Provide tips, incentives, and resources for improving energy efficiency in buildings.
People are demanding more energy efficient homes and buildings.[i] However, improving energy efficiency can be a daunting task. Assisting Provo’s residents and businesses in meeting their energy goals will help clean our air.
Tool: Use energy bills as a way to distribute information about household emissions that contribute to poor air quality.
Providing consistent reminders about the benefits of updating appliances and reducing emissions plays an important role in educating the public on how they can help improve air quality in our city.
Tool: Encourage installation of the best available technologies to attain the highest efficiency standards on new homes/buildings and remodels with incentives.
While many households and businesses are interested in reducing energy use and saving money, they lack the resources to do so.
- List of federal and state energy incentive programs that apply in Utah. http://programs.dsireusa.org/system/program?state=UT
- Wattsmart Residential Efficiency Program Rocky Mountain Power https://www.rockymountainpower.net/res/sem/utah.html
- Wattsmart Business Efficiency Program Rocky Mountain Power https://www.rockymountainpower.net/bus/se/utah.html
- Wattsmart New Homes Program Rocky Mountain Power https://www.rockymountainpower.net/res/sem/utah/esnh.html
- ThermWise Business Program http://www.thermwise.com/business/BusinessRebates.php
- Geothermal heat pump tax incentives. http://www.climatemaster.com/commercial-taxes
- Green Building Incentives, Charlottesville, Virginia. The city of Charlottesville has adopted financial incentive programs to encourage energy efficient buildings. http://www.charlottesville.org/departments-and-services/departments-h-z/public-works/environmental-sustainability/green-building-incentives
- Lighting and HVAC upgrades result in $7,000 savings, Melbourne, Australia. The Ross House building, which houses mostly nonprofits, undertook a lighting upgrade and replaced its heating and cooling system, cutting its energy use by 37 percent. “That sliced $7,000 off the building’s energy bills each year, and helped the building achieve a respectable four out of six stars in Australia’s NABERS system for measuring the environmental performance of buildings.”
Tool: Encourage the highest payoff energy efficiency technologies.
Ground source heat pumps, high performance insulation systems and air sealing systems can be relatively inexpensive and result in reduced energy consumption.
- Guide to Federal Tax Incentives for Residential Geothermal Heat Pumps - “In October 2008, geothermal heat pumps were added to section 25D of the Internal Revenue Code, which provides a 30% tax credit for spending on qualified property placed in service through the end of 2016.” Tax credit can be combined with solar and wind tax credits and energy efficiency upgrade credits. http://www.climatemaster.com/downloads/RP215.pdf
Tool: Encourage homeowners to calculate the energy efficiency of their homes.
Understanding energy problems in a building is the first step to improving energy efficiency.
- o The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index is the nationally recognized scoring system for measuring a home’s energy performance. The HERS Index Score can be described as a sort of miles-per-gallon (MPG) sticker for houses, giving prospective buyers and homeowners an insight as to how the home ranks in terms of energy efficiency. In addition to a HERS Index Score, a home energy rating also provides the homeowner with a detailed report regarding energy problems in the house.
Tool: Implement smart meters.
A smart meter is an electronic device that records electric energy consumption in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information back to the utility company daily for monitoring and billing. By helping households realize exactly how much energy they are consuming and how much it is costing them, many may realize that they can cut back on certain energy uses to save money and reduce unnecessary consumption.
This is a diagram of a water smart meter, though smart meters now exist for all different utilities.
- National Rollout of smart meters, United Kingdom. “By the end of 2020, around 50 million smart meters will be fitted in over 26 million households across Wales, Scotland and England.” http://www.smartenergygb.org/national-rollout
Implement the most current building energy efficiency standards.
Implementation of the most recent building energy efficiency standards would reduce the amount of home emissions and help clean our air.[iv]
Tool: Encourage the state to implement the most current building energy code.
The building code is directed by the state government. Informing state lawmakers on the benefits of energy efficient building standards is a key component in lowering building emissions.
Tool: Encourage the installation of high efficiency, low emissions appliances.
There is a notable difference between the output of a low NOx water heater and an ultra-low NOx water heater. Although ultra-low NOx water heaters tend to be less energy efficient, various design techniques can be used to increase the water heater efficiency to meet the Energy Star criteria.[v] Most Ultra-low NOx water heaters cost about $70 more than the low NOx, and $150 more for Energy Star rated models.
- Code requiring high-efficiency water heaters, California. Residential water heaters must by ultra-low NOx in California. http://www.energy.ca.gov/title24/2013standards/prerulemaking/documents/current/Reports/Residential/Water_Heating/2013_CASE_WH2.WH5_WaterHeaterReady-10.28.2011.pdf
- Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program, Australia. The CBD program, as part of the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010, “requires energy efficiency information to be provided in most cases when commercial office space of 2000 square meters or more is offered for sale or lease. …Disclosing energy efficiency provides everyone with access to consistent and meaningful information about the building’s performance. This makes it easier for companies to buy or rent more energy efficient office space. An informed market rewards better performing buildings. It creates a strong market-based incentive for owners to improve their properties with cost-effective energy efficient upgrades that are attractive to buyers and tenants and increase return on investment.” http://cbd.gov.au/overview-of-the-program/what-is-cbd#Q3
Promote the use of electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular. In 2014, approximately 119,710 electric vehicles were sold in the United States in 2014, representing a 23% increase from 2013 and a 128% from 2012.[vi]
Tool: Improve network of charging stations.
The availability, reliability, and affordability of electric vehicles has greatly increased in recent years and new charging stations are needed to respond to that growth.
- Electric Vehicle charging station program, California. http://www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/newsdetails/index.page%3Ftitle%3D20150209_pge_proposes_major_build-out_of_electric_vehicle_charging_stations
Develop a Power Department Sustainability Plan with an emphasis on air.
The Power Department has a key role to play in cleaning our air, and it has expertise how to make an impact. Consider the roles you might fulfill in cleaning the air and develop a departmental plan for sustainability with an emphasis on air quality. Develop a method for tracking and measuring progress, and for annual review.
[ii] Shows U.S. Housing emissions by tons of CO2 per capita for different uses. Appliances and heating are the largest CO2 emitters. http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/how-do-we-use-electricity
[iii] From ARM. https://www.arm.com/markets/embedded/smart-meter.php