Commercial

Buildings are the Biggest Energy Users. A Minnesota Town is Doing Something About It

Big cities aren’t the only ones making sustainable communities a priority.

On June 4, 2019, the Edina, MN City Council approved the Efficient Building Benchmarking Ordinance encouraging building owners to track and reduce their energy use. The initiative requires owners of existing commercial and multifamily buildings over 25,000 square feet to benchmark their building’s energy data. Edina is now the second city in Minnesota (after nearby Minneapolis) to require benchmarking.

Benchmarking: How Des Moines is Establishing a New Baseline in the Midwest

Des Moines, Iowa joined the ranks of some of the most sustainability-conscious cities in the Midwest when the city Council adopted a new benchmarking ordinance on June 3, 2019. The ordinance will require all city-owned buildings and privately-owned commercial and multifamily buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to report their energy and water usage to the city. Currently, large buildings in Des Moines account for 56% of greenhouse gas emissions, and this initiative will aid in the city’s goal of reducing their emissions 28% by 2025.

This Lighting Guide Helps Indoor Growers Weed Out Fraud

In November 2018, the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), "a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the widespread adoption of high-performing commercial lighting solutions", released the requirements for new lighting products to be registered on the plant-focused qualified products list (QPL). As of early May 2019, there are around 18 products listed on the QPL. As the list grows, it will serve as a helpful resource for those seeking information about plant-focused luminaires, especially growers in the indoor agriculture business like cannabis cultivators.

Knowledge is (Consumer) Power: Energy Disclosure in Real Estate Listings

Homeowners are increasingly interested in their homes’ energy use. Whether they want to save money on utility bills, make their living space more comfortable or live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, awareness of energy use in residential buildings is growing. Smart thermostats that allow homeowners better control over their heating and cooling costs have increased in popularity over the years, expected to reach 40 million U.S. homes by 2020.

6 Energy Efficiency Financing Options You Should Know

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

Policy Summit Preview: Good EE Policy for Economic Growth

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.

BOC Spotlight: Indoor Air Quality Expert Sharon Bessa

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?

Chicago Proposes 4-Star Rating System for Benchmarking

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.

Supporting the Energy Efficiency Workforce

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.