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MEEA is excited to present the 2019 Midwest Energy Efficiency Spotlight, which showcases the positive impacts that energy efficiency policies and programs have had for Midwestern residents and businesses. The metrics we focused on demonstrate the impressive amount of energy saved, but also look beyond the savings at the job training, job creation and improved building stock across the region. Ultimately, we are casting a spotlight on how the energy efficiency industry creates prosperous and resilient state and regional economies.

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The Midwest region saved more than 9.4 million MWh in 2017. The top five states demonstrate the regional leaders in energy savings, but are shown in no particular order.

In 2019, our 13 states will collectively invest $1.85 billion dollars in energy efficiency (both electric and natural gas). Energy efficiency investment in the Midwest has more than doubled over the past decade and is almost 15 times what it was at the turn of the millennium. This investment demonstrates a regional commitment to energy efficiency and is evidence that utilities, policymakers, regulators and stakeholders recognize that energy efficiency is a critical part of the energy industry.

Editor's Note: This figure includes Illinois' bridge period, and thus represents 19 months of data from Illinois. Disaggregation was not possible. 

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The Midwest region saved nearly 147 million therms in 2017. The top five states represent the regional leaders in energy savings, but are listed in no particular order.

municipal and cooperative utilities

When we talk about energy savings, we are not only looking at the investor-owned utilities. The Midwest has a number of municipal and cooperative utilities running strong energy efficiency programs in largely rural communities and expanses across the region. 

Based on annual federal energy reporting for 2017, these are the top 10 electricity-saving municipal, cooperative and public power utilities in the Midwest.

states with policy collaboratives

When we look at the policies driving energy efficiency, we know that states in our region are achieving energy savings through a number of different policy approaches. Some states use mandatory savings requirements while others utilize long range planning processes. One of the things we have found to drive transparency and improve program design, regardless of the directives to utilities, is the use of a statewide policy collaborative. Design-side management (DSM) collaboratives bring together utilities, implementers, evaluators, utility commission staff, consumer advocates and other stakeholders. These collaboratives facilitate information sharing and aim to reduce the number of contested issues in regulatory commission proceedings.

Illinois has a long running statewide collaborative and its website helps facilitate public participation in the collaborative.

Both Illinois and Michigan’s collaboratives are sustained through monthly meetings that occur on an, approximately, monthly basis allowing for continued dialogue and regular updating of resources supporting the implementation of EE programs.

Finally, the Missouri Public Service Commission staff have revitalized the statewide collaborative over the course of 2018 following passage of a charter filed with the Public Service Commission in late 2017.

2018 also brought the emergence of collaborative work groups in these three states focused on low-income and income qualified resources, programs and related issues.

map of states with TRMs

Evaluating energy savings is, perhaps, the linchpin of our industry. Evaluation, measurement and verification efforts ensure that the promised benefits of energy efficiency are accruing to consumers and the state writ large. It is both an art and a science; a process that benefits from standardized methodology and broad stakeholder buy-in. To that end, these are the states that have worked to establish some type of statewide approach to energy efficiency evaluation. As new approaches to measurement and verification are adopted, the role of a statewide evaluation framework remains a means of creating transparency, credibility and accountability for an industry producing a largely invisible energy resource.

states that save the most from energy codes

Strong building energy codes are one of the best approaches for creating an energy efficient new building stock in both the commercial and residential sectors. Some states in the Midwest have been national leaders in adopting new building energy codes. The five states achieving the greatest energy savings through building energy code adoption are featured for the residential and commercial sectors. The “superlatives” that we call out here speak to the need for states to adopt updated energy codes, do so on a regular basis, and improve compliance with existing energy codes.

Last year, St. Louis, MO updated its residential and commercial code from the 2009 to the 2018 IECC, earning the recognition of most improved adoption. Illinois earns the most improved compliance award as they implemented a statewide utility supported energy code compliance collaborative and residential and commercial baseline studies. Lastly, Nebraska achieved the rising star award as the state completed a residential compliance study and held hearings to adopt the 2018 IECC.

states with code collaboratives

Statewide collaboratives are also valuable in the builder energy codes sector. As indicated by the map, collaboratives in the Midwest are gaining in popularity as demonstrated by our two newest collaboratives, Michigan and Missouri. We anticipate these collaboratives to be as active in 2019 as Illinois has been this year!

top chp generators

Another way that the built environment is benefiting from energy efficiency is through the deployment of combined heat and power (CHP). CHP, or cogeneration, generates both heat and mechanical or electrical energy from a single fuel source over 40% more efficiently than traditional generation. In states where it can be counted toward energy efficiency goals, CHP is more efficient and cost-effective than providing heat and electricity separately since the heat that is normally wasted in conventional power generation is recovered in the cogeneration process.

Manufacturing and institutional facilities like universities and hospitals, as well as commercial buildings like hotels, are taking advantage of CHP to improve the reliability and resiliency of their operations.

More than 79 million MWh of electricity were generated through CHP in our region in 2017.


energy star certified homes

Within the residential sector, a number of states in our region operate Home Performance with ENERGY STAR programs. This program helps homeowners save money on their energy bills and creates value for energy efficiency in the residential real estate market. The program helps homebuyers easily identify homes that have had energy efficiency measures installed. MEEA contributes to this work by implementing the award-winning Illinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. Through Illinois Home Performance, over 10,000 ENERGY STAR certificates have been issued to Illinois residents since the program started in 2009.

boc graduate numbers

In the commercial and industrial sector, the Building Operator Certification program drives operational efficiency and creates professional advancement and economic opportunities for facilities operators. The Building Operator Certification® (BOC) program achieves measurable energy savings by training individuals directly responsible for day-to-day building operations and maintenance technicians. BOC graduates use the tools learned in training to help their facilities save energy, reduce costs and improve the efficiency of their building systems.

But more than that, this is a job training and workforce development program that adds skills and increases building operators’ value in the job market. According to NEEC’s 2012 Career Advancement Survey, 51% of BOC-certified professionals receive a salary increase, 25% are promoted, 16% receive bonuses and 9% acquire a new position. MEEA has run this program since 2003 helping 6,042 building operators achieve certification.

map of ee product manufacturers

Energy efficiency is proudly made in the Midwest. We have identified almost 600 manufacturing locations for energy efficient products in the Midwest, as well as headquarter locations of manufacturing companies. These dots represent facilities associated with more than 400 companies and brands.

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The Spotlight highlights the numerous energy efficiency success stories across our region, but these successes do not come easily: the Midwest contains the bulk of the nation’s industrial sector, has numerous communities whose economies are entrenched with fossil fuel generation, has low electricity and natural gas costs, and is home to some of the widest seasonal temperature and climate swings in the nation.

Every state in our region is a part of the energy efficiency industry, and the benefits of energy efficiency are having a profound impact on our built environment and job markets. Energy efficiency is a local resource with broad support from those in red and blue states, high income and disadvantaged communities, and rural and urban areas alike. We look forward to continuing to shine a spotlight on our region and our success.

Learn about our methodology and sources here. Questions? Contact MEEA Policy Manager Nick Hromalik.

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home with a star in it (energystar certified homes)
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