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11th Annual Inspiring Efficiency Awards – Education

MEEA Unplugged Blog - November 19, 2014 - 9:58am

In conjunction with the 2015 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference, MEEA is proud to host the 11th annual Inspiring Efficiency Awards. With a remarkable 61 nominations this year, we will be recognizing standouts in five categories:

  • Leadership
  • Education
  • Impact
  • Marketing
  • Innovation

Leading up to the conference, we will be highlighting the nominees in each category.

The Inspiring Efficiency Education Award will be presented to the organization that has developed and implemented a local campaign, program, strategy, or idea to increase knowledge and action on energy efficiency. Applicants should describe how their campaign, program, strategy, or idea—though local in scope—is an example for the region.

We are honored to present the following as the 2015 nominees for this award:

  • Efficiency Smart Super Energy Heroes Summer Camps
  • EnergySmarts Publications, a DTE Energy energy efficiency publication series
  • KSBA’s School Energy Managers Project (SEMP)
  • Lansing Board of Water & Light – Recycle Rama event
  • The Michigan Commercial & Industrial Energy Conference, MCIEC
  • Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program
  • QA Graphics
  • Resource Action Programs (RAP)
  • Think! Energy Michigan Collaboration (National Energy Foundation, Consumers Energy, DTE Energy)

To find out who will take home this award, join us for the Inspiring Efficiency Awards Dinner and Gala during the Midwest Energy Solutions Conference, January 29th. For more information, visit the conference website: www.mwalliance.org/conference/.

Cook County, IL passes Building Energy Benchmarking Ordinance

MEEA Unplugged Blog - November 17, 2014 - 10:55am

The Illinois Association of County Board Members publication, “Illinois County Magazine” Fall 2014 issue features an article on the Cook County, IL enacting an Building Energy Benchmarking Ordinance. This initiative requires the county to track the annual energy and water use of its buildings that are larger than 35,000 sqft.

The ordinance also requires an annual report of the data to be reported to the public. MEEA presented Cook County’s President Toni Preckwinkle with a 2014 Inspiring Efficiency Leadership Award for her commitment to improving energy efficiency in county government buildings. This ordinance shows continuous improvement of the county towards holistic energy reduction in their buildings.

Read more on the ordinance here: http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/CBMB/CBMB0214/index.php?startid=25

BOC Veterans Program Proud to Support US Veterans

MEEA Unplugged Blog - November 11, 2014 - 1:20pm

The State of Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) have teamed up to help unemployed and underemployed military veterans in Illinois earn the nationally-recognized Building Operator Certification (BOC®) and transition to civilian careers in facilities management. BOC increases job competitiveness and supports placement in the high growth green jobs sector by arming participants with hands on skills that allow them to achieve cost and energy savings from the first day of classes.

The program directly addresses the issue of high unemployment among Illinois veterans by providing full tuition scholarships for technical operations and maintenance training to eligible underemployed or unemployed veterans. According to the Council of Economic Advisors, in October 2013 the unemployment rate for all veterans was at 6.9 percent, 10 percent for post- 9/11 veterans.

One underemployed veteran Michael Weist recently completed the Building Operator Certification Level II program at Lincoln Land Community College.

“I think it was a great program,” Michael said. “I really learned a lot. I liked the diversity of topics the program covered and the different perspectives from multiple instructors and hearing their experience. I especially enjoyed learning more ways to save money for facilities. I already had a background in lighting, but I learned a lot about HVAC systems.”

Veterans who qualify for BOC attend eight days of technical training and complete five hands-on projects with the assistance of mentors like ComEd. Mentorships are coordinated by MEEA to support the participants throughout the program. MEEA works with Veteran Program Employment Partners Franklin Energy, CLEAResult, Ecova, Lockheed Martin, Nexant, and Illinois AMVETS to provide resources like resume reviews, internship opportunities, job postings, and career guidance to assist veterans in their job search. The project partners are now working with the veterans to pursue full-time employment in building operations and maintenance.

BOC Illinois spring classes start in January of 2015 and will be held in Springfield, Chicago, and Glen Ellyn.  For more information about BOC or to register for classes, please visit www.BOCcentral.org. To apply as an underemployed or unemployed veteran or to become an Employment Partner or Mentor, please contact Jennifer Allen at (312) 784-7243 or jallen@mwalliance.org.

The BOC Veterans Program is made available through funding from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) State Energy Office as part of the Illinois Energy Now Program.


Photo supplied by BOC Veteran Program graduate, Alex Dawson

MEEA Webinar: Better Buildings, Better Plants – 3M Company Spotlight

MEEA Unplugged Blog - October 22, 2014 - 8:03am

Join MEEA on Thursday, October 23, 2014, 1:00-2:00pm CDT for a U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings, Better Plants Program, with a spotlight on 3M. Register here. 

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Better Buildings, Better Plants Program is a voluntary partnership initiative to drive significant energy efficiency improvement across U.S. industry. More than 140 leading manufacturers are partnering with DOE through Better Plants to improve efficiency, cut energy costs and carbon emissions. Through this program, leading manufacturers partner with DOE to improve their energy intensity by 25% over ten years, develop energy management plans, and track and report their annual progress.
Join MEEA as we take a deeper look into the Better Buildings, Better Plants Program and 3M’s industrial efficiency accomplishments. Andre de Fontaine, with DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, will provide an overview of the program, share benefits of joining, and highlight successes to date. Steve Schultz, Corporate Energy Manager for 3M, will discuss the company’s participation in Better Plants and ISO 50001, and present a review of recent company energy efficiency initiatives.

MEEA Webinar: Energy Efficiency Appliance Standards

MEEA Unplugged Blog - October 21, 2014 - 8:33am
Join us Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 1:00 – 2:00pm CDT for a webinar on Energy Efficiency Appliance Standards. Register here. 

National energy efficiency standards for appliances, lighting products and equipment specify the minimum energy and/or water efficiency levels of specific products. The U.S. Department of Energy is responsible for reviewing and updating all national efficiency standards to keep pace with technological change. While national standards apply to products manufactured or imported for sale into the U.S., state legislatures can also set standards that apply to products sold or installed in a given state.

Marianne DiMascio, with the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, will present an overview of national appliance and equipment standards finalized this year. In addition, she will provide an overview of state standards activity, the energy savings achieved from existing standards, and the potential for additional savings from new and updated standards. Rich Hackner, with GDS Associates, Inc., will provide a Midwest perspective and demonstrate how federal appliance standards impact Ameren Illinois’ energy efficiency program offerings for C&I prescriptive and custom programs.

DOE’s New Solution Center Shares Proven Energy Efficiency Program Strategies

MEEA Unplugged Blog - October 20, 2014 - 9:39am

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is launching the new Better Buildings Residential Program Solution Center which highlights successful strategies and solutions used by residential energy efficiency programs across the country. Through the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®, utility-sponsored programs, and other initiatives, hundreds of communities have been working to promote energy efficiency upgrades in homes and multifamily buildings. To share the innovations and lessons learned from these efforts, DOE has compiled a one-stop shop for residential energy efficiency program administrators and home performance professionals.

The Solution Center is organized into a series of handbooks—concise online resources with step-by-step guidance for planning, operating, and evaluating a residential energy efficiency program. Each handbook draws on the experiences of multiple programs and contains resources such as tools, calculators, publications, videos, presentations, and case studies.

  • Market Position & Business Model handbooks describe how to assess current and potential demand for energy efficiency products and services (e.g., home energy assessments and upgrades; loans or financing products; contractor training) and what factors influence this demand.
  • Program Design & Customer Experience handbooks explore how to create a customer-centric process by bringing together marketing and outreach, incentives, financing, contractor coordination, and data collection to provide products and services that customers want.
  • Marketing & Outreach handbooks discuss ways to spur demand for home energy upgrades by understanding target audiences and using effective messaging, marketing and outreach tactics, and attractive program offers to motivate them to act.
  • Financing handbooks provide guidance for creating loan products that help customers pay for home energy upgrades in ways that are also affordable for programs and contractors.
  • Contractor Engagement & Workforce Development handbooks describe how to design a program that provides value for contractors by aligning with their business cycles and supporting workforce training.
  • Evaluation & Data Collection handbooks outline ways to develop effective data collection and evaluation strategies in order to understand the effects of a program.

To ensure the Solution Center remains a valuable resource for programs and home performance professionals into the future, DOE invites users to explore the new tool and suggest additional content or materials for possible inclusion by emailing BBRPSolutionCenter@ee.doe.gov.

DTE Energy Efficiency Summit Today

MEEA Unplugged Blog - October 14, 2014 - 9:13am

MEEA member, DTE Energy, will host an Energy Efficiency Summit for businesses today in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The summit is free to attend, and will be held at the Eberhard Conference Center at Grand Valley State University.  The purpose of the summit is to help business owners improve their bottom line. DTE Energy plans to aid businesses by informing them of the energy efficiency programs and incentives that are available to them.

With last year’s severe winter, including record-breaking lows, DTE Energy wants to support their business customers in preparing for the winter. This means taking advantage of available energy efficiency programs and incentives.  At the Summit, DTE Energy will provide information on low-cost energy efficiency solutions that save natural gas, as well as high-impact improvements such us HVAC system upgrades, insulation, and boilers. Business owners across all sectors will learn about low-cost and high-impact improvements that can make any business more efficient and comfortable.

Summit participants will also hear about the latest updates to DTE’s Energy Optimization Program and find out how they can participate in 2015. The summit will explore a large range of energy efficiency solutions in three categories:  popular improvements, bundled measures, and proactive steps.  Popular improvements include rooftop and boiler unit tune-ups, insulation, and pipe wrapping. Bundled measures include combining efficiency measures to achieve larger savings through DTE’s multi-measure bonus incentive. Proactive Steps prepare customers for winter weather with low-cost and simple steps to ensure facilities lower their heating costs. More information on DTE Energy can be found at www.dteenergy.com, more information on the Energy Efficiency Summit can be found at www.dteenergysummit.com.

MEEA Member Wins Prestigious DOE Award

MEEA Unplugged Blog - September 24, 2014 - 9:35am

MEEA is proud to announce that Green Energy Improvement, a MEEA Member and Participating Contractor with the Illinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program, has been recognized with a Housing Innovation Award by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The winners were announced on September 25 at the Excellence in Building Conference put on by the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) in St. Louis, Missouri. According to the DOE, the awards “recognize leaders from a number of Building Technologies Office residential programs including the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®, and Building America Top Innovations.”

Working in partnership with Illinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, a program sponsored by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and coordinated by MEEA, Green Energy Improvement has become a leader in innovative marketing and outreach strategies.  This women-owned business is led by a family with a long history of success in the construction, financing, and real estate industries, and has been a Participating Contractor with Illinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR since program launch, earning the very first Illinois Home Performance Silver Certificate of Completion.

MEEA and DCEO nominated Green Energy Improvement for their strong leadership in promoting a whole-home approach to home performance in the highly competitive Chicagoland region, as well as their commitment to advancing the Illinois Home Performance program’s most innovative features, such as the Certificate of Completion and outreach to the real estate community. Read more about the Housing Innovation Awards and Green Energy Improvement by visiting energy.gov/eere/buildings/housing-innovation-awards and greenenergyimprovement.com. For more information on the Illinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program, visit www.illinoishomeperformance.org.



MEEA Presents at ACEEE 2014 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings Conference

MEEA Unplugged Blog - August 25, 2014 - 2:30pm

Isaac Elnecave, MEEA’s Senior Policy Manager presented at the 2014 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings . This year’s conference theme was “The Next Generation: Reaching for High Energy Savings,” and Isaac presented his paper entitled, “I Want CANDI: Establishing a Utility Code Compliance Program in Illinois”.  CANDI is an acronym of the program participants – ComEd, Ameren, Nicor, DCEO and Integrys.  The paper was co-authored by Hammad Chaudhry, of Nicor Gas, and Stefano Galiasso, of the Energy Resource Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Isaac’s presentation discussed the establishment of an Illinois utility claimed-savings program that applies a consistent approach towards measuring energy code compliance, attributing savings, allocating costs, as well as determining savings and cost effectiveness. This program allows utilities to invest in energy code compliance enhancement efforts and then claim a portion of the energy savings created from the more energy efficient buildings being constructed due to the program.  It is one of the first energy code compliance claimed-savings programs in the country.  It is also the first program in Illinois to involve all investor-owned utilities and the state energy office.  The paper and the conference presentation discuss how these various issues were addressed and how the initial idea was formed into a coherent, comprehensive program.  The paper is available in the Proceedings of the 2014 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings.

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