The Illinois State Board of Education has released application materials for a dollar-for-dollar grant program aimed at funding energy efficiency projects in schools. The Energy Efficiency Grant program will distribute $50 million to educational facilities over the next two years. According to the Board's website, 9 million of those dollars will be doled out to schools this fall. Eligible locations include “all school districts, charter schools, vocational center or public university laboratory schools.”
Funds may be allocated for a wide range of energy efficiency efforts. Potential projects could include purchasing high-efficiency lighting or insulation, installing optimal windows and doors, or integrating alternative energy into school buildings. Schools are encouraged to pursue funding for these, as well as any other improvements or programs that aim to reduce energy demand and/or increase operational efficiency.
More information—including grant application guidelines and materials—are foun ...Read the rest of entry »
In a recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Chicago, IL, home to the headquarters of Sieben Energy Associates, landed a spot on the organization’s list of leading “Energy-Smart” Cities. Chicago was applauded for its city-wide sustainability efforts, most notably those in buildings.
The report specifically emphasized Chicago’s strides in energy efficiency: “One of Chicago’s top priorities is making its buildings, already known for their architectural history, known for their energy efficiency.” Other notable achievements include a building code that rewards efficiency projects and sustainable building practices, the installation of heat pumps to create a more diversified power grid, and the city’s exceptional green roof efforts. Chicago also leads the U.S. in LEED Certified buildings.
Sieben Energy Associates has been at the forefront of energy efficiency and green building in Chicago for twenty years, and we know that there is always energy to be saved. Chicago’s buildings a ...Read the rest of entry »
Data centers—the modern digital warehouses—use massive amounts of energy to both power and cool servers. As hardware costs continue to fall and energy costs continue to rise, it seems only natural that data center operators are focusing their attention on becoming more energy efficient to reduce operating expenses.
The EPA recently expanded its Energy Star rating system to include a scale specifically for data centers. NetApp’s RTP center is the first to achieve the certification. The North Carolina facility earned 99 out of a possible 100 points (only 75 are required for the Energy Star rating), aided in part by a unique overhead distribution cooling system and cooling with outside air during two-thirds of the year. These efficient approaches to cooling help the data center reduce energy costs substantially and cut carbon emissions by 95,000 tons per year.
For more information on Energy Star validation for data centers, visit the EPA’s dedicated website: Energy ...Read the rest of entry »
It is the Senate’s turn to evaluate climate change legislation and carbon pricing mechanisms. On June 26, 2009 The House of Representatives narrowly passed H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act, with a vote of 219 to 212. The bill was co-sponsored by Representatives Henry Waxman (D–Cal) and Ed Markey (D–Mass); it is often referred to as Waxman-Markey. Title III of Waxman-Markey articulates a carbon pricing structure through a cap on emissions of the nation’s largest emitters using emission allowance permits. The trading of permits is intended to develop a market for efficiently reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
(For more information on H.R. 2454 read, “The Road Ahead for Energy and Climate Policy: An Overview of Possible Directions and Their Impact on Business,” by Dan Bailey at Sieben Energy Associates.)
Nearly 10 months after H.R. 2454 and following a riveting debate on healthcare, the Senate now has the opportunity to turn their attention ...Read the rest of entry »
The Pew Center on Global Climate Change held an energy efficiency conference in Chicago on April 6 and 7. This year it was entitled From Shop Floor to Top Floor: Best Business Practices in Energy Efficiency and coincided with their release of a report on the best practices in corporate energy efficency.
Interesting keynote and luncheon speakers ranging from Suzanne Malec-McKenna, the City of Chicago’s Commissioner of its Department of Environment to John Rowe, Chairman and CEO of Exelon Corporation, to former Senator John Warner, helped set the context for the conference—that the world is changing, and that fossil fuel-generated carbon emissions will surely become an economic factor within our society—with an associated cost borne by consumers.
Sustainability and environmental representatives of household name companies such as Toyota, IBM, Best Buy, PepsiCo, Johnson & Johnson, Hewlett Packard, Coca Cola and the Mars Candy described their companies’ efforts to establish and attain sustainab ...Read the rest of entry »
The Georgia Institute of Technology and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute have jointly released a report that summarizes the potential for energy efficiency in buildings across all 16 southern and mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia. Entitled “Energy Efficiency in the South,” the key metrics are astounding. The authors conclude that substantial (but by no means exhaustive) energy efficiency programs, implemented aggressively in businesses and homes across the entire region, have the potential to reduce utility bills by $41 billion, create 380,000 new jobs, limit the need for new power plants, and save 8.6 billion gallons of freshwater by 2020. Georgia Tech’s own press release about the study provides additional details and background about the co-lead researchers, Dr. Marilyn Brown of Georgia Tech and Etan Gumerman of Duke.
Measures to reduce energy consumption often show the least traction in southern U.S. states, where the demand for air conditioning during periods of intense summer heat pl ...Read the rest of entry »
Indeed they do! The US Department of Energy does check on manufacturer claims related to energy efficiency and will issue a Notice of Noncompliance. On March 30, 2010 the DOE did just that to AeroSys, Inc. of Hagerstown, MD. According to DOE tests, AeroSys was producing and distributing “one air conditioner and one heat pump” that “consume more energy than allowed under federal efficiency standards.”
In their own press release, DOE General Counsel Scott Blake Harris exclaimed, “This action is designed to send a clear message to all manufacturers – this Administration takes energy efficiency seriously and we well act aggressively to remove any products from the market that are violating national appliance standards.”
Read more about the DOE's action in response to unsubstantiated appliance efficiency claims at the DOE website.Read the rest of entry »
The built environment is responsible for approximately two-thirds of carbon emissions from energy use in cities around the world. Implementing energy efficient solutions in buildings from the past is equivalent to tapping into a new reserve of energy resources.
Buildings of the future should be designed to harness the resource of efficiency before they are on the ground. The Pearl River is an example of such a project.
Located in Guangzhou, China, the Pearl River is “one of the most energy-efficient skyscrapers in the world." From the Chicago-based architecture firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), this 2.3-million-square-foot building is uniquely designed with sustainability attributes to take advantage of wind and solar energy. Energy-efficient technologies include integrated turbines, solar panels, double skin curtain wall, daylight harvesting and more.
The building is slated for completion by the end of 2010.
Read more about Pearl River at the SOM website.Read the rest of entry »
The energy (reduction) potential in America’s building stock is a tremendous resource, equivalent to tapping a second Saudi Arabia. The energy appetite of America’s buildings is enormous, but we can begin to cut back on the excess without sacrificing comfort or performance.
Craig Sieben spoke to this theme last week before the Realty Club of Chicago in a speech entitled “America’s Building Stock – The Second Saudi Arabia.” Craig referenced the excellent work of Art Rosenfeld, an award-winning scientist, one of the earliest promoters of energy efficiency in the U.S.—and one of Craig’s personal mentors.
In his speech, Craig emphasized smart and simple examples of what building owners and managers can do to cut back on their energy consumption. Reducing the energy appetite of our buildings is one small step towards a goal of U.S. energy independence. How can this be? Let’s do the math.
In 2008, the U.S. imported 1.5 million barrels of oil per day from Saudi Arabia. We consumed about 19.5 million barrels per d ...Read the rest of entry »
What is the realistic potential for energy and cost reduction in our nation’s buildings through energy efficiency? Craig Sieben will be answering that question during an address before the Realty Club this Friday, March 19. This private event will be held at the Union League Club of Chicago. The Realty Club, celebrating its 100th birthday this year, consists of a group of developers, architects, attorneys, economists, brokers, appraisers, and other professionals involved in real estate. They invited Craig to speak about the value inherent in making our existing buildings more energy-efficient. The title of his speech, "America’s Building Stock – the Second Saudi Arabia," hints at a value that may greatly surpass most people’s expectations. What does Craig mean by the "second Saudi Arabia" in our buildings? Check out this blog again the week after this event for a summary of his message to the Realty Club.
Next week, March 3-5, the Wall Street Journal is once again hosting its premier environmental event for chief executives and policymakers "who are shaping the green business market." This year’s ECO:nomics Creating Environmental Capital Conference will be held in Santa Barbara, California at the Bacara Resort and Spa.
Just a few of the many leaders who will be participating are Dr. Steven Chu (Energy Secretary), Robert A. Iger (President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company), Peter Voser (Chief Executive of Royal Dutch Shell), Michael G. Morris (Chairman, President, and CEO of American Electric Power), T. Boone Pickens (Chairman of BP Capital Management), and Amory Lovins (Chairman and Chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute).
The Wall Street Journal describes the motivation for the conference as follows:
At this critical moment, with prospects for a global carbon emissions regime in flux, there is an urgent need for new answers. Corporate CEOs and entrepreneurs alike must alter their strategies to a ...Read the rest of entry »
The U.S. will agree to carbon cuts during the upcoming Copenhagen summit, but will they be enough? Concern is growing over the amount of carbon that the U.S. will agree to limit in the coming years. This concern is not a one-way battle; US law makers appear weary over too high of expectations in carbon reductions while Europe and other key climate change combaters seem skeptical of the US’s non-committal stance to be an equal partner in the fight against global warming. It is widely agreed that climate change is a global issue which transcends national boundaries and dismisses domestic political debacles regardless of their seemingly weighty importance on a sustained economy. Nevertheless, limits are in the foreseeable future for the US, albeit likely lower than the limits proposed in Europe.
Just how carbon reduction targets will affect business-as-usual is somewhat unclear, but, at least in the short-run, energy efficiency provides a mechanism to improve the bottom-line while reducing the environm ...Read the rest of entry »