What’s next after lighting? Regional leaders offer diverse responses

(ACEEE blog, 30 Oct 2019) As federal standards for lighting improve, many utilities and program administrators are looking at their energy efficiency portfolios and wondering “what’s next”?

At our recent Energy Efficiency as a Resource conference in Minneapolis, we put that question to leaders from each of the regional energy efficiency organizations or REEOs.

Their answers show the diverse and exciting opportunities to use energy efficiency as a tool to meet the climate challenge. We share some of the themes across technology, policy, and partnerships that emerged and that highlight opportunities to expand efficiency.

Heat pumps for space and water heating

Many of the REEOs cited the residential opportunity for high-efficiency heat pumps for space and water heating when cost-effective and powered by clean electricity. Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s executive director Susan Stratton noted the Northwest’s leadership on heat pump water heaters; the region represents only 4% of the total US market for water heating, but 19% of the national heat pump water heater market. We also heard about the opportunity for space heating with heat pumps in multiple regions, especially in new construction and oil and propane conversions. A subsequent panel discussed how to advance the market for efficient fuel switching.

Strategic energy management and industrial energy efficiency

Promising opportunities also extend to the industrial and commercial sectors. Several REEOs highlighted the potential for strategic energy management (SEM), programs that give organizations a structure and methodology to identify and implement projects and maintain practices that save energy. Some REEOs, including the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, are supporting regional collaboratives to drive local adoption of SEM programs. Opportunities for savings in the industrial sector go beyond SEM, although Greg Wikler from the California Efficiency + Demand Management Council noted that potential studies often overlook industrial programs. He said we need to better understand and serve industrial customers.

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ACEEE blog, 30 Oct 2019: What’s next after lighting? Regional leaders offer diverse responses