. Jigar Shah, Executive Director at the Institute for Industrial Productivity, made the business case for supply chain efficiency while Andre de Fontaine, DOE, discussed leveraging government tools and programs to understand and improve on supply chains. Panelists, Jim Stanway from Walmart and Michelle VanderMeer from Whirlpool, described how their companies were working to maximize efficiency through their suppliers. Energy efficiency’s role in addressing the particular challenges of their businesses, including shipping and manufacturing practices, were detailed and solutions provided.
Terry Yosie, CEO of World Environment Center, discussed the role that innovation plays in making the entire supply chain more efficient and the strengthening and stabilizing effect it has on business. The panel was moderated and guided by Clay Nesler, Institute for Building Efficiency at Johnson Controls, who added commentary on his organizations recent “Energy Efficiency Indicator” survey that revealed more about the relationship between supply chains and company led energy efficiency initiatives.
Cities of Tomorrow: How do you incorporate energy efficiency into urban planning?
This session focused on the environmental and economic benefits of implementing sustainable practices such as energy efficiency into community planning. Panelists shared successful case studies and examples of how local communities can achieve energy savings, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change through innovative approaches and collaboration across government, public, and private sectors. Government-owned property such as U.S. Army bases have also incorporated sustainable policies in their planning and conducted pilot studies that resulted in energy savings and energy security. This session also emphasized the importance of public transportation and walkable urban areas, and how it can affect the price premium of real estate.
Top of the Heap: How do you get to be the most energy efficient economy in the world?
This session featured international perspectives on the interactions between government, businesses, and the public in goal-setting and attainment of economic and energy performance within the context of their own countries. Panelists stressed the importance of supporting broad policy with consistent information, good governance, and clear price signals within and among the government, private sector, and general public. These elements are further supported by building knowledge and capacity around energy, then enabling action through various finance approaches.
The Disclosure Conundrum: How do you ensure consumers’ privacy while empowering behavioral change through transparency?
Monisha Shah, the Deputy Associate Director for Energy and Climate Change of the Green Button Initiative, showcased the success that her organization has had in working with 35 utilities in the US, to empower every basic consumer to have access to their own energy use data.
Rich Sedano, the Principal Director of US Programs for the Regulatory Assistance Project discussed his experience advising and working with regulators as they confront the privacy conflicts that arise as utilities operate more as entities in the information business, collecting and analyzing consumer data.
Helen Burt, the Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer for PG&E, discussed the lessons learned and the best practices that her organization has developed with respect to smart meter privacy concerns. Helen Burt identified the value that can be delivered to the consumer as they seek to strike the right balance between connecting customers with information and services that can change their habits in positive ways against the privacy risks of collecting customer information.
Michael Sachse, the Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel of OPower, explained the potential of smart meter technologies to drive progress on a number of fronts including energy efficiency, climate change, and economic growth. He explained that the discussion cannot be limited to one focused on privacy, but rather that the discussion needs to focus on how to develop tools that enable privacy to co-exist with the ability to make sets of data available, interesting, and usable to consumers for the purposes of driving these outcomes.