Friday, April 24, 2015

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

For those of you who know who Joseph Oldham is you likely are on his email distribution list and receive this update each week.  We are grateful that Joseph has agreed to allow our little blog to re-post his weekly update.  If you have an interest in the happenings of energy efficiency and local government throughout California this is the update for you! If you love the information here, but want more in depth features be sure to check out Joseph's quarterly newsletter, CURRENTS.


1. LGP Value and Effectiveness Survey Launched
Opinion Dynamics has been retained by the California Public Utilities Commission to assess the value and effectiveness of LGPs, particularly in terms of achieving the State of California’s Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan goals. Feedback from local governments is extremely important to the study.
If your organization is a part of an LGP – either as an implementer, a member government, or a local government that received funding for Strategic Plan projects - a staff person at your organization may have received this invitation to complete the survey during the week of April 20th.  The subject line for this invitation is “Local Government Partnerships Value & Effectiveness Survey Invitation.”
If you have received an invitation, please complete the survey. As a reminder, responses to this survey will be kept anonymous and the identities of respondents will not be revealed to any organization other than Opinion Dynamics.  Should you have any questions, please contact Alan Elliott at alanelliott1@opiniondynamics.com
2. R.13-11-005 Workshop on Energy Efficiency Baselines
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) staff will be holding a Workshop on Energy Efficiency Baselines on April 28, 2015, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the CPUC Auditorium (505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94102). Agenda, call in information, and request for comments are forthcoming.
In D.14-10-046, the Public Utilities Commission directed staff to work with the Energy Commission to increase awareness of how energy efficiency baselines are applied in relation to the volume of deferred retrofits and the ability of program administrators to target and accelerate such upgrades cost-effectively, which were identified in the utilities' 2015 funding requests.  

Topics at the  April 28 workshop will cover:
(1)    The policy framework that establishes energy efficiency baselines;
(2)    Input from energy efficiency stakeholders;
(3)    The treatment of to-code and above codes savings for procurement planning;
(4)    The scope of CPUC/CEC/Navigant's  Existing Baseline Analysis; and
(5)    The status of IOU pilots into alternative baselines.

The CPUC must accurately measure savings from energy efficiency in order to forecast energy savings to inform energy procurement planning, with the goal of avoiding construction of new non-renewable power plants. The CPUC has determined that in most cases, the appropriate baseline is set as the current code or standard applicable to that equipment, as equipment will naturally be upgraded to the code or standard level when it is replaced. The CPUC currently allows exceptions to this policy, such as when the IOU program is shown to influence the "early retirement" of functioning, yet inefficient equipment. However, some stakeholders argue that the existing condition should be the norm, not the exception.

The CPUC, Energy Commission, and Navigant are preparing an Energy Efficiency Baseline Analysis is to examine the appropriateness of using the code or existing conditions baseline as the default baseline to estimate energy efficiency program savings for different types of measures, and the implications for future Title 20 and 24 updates, the demand forecast, and ratepayers.

For questions, please contact Dina Mackin at 415-703-2125 or Dina.Mackin@cpuc.ca.gov.  

3.  Lead Commissioner Workshop on Strategies Related to Benchmarking and Local Government Challenge in the Draft Existing Buildings Energy Efficiency Action Plan
The California Energy Commission Lead Commissioner for the 2015 Integrated Energy Policy Report (2015IEPR) will conduct a workshop on strategies related to Benchmarking and Local Government Challenge in the draft Existing Buildings Energy Efficiency Action Plan.

Commissioner Andrew McAllister is the Lead Commissioner. Other Commissioners from the Energy Commission and California Public Utilities Commission may also attend or participate in the workshop.

Thursday, May 7, 2015
9:00 a.m.

CALIFORNIA ENERGY COMMISSION
1516 Ninth Street
First Floor, Art Rosenfeld Hearing Room
Sacramento, California
(Wheelchair Accessible)

Remote Access Available by Computer or Phone via WebEx

Presentations and audio from the meeting will be broadcast via our WebEx web meeting service. For additional details on how to participate via WebEx, please see the notice at: https://efiling.energy.ca.gov/Lists/DocketLog.aspx?docketnumber=15-IEPR-05

Computer Log on with a Direct Phone Number:

- Please go to https://energy.webex.com and enter the unique meeting number
926 752 573

- When prompted, enter your information and the following meeting password meeting@9 . (Please note that password is case sensitive.)


For more information:
(If link above doesn't work, please copy entire link into your web browser's URL) 


And that is all for this week!  


Priced to Sale or Priced to Save?

Living in a state with a historic drought that is now going on year four we are bombarded by new information every day. Many receive a notices in the mail from their local governments letting them know about new and upcoming water restrictions. These letters and notices are great pieces of motivation and information for California residents, but do they really do anything?

In one of our earlier blog postings we touched on behavior modification and how that can make a difference when conserving energy, but can the same be said for water? Would behavior modification solve our drought wows or does California need to look into other options such as going to tiered water rates.

Many Californians are making an argument to move to tiered water rates, since our water future is in dyer straights. Sadly those advocating for this change face an up hill battle, since the state has proposition 218 that challenges this type of "cost of service." Proposition 218 was passed in 1996 and states that municipalities cannot impose fees for services that exceed the actual cost of the item. 

This proposition was challenged this April when San Juan Capistrano tried to impose a four-tiered water rate system. But when it went for approval a California appellate court ruled that imposing such a system was unconstitutional. The courts reasoning was allocating a higher cost to a higher user for means of conservation is against the law, but if you were to charge a higher price to a higher user only based on usage that would be just fine. 

As we sit in what is now titled a "drought emergency" many say we should implement the tiered water rates under the premise of higher users pay higher prices and not get hung up on the word conservation. Here at SJVCEO we truly believe in the word conservation, since it encompasses management and protection of our environment and natural resources. But....when it comes to natural resources being depleted because of the word we can let it slide for once. 

As a fellow Californian I believe that we should do all that we can to save water. Maybe having higher users pay a higher rate will force those users to make a change if they don't like their bills. Which I think in laments terms means forced behavior modification. 

But, every household will have its own view on how and what should be done to help with the drought in California. Let your household decide what is best when it comes to conserving water, but remember to keep saving!



"Ruling Forces California Water Districts to Review Water Rate," Apr. 21, 2015, http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/california-court-ruling-limit-drought-fighting-tools-30464841

"Water Rates Under Prop. 218," Apr., 24, 2015, http://www.hjta.org/propositions/proposition-218/water-rates-under-proposition-218/


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Gas Pump Warning Labels

Big Oil hasn’t had a lot of competition in the past and even with great advancements and improved technologies in alternative and renewable fuels and vehicles, people still love their gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs and the lower price tags of regular vehicles.
Source: http://grist.org/

A retired transportation engineer from Oakland, Jack Fleck, decided that he could do something about the immunity of oil companies by placing warning labels on gas pumps. He likened this to the labels on cigarette packages. Tobacco companies can still sell their product, but need to warn people of the harmful effects on both themselves and others. So, Fleck thought, oil companies must also be upfront about the harmful effects on the environment when using their product. These labels don’t need to be aggressive; a purely informational label could work just as well to spread the message.

Source: http:grist.org
While these labels might not affect even a small percentage of people and the way they buy cars, it’s a step in the right direction and it will encourage people to contemplate their duty and responsibility to help mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Big Oil won't stop producing, but we can stop using. Whether we buy an alternative fuel vehicle or simply bike, carpool and use public transportation more, we can make all the difference moving forward. If just 10% of us did this, we could save over 25 million tons of CO2 emissions each year!

There has been a lot of negative backlash on this idea, including Fox News contributor and political blogger Michelle Malkin going so far as to ask “‘Why don’t they just ban gas stations?’” Unfortunately, there are lots of people who think this is an appropriate response – they don’t see or feel the urgency of this issue. Additionally, the oil companies sponsor political candidates to spread a much less grim picture of them, thus affecting the thoughts of many Americans on this subject.


Despite this, plans and mock-ups of such labels are being developed in San Francisco and Vancouver as well as other cities and Fleck is sure that we will start to see them at gas stations soon. Hopefully they'll get more attention than these parking signs that have been popping up in L.A.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

For those of you who know who Joseph Oldham is you likely are on his email distribution list and receive this update each week.  We are grateful that Joseph has agreed to allow our little blog to re-post his weekly update.  If you have an interest in the happenings of energy efficiency and local government throughout California this is the update for you! If you love the information here, but want more in depth features be sure to check out Joseph's quarterly newsletter, CURRENTS.

1.     WebEx Recording of the April 7, 2015, Lead Commissioner Workshop on the Existing Buildings Energy Efficiency Draft Action Plan
WebEx Recording of the April 7, 2015, Lead Commissioner Workshop on the Existing Buildings Energy Efficiency Draft Action Plan
(If link above doesn't work, please copy entire link into your web browser's URL)

2.     Healthcare a Slower Market for Energy Management
This is an interesting article about the growth of energy efficiency management in the healthcare market segment.  To read the full story, go here: http://www.energymanagertoday.com/healthcare-slower-market-energy-management-0111050/

3.     IOU Prop 39 ZNE Pilot Launch
The California Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) - Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E), Southern California Edison Company (SCE), and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) – are pleased to announce the launch of the Proposition 39 (Prop 39) Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Schools Pilot.

The Pilot will assist public K-12 schools and community colleges in retrofitting existing facilities to ZNE by leveraging Prop 39 funding. The Pilot will establish “proof of concept” that ZNE retrofits of schools is feasible across California. The IOUs are targeting approximately 13-18 projects in 13-18 school districts or community colleges for the Pilot.

Interested K-12 public school districts and community colleges are directed to www.EnergyDesignResources.com/Prop39 for more information, including an upcoming webinar on May 4th and an Opportunity Announcement. Responses to the Opportunity Announcement are due by May 22nd. Interested schools are encouraged to revisit the website for Pilot updates.

4.     LED Built to Last 37 Years
One of the challenges with new technology is that there is a refinement and improvement process that invariably improves efficiency over time.  Early adopters often find that “new” technology they purchased last year is obsolete a year or so later, but they can’t replace what they purchased because they have too much capital tied to the original investment.  LED lighting seems to be one of those rapidly improving technologies.  Here is the latest development for LED lighting: http://www.energymanagertoday.com/led-built-last-37-years-0111160/

5.     Energy Efficiency in Food Service Businesses
Good article about how small changes can result in big improvements in energy efficiency in the food service industry.  To read the full article, go here: http://www.energymanagertoday.com/energy-efficiency-in-food-service-businesses-0111215/


That is all for this week!



Friday, April 10, 2015

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

For those of you who know who Joseph Oldham is you likely are on his email distribution list and receive this update each week.  We are grateful that Joseph has agreed to allow our little blog to re-post his weekly update.  If you have an interest in the happenings of energy efficiency and local government throughout California this is the update for you! If you love the information here, but want more in depth features be sure to check out Joseph's quarterly newsletter, CURRENTS.

1.        5 Critical Factors to Reduce the Energy Intensity of Operations
Good article that focuses on factors to improve the efficiency of producing products.  This is a very important consideration as California develops plans to improve the efficiency of existing buildings.  To read the full article, go here:  http://www.energymanagertoday.com/5-critical-factors-to-reduce-the-energy-intensity-of-operations-0110858/

2.        SoCalREN's Workforce Development Program - Local Worker Training and                  Hiring for Clean Energy Projects
LA County wants to get the work out about an upcoming workforce development workshop. Information about the program is listed below:

SoCalREN's Workforce Development Program - Local Worker Training and Hiring for Clean Energy Projects
When: Thursday, April 16th from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Where: Pacific Club at the Pacific Center -- 523 W. 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
  RSVP: Alex Mena of LA County at amena@isd.lacounty.gov or (323) 246-2536  

 3.             ARB Research Seminar: Future for Energy Storage
 “Future for Energy Storage”.

 Venkat Srinivasan, Ph.D.
 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

 Wednesday, April 22, 2015 1:30 pm, PDT (WEBCAST)
 Sierra Hearing Room, 2nd Floor, Cal/EPA Building
1001 I Street, Sacramento, California
 For more information go to the announcement at:


 4.           Marin Clean Energy Job Opening
Marin Clean Energy has an immediate opening for a Power Supply Contracts Manager Tier II.  The recruitment is open until filled, so candidates are encouraged to apply with a cover letter and a resume as soon as possible at jobs@mcecleanenrgy.org.

The announcement is also posted at: www.mcecleanenergy.org/about-us/staff/

5.            Sub-meters Installed Directly on Circuit Breaker
I normally do not send out links to articles that promote a specific product or company.  However, this article contains information about a new technology that could really help promote energy efficiency upgrades in large commercial buildings and I think EE program implementers need to know it is available.  To read the full article, go here:  http://www.energymanagertoday.com/submeter-installed-circuit-breaker-0110928/

6.       LA Sets Building Energy Efficiency Goal
          For those who have not read about the City of Los Angeles sustainability plan, this article                  outlines the energy efficiency goals and provides a link to the full plan.  The read more, go                here: http://www.energymanagertoday.com/la-sets-building-energy-efficiency-goal-0111029/


           


And that is all for this week! 




Thursday, April 9, 2015

To Time, or Not to Time

When a lot of people think of saving energy, they don’t always think of the savings when they’re away from the office or asleep in bed.  But they should, because there’s a lot of savings to be had!
If your business or the building in which your business occupies has a lighted parking lot, building attached lighting, or any other outdoor lighting, chances are they are on a dusk-til-dawn timer.  When the sun goes down, the sensor connected to the lights is activated and then as the sun rises, they turn off.

And since we have been tracking the sun and the stars for such a long time, the calculations are accurate for basically anywhere that’s not the North Pole or Antarctica.  So when we calculate the time that outdoor lights would be on, it’s pretty accurate.  The only thing that we can’t easily control for is additional shading (or other environmental effects) or positioning of the sensor, which might turn lights on or off, earlier or later.  But generally, still pretty accurate.

To calculate how many nighttime hours there are in a year, you’ll need to seek the sunrise/sunset times for your area.  Every coordinate on Earth has a different sunrise/sunset time, so you should check out the US Naval Operations Duration of Daylight/Darkness Table website (http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/Dur_OneYear.php).  If you want to get more specific, and I’ll explain later in this post, the Sunrise/Sunset Table (http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneYear.php) is for you.

Essentially, take the times from each day for your city (Excel makes this really easy to do) and add them together.  I’ll save you some time and tell you that during 2014 in Fresno, there were 4310.57 hours of darkness. Now, what to do with this?  Add up the wattage of all your outdoor light sources, divide by 1000 and multiply it by 4310.57; that’ll give you the annual kilowatt-hours for the year. Multiply that by your average energy rate and you’ll get a good estimate.  If you’re paying 21 cents a kilowatt-hour, with a 3 kilowatt lighting load, you’d expect to see about $2,700 in annual costs.  If you’re using a lighting technology other than LED, you may want to compare wattages of LED lamps with comparable lumens to see if it would be advantageous to convert to LED lights. 

Should you want a more accurate picture painted, or your business is on a Time-of-Use rate, then it’s best to find out the actual sunrise and sunset times.  In the PG&E region has three time periods:  On Peak, Partial Peak and Off Peak.  Here’s the table of times below:


Summer    Period A    (May-October)
Peak:
12:00 noon to 6:00 pm
Monday through Friday (except holidays)
Partial-Peak:
8:30 am to 12:00 noon
Monday through Friday (except holidays)
6:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Monday through Friday (except holidays)
Off-Peak:
9:30 pm to 8:30 am
Monday through Friday (except holidays)
All Day
Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays
Winter    Period B    (November-April)
Partial-Peak:
8:30 am to 9:30 pm
Monday through Friday (except holidays)
Off-Peak:
9:30 pm to 8:30 am
Monday through Friday (except holidays)
All Day
Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays

Source: http://www.pge.com/tariffs/CommercialCurrent.xls. Accessed April 6, 2015.

We can get more specific numbers with the Sunrise/Sunset table because we know when the lights are likely to turn on.  And because the energy charge changes throughout the day, we can get a more accurate picture using that data.  If you happen to be on a Non-Time-of-Use rate, you might even find it would be advantageous to switch to a different rate, when exclusively looking at outdoor lighting of course.

For those in the Fresno area, I saved you the headache of calculating this yourself:

For the A1 rate: Kilowatts x 827.55 + 118.93

For the A6 rate: Kilowatts x 729.76 + 269.23

If your lighting demand is larger than 1.53 KW, it would be best on the A-6 rate.



Using this information, you can now easily see how much energy you can save by switching your outdoor lights to a different technology. Add in the cost of maintenance (replacing the lamp), and any rebates there might be, and you’ll be able to also factor in the life cycle cost of that upgrade.



Monday, April 6, 2015

Learn More About Energy Efficiency

We hope to see you on Wednesday April 8th at 11:00AM for our energy efficiency luncheon meeting. We will touch upon how energy efficiency can benefit your business and improve your bottom line! Make sure to RSVP today!





Friday, April 3, 2015

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

For those of you who know who Joseph Oldham is you likely are on his email distribution list and receive this update each week.  We are grateful that Joseph has agreed to allow our little blog to re-post his weekly update.  If you have an interest in the happenings of energy efficiency and local government throughout California this is the update for you! If you love the information here, but want more in depth features be sure to check out Joseph's quarterly newsletter, CURRENTS.


1.  BayREN Issues Final Report on “PROP” Codes and Standards ProgramBayREN just issued a great final report on their innovative Codes and Standards program called PROP.  PROP stands for Permit Resource Opportunity Program and the full report is now posted on the Coordinator website at this address: http://eecoordinator.info/coordinator-reports/ .  This is an outstanding resource to help understand the issues facing California local governments related to permitting and energy code inspections.
2.  Lead Commissioner Workshop on Strategies Related to Data for Improved Decisions in Existing Buildings Energy Efficiency Draft Action Plan
The California Energy Commission Lead Commissioner for the 2015 Integrated Energy Policy Report (2015 IEPR) will conduct a workshop on strategies related to data for improved decisions in the Existing Buildings Energy Efficiency Draft Action Plan. Commissioner Andrew McAllister is the Energy Efficiency Lead Commissioner. Other Commissioners from the Energy Commission and California Public Utilities Commission may also attend or participate in the workshop.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
10:00 a.m.
CALIFORNIA ENERGY COMMISSION
1516 Ninth Street
First Floor, Art Rosenfeld Hearing Room (Hearing Room A)
Sacramento, California
(Wheelchair Accessible)

Remote Access Available by Computer or Phone via WebEx

Presentations and audio from the meeting will be broadcast via our WebEx web meeting service. For additional details on how to participate via WebEx, please see the notice at: https://efiling.energy.ca.gov/Lists/DocketLog.aspx?docketnumber=15-IEPR-05

Computer Log on with a Direct Phone Number:

- Please go to https://energy.webex.com and enter the unique meeting number 922 642 913
- When prompted, enter your information and the following meeting password meeting@10 . (Please note that password is case sensitive.)

(If link above doesn't work, please copy entire link into your web browser's URL)  

3.    Register Now for June Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum!
Registration is now open for the 6th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum! The forum will take place on June 18th in downtown Sacramento. This full day event is offered at NO COST to California local governments.

Visit the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC) website for more information and to register. 

4.    Public Workshop Re: Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade Market Transformation Draft Report
The Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) and Regional Energy Networks (RENs) will host a public workshop on April 13, 2015, from 9 am to 12 pm to review the Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade Market Transformation draft report. The workshop will be held at Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Pacific Energy Center, located at 851 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103.
Live Location: Pacific Energy Center at 851 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Broadcast Locations: Energy Resource Center at 9240 Firestone Blvd (Main Hall), Downey, CA 90241-5388
ICF Offices at 9775 Businesspark Ave, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92131
Webinar/Phone Conference:
Topic: Home Upgrade Market Transformation Workshop
Meeting Number: 742 240 231
-------------------------------------------------------
To start or join the online meeting:
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Teleconference information:
Provide your phone number when you join the meeting to receive a call back. Alternatively, you can call:
Call-in toll-free number: 1-(866) 652-7690  (US)
Conference Code: 940 209 8058
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For assistance:
2. On the left navigation bar, click "Support".
To add this meeting to your calendar program (for example Microsoft Outlook), click this link:
To check whether you have the appropriate players installed for UCF (Universal Communications Format) rich media files, go to https://pge.webex.com/pge/systemdiagnosis.php.


For any questions, please contact Giovanna Casillas at 858-637-7993 or by email at gcasillas@semprautilities.com.   


And that is all for this week!  



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Megadroughts: Our Future

Usually Seattle has cloudy skies and constant drizzle between mid October and late June and, to be honest, I was not looking forward to leaving Southern California for this weather. This winter, however, has been so mild. We’ve had as few as none and no more than four rainy days a week, which in comparison to just last year is nothing. The sun is shining now and it reached nearly 70 degrees just a couple of days ago. We're supposed to be smack dab in the middle of our very long rainy season! Clearly, the climate is changing. Not only are we Seattleites not getting a whole lot of rain or snowfall, but Californians have also received so little that there is approximately one year of water left. ONE year. That’s it.

A NASA water scientist calculated that all reservoir water, groundwater and backup supply water for the state of California will only last through the next year. Last winter, there
Photo Source: dpw.lacounty.gov
was a drastic decrease in rain and snowfall and this year, there has been even less.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough urgency surrounding this issue. There have been a few local water restriction efforts set up throughout the state, but the golf courses in Palm Springs continue to be lush and green and not enough Los Angeles residents are participating in the Cash for Grass Rebate Program to alter their lawns. There hasn’t been a huge drive to create or enforce a statewide water conservation campaign.

To top it off, NASA predicts “megadroughts” to take over the Southwest and Great Plains starting sometime during the second half of this century. Each megadrought can last between 10 years and a few decades. So if you notice that our current water crisis is making it harder for Californians to live, farm, raise cattle, etc., just wait. This year, areas all over the state have had increased problems with water theft, farmers in the San Joaquin Valley are fallowing an increased number of plots and reservoirs are at record lows. I hate being a Debbie Downer, but this is our future. 


Photo Source: wakefieldbiochar.com
Most Californians, instead of creating a strategy to deal with this situation, just stare at the sky, hoping for a few drops of rain. Hoping won’t cut it at this point. The public needs to be involved in and prepared to substantially reduce water consumption and dependency, even more so than they have. Laws need to be implemented that will combat these issues with groundwater sustainability plans, enforced water use limitations and efficient technology innovations. Think we can do it? I do. But we need to act. The longer we wait, the less likely change and improvements will not only happen but be effective.


Update: Governor Brown and California lawmakers develop strategies for drought mitigation. And as of April 1st, water restrictions have been imposed, calling for 25% reduction on California's supply agencies. That's what I call progress!