2018 marked the first time that a Building Operator Certification (BOC) series was held in the Bluegrass State. Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) provided funding that subsidized the cost of tuition for students in 2018 while helping MEEA get the training off the ground and established in the state.
Energy efficiency improvements can be expensive and burdensome for residential homeowners, renters and building owners. Luckily, there are an increasing number of financial options to help cover the up-front costs of efficiency upgrades. Below, we lay out several financing options to make our homes and workplaces more energy efficient.
1. On-Bill Financing
On-bill financing is an umbrella term for a financing program where a charge is added to a customer’s energy bill to repay a loan from a utility for energy efficiency upgrades. The utility acts as the lender and incurs the upfront costs of the improvements.
How It Works
Energy efficiency investments and their resulting energy savings drive financial benefits throughout the Midwest region. To spread these benefits, on February 7, 2018, MEEA will host the "Good EE Policy for Economic Growth Summit" in Chicago. This free summit, sponsored by E4theFuture and preceding the 2018 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference, will focus on the ways energy efficiency advocates develop sound policy to drive regional economic and job growth.
As the effort to improve building efficiency continues, the effects these changes have on indoor air quality can easily be forgotten. Tighter buildings mean less energy wasted on space heating but can also result in decreased fresh airflow throughout the building, a necessary component to keeping the indoor environment safe.
Research has shown that energy efficiency can improve community health, but what issues should building occupants be aware of when it comes to their homes and workplaces?
Improving energy performance in buildings is a key strategy for the City of Chicago, which has committed to upholding the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. This includes a 26-28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025; the city is currently 40% of the way to meeting that goal. Because the energy used in buildings accounts for over 70% of the city’s current greenhouse gas emissions, reducing building energy use is essential to meeting this goal.
October 16-20 is “Careers in Energy Week” for the state of Illinois. Governor Rauner has recognized that a strong and diverse energy workforce is critical to support the large demand for safe, reliable and affordable energy to support Illinois families, communities and businesses. Energy efficiency is a key component to ensure affordability and reliability for years to come.
Property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing is off and running in the Midwest. PACE enables homeowners and commercial building owners to finance energy efficiency improvements through a special assessment on their property that is paid back through their tax bill. To date, there are 15 active PACE programs in the MEEA footprint. PACE-enabling legislation exists in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio and Nebraska, and legislation in Illinois has passed both state legislative houses and is awaiting the governor’s signature.
On March 22, 2017, the Illinois Commerce Commission passed a resolution initiating the NextGrid Utility of the Future Study. NextGrid will be an 18-month collaborative process to explore the ways in which alternative utility regulatory models, advances in technology, and consumer preferences and engagement can shape the grid of the future. This initiative will build upon the 2011 Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, the Illinois Statewide Smart Grid Collaborative and the recent Future Energy Jobs Act.
Scott Davis is a Facility Supervisor for Michigan’s State Facilities Administration (SFA) Building Operations Division. He is responsible for multiple large facilities located at the State Secondary Complex in Dimondale, Michigan. The complex consists of 13 facilities totaling approximately 2.5 million square feet and includes diverse building types for the state police academy, research laboratories, office buildings, warehouses and maintenance garages.
Building system controls that automate the use of HVAC, lighting and ventilation systems in commercial buildings continue to become more sophisticated, and the model energy code is keeping pace with these changes. In fact, since 2004, a third of all changes to the model energy code for commercial buildings are related to building system controls. Given this pace of change, it is reasonable to wonder if building professionals are able to ensure that energy systems are designed, installed and configured properly.