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Roundup of the ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

This month, Elevate Energy was in Asilomar, California for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) 2014 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. This year’s focus was “The Next Generation: Reaching for High Energy Savings.”

We enjoyed meeting with industry leaders on how they’re reducing energy use in buildings. Given the impact of climate change on our environment and our communities, now is the time for energy visionaries to come together, share ideas, and plan for “the next generation” of energy efficiency in buildings.

We also presented several papers at the conference to help answer the following questions:

  • How can we find a productive balance between protecting consumer privacy and moving energy efficiency programs forward? Anne McKibbin presented “Unleashing the Power of Big Data on Efficiency? Not So Fast.” This paper outlines how program administrators and researchers use customer energy use data to improve building energy efficiency programs, including a discussion on data access regulations and restrictions. The paper makes recommendations for engaging policymakers to ensure a productive balance between privacy and program needs.
  • What happens when energy efficiency programs incorporate water conservation and flood prevention measures into existing building retrofit programs? Jessica Miller presented “Urban Flooding and Energy Efficiency: Leveraging Community Action,” which describes lessons learned from our own pilot program to bundle water and energy services into single family and small multifamily retrofit programs. While this “whole site” approach was not without challenges, it did produce financial and health benefits for building owners and homeowners.
  • How can we better understand how particular home types use energy differently and how does this inform our retrofit programs? Emily Robinson presented “Housing Stock Segmentation to Achieve Community Energy Savings.” The paper summarizes a replicable methodology for characterizing single family housing stock and energy use, including a discussion on how housing segmentation has been applied to residential energy retrofit programs in the Chicago region.
  • How can we fairly and consistently value energy efficiency improvements at the time of a home sale? Rachel Scheu presented “Valuing Home Performance Improvements in Real Estate Markets,” which describes existing barriers to integrating energy efficiency data into real estate markets. Consumer demand for high performance homes is increasing, yet energy efficiency remains largely invisible in residential real estate markets. Closing this gap lays the groundwork for a virtuous cycle in which homeowners are eager to invest in energy efficiency improvements because they know that they can recover some or all of their investments at the time of home sale.

Please stay tuned for a future post on lessons learned at the Summer Study.

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