ANSI Hosts Exploratory Meeting for Energy Efficiency Standards PanelApril 27th, 2012 by DWM Magazine
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) of Washington, D.C., hosted a meeting to explore the need for a potential ANSI Energy Efficiency Standards Panel on April 25 at the FHI 360 Conference Center in Washington, D.C.
The meeting included two panel discussions, moderated by Jim Pauley, senior vice president of external affairs and government relations at Schneider Electric USA and chairman of the ANSI board of directors, and a moderated question-and-answer session.
During the first panel, federal agency representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) shared their perspective on the energy efficiency imperative, while speakers of the second panel discussed the current energy landscape of the country.
“Energy efficiency is a critical element in energy policies and public policies,” Pauley said. “But do the various interested stakeholders have an understanding of what’s going on in the energy spectrum? Is there an opportunity to harmonize in the different areas? Are there properly trained people in those areas? Should there be a standard on that?”
Pauley said meeting organizers aimed the meeting to bring clarity on what’s available, where the gaps are and how those gaps can be filled. “The purpose of a standards panel is not to develop standards; that is up to the standards developers,” he said. “The objective is to promote standards solutions to move energy efficiency forward.”
During his presentation, “Overview of DOE Support for Energy Efficiency Standards Activities,” Benjamin Goldstein, energy efficiency workforce development coordinator from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the DOE, said, “Standards are not monolithic, and we have to differentiate between specific standards activities.”
There are overlaps between different standards organizations relevant to residential single-family and multi-family energy efficiency, according to Goldstein. “Sometimes the standards for energy auditing, evaluating building performance and diagnostic test procedures overlap and conflict,” he said.
Walt Tunnessen, national program manager at the U.S. EPA – Energy Star, spoke about the Energy Star Program.
“Energy efficiency is a broad topic,” Tunnessen said. “The Energy Star program began 20 years ago. Today we have more than 20,000 organizations involved in the program. Almost 3.5 billion Energy Star-qualified products have been purchased since 2000 in the U.S. alone. Approximately 1.3 million Energy Star homes have been built-to-date, 127,000 of those in 2011 alone. We want to maintain a strong program. The new version 3 program requirements became effective on January 1.”
During a question-and-answer session after the first panel, Pauley told the attendees that “there are snake-oil sellers out there, and we need to differentiate between them and the real sellers of energy-efficient products. There needs to be mechanisms in place to differentiate, and there needs to be standards in place. Where there’s demand for energy efficiency, there’s potential for standards.”
Tunnessen suggested that the potential standards panel should engage multiple parties in order to be successful, and end users specifically would be a key group.
Sara Hayes, senior researcher with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy in Washington, D.C., kicked off the second panel with her presentation “Energy Efficiency: the U.S. Outlook.”
“The EPA has a sweep of regulations coming up that will affect a whole bunch of power sector segments between 2015 and 2017, and this comes along with the hike in gas prices,” Hayes said. There is a 3 to 5 percent gap between demand and what’s available, according to Hayes. “Energy efficiency is the right response to that, because there is lots of it and it is quickly deployed,” she said.
Energy efficiency investments can save consumers trillions of dollars, and the EPA has recognized that energy efficiency is a low-cost reform, she said. However, “there is a real lack of information on energy-efficiency opportunities out there,” Hayes said. “Dialogue and training needs to be improved between states’ energy offices, air regulators and utility regulators. Programs to help people overcome the upfront costs, such as financing programs, loan programs, need to be in place. Financial incentives have to be aligned, and technical assistance to states, including tools to include energy efficiency in air quality plans need, to be implemented.”
David Terry, executive director of the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), discussed the “State Energy Efficiency Landscape.” “Twenty states have an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard, five states have goals,” he said. “At the residential state energy code level, there are multistate collaborations on residential retrofits among Alabama, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington.”
The State Energy Loan Fund of NASEO includes 34 states, 66 funds and more than $1 billion in state energy revolving loan and credit enhancement funds, Terry said. “We have compiled plans or governors’ energy policy statements from 41 states and will consider the role of energy efficiency in these plans,” he said. “We will identify existing patterns and trends in treatment of energy efficiency, identify best practices and develop guidelines to write statewide energy plans.”
Cliff Majersik, executive director of the Institute for Market Transformation in Washington, D.C., also spoke. “There are a whole bunch of ratings and disclosures and they are not all compatible, some share the same anchors, some do not,” he said. “Ratings and disclosure mandates in the U.S. are not even and are a gathering trend.”
When performance is measured, performance improves, Majersik said, and when performance is rated and reported back, improvement accelerates.
The second half of the meeting was an open discussion. Attendees discussed potential challenges and the need to stay focused on “energy efficiency” in order to make sure to not make the scope larger than necessary by adding other requirements, such as “sustainability.”