eschwass's blog

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For the past several years, ACEEE has tracked utility-sector natural gas savings at the state level as part of our State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. As part of our biennial City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, we collect natural gas savings data at the utility level. These two data sources help identify the leaders in gas energy efficiency savings.

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The administration’s proposal to zero out funding for ENERGY STAR® has drawn a lot of buzz. While preserving ENERGY STAR is vital for energy efficiency in many ways, it’s only one among many important efficiency programs on the chopping block. The full budget has not been released yet, and Congress certainly won’t approve it in its current form, but House Republicans are eager to reduce funding for many of these programs. The threat of deep cuts is real.

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Electricity markets in the Southeast are facing many changes on the customer side of the meter.  In a new report released today, we look at how energy efficiency, photovoltaics (solar electricity), electric vehicles, heat pumps, and demand response (shifting loads from periods of high demand) might affect electricity needs in the Southeast. We find that if all of these resources are pursued on an accelerated basis, electricity demand in the region can be stabilized until about 2030.

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Today, most American households pay for electric service via a two-part electric rate. This typically consists of a small, fixed customer charge ($ per month) and an energy rate applied per unit of electricity ($ per kilowatt hour). There are some variations on this model, including energy rates that vary based on time of day or total monthly consumption, but the basic structure of residential rates hasn’t changed much over time. In recent years, utilities have proposed significant departures to this format to address the changing dynamics of the electric utility industry.

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Utility proposals for customer prepayment plans are on the rise. These payment plans require customers to pay in advance for their utility services and, if they run out of prepaid credit, they are remotely disconnected from service until they top up their credit. While utilities can benefit from these plans because of reduced financial risks from overdue payments and other reduced service costs, many consumer advocates are concerned about these plans’ effects on health and safety, particularly for low-income participants.

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Ever wonder what a building thinks about its climate or the occupants it serves? Or, conversely, how the occupants perceive their building? Buildings are becoming increasingly smart; they are becoming more aware of their environment and responsive to our needs. In our new report, we discuss how smart buildings respond to, and even anticipate, changes in operation to meet energy demand and occupant expectations. Our research focuses on existing US commercial buildings of different sizes and types.

Today, one in six American households resides in the apartments or condominiums of multifamily buildings. While new multifamily buildings are being constructed across the country, most residents still live in older buildings that are not energy-efficient. ACEEE’s newly released report provides encouraging news for apartment and condo dwellers who want to reduce the cost of their energy bills. Utility-sector energy efficiency programs that serve these buildings have nearly tripled their spending in recent years.