Explainer

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 d ata. 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.

Want Buildings that Stand Up to Extreme Weather? Stronger Energy Codes Can Help

According to the Weather Channel, the Plains and Midwest states have had the most extreme and record-breaking weather of any region in 2019. From the polar vortex gripping the Midwest and setting at least 340 cold weather records in late January, to the deluge of snow in February, capped off by devastating flooding in March and two snowstorms in April, Midwesterners and the Midwest have had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them!

Nebraska Just Passed the Midwest's Leading Energy Code

Nebraska’s buildings are about to get a lot more efficient. Seriously, a lot more efficient.

On Wednesday, May 8, Governor Ricketts signed LB405 into law. The bill, introduced by freshman Senator Megan Hunt, updates Nebraska’s statewide residential and commercial energy code to the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) without amendments, making Nebraska the leader in efficient building codes in the Midwest, and neck-and-neck with national leaders like Massachusetts and California.

Victory in Ohio: Energy Efficiency Rollback Bill Stalls without Action

With the conclusion of the 132nd General Assembly Session on December 31, 2018, a bill to significantly curtail Ohio’s energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) officially died, leaving the state’s clean energy economy preserved. This was a victory for Ohio’s many clean energy jobs, its economy, customers’ energy bills and the environment.

But the path to victory was not easy, and a diverse set of stakeholders, including MEEA, spent two years working with policymakers to ensure they understood the benefits of energy efficiency and the potential costs of passing H.B. 114.