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MEEA Presents at AEA’s 2015 Multifamily Buildings Conference

MEEA Unplugged Blog - November 19, 2015 - 4:26pm

MEEA successfully gave a workshop style presentation on energy data acquisition at the Affordable Energy Association’s 2015 Multifamily Buildings Conference in Brooklyn, NY on October 28-30, 2015. Together with Ellen M. Sargent, Chicago Housing Authority; and Ryan Snow, USGBC National; Steve Kismohr from MEEA brought concepts and related activities on how to engage Building Asset Managers to acquire base building information and manage energy use.

During the workshop, attendees learned some of the concepts behind ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager’s Multi-Family tool, as well as the data necessary to achieve a 1 to 100 score within the tool. Participants were given a sample building with general building characteristics and asked to determine a few data points necessary to receive an ENERGY STAR score. Each person left with a new understanding of how to use the tool and the collection process necessary to obtain the data.

MEEA Program Associate Sage Gerson also presented on three panels at the conference on a range of topics, including the on-bill financing, the Building Operator Certification (BOC) program, and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Her first panel focused on funding multifamily energy efficiency, and included presentations by Matt Golden from Efficiency.org and Cycle7’s Sean Patrick Neill. Sage’s presentation highlighted the growing successes of multifamily energy efficiency on-bill financing in the Midwest.

Sage then presented about the professional development and energy efficiency benefits of the Building Operator Certification program, which MEEA manages in 10 Midwestern states. This presentation was part of a larger panel about opportunities for multifamily building operators, and Sage presented alongside Andrew Brooks and Nick Young from the Association for Energy Affordability and Heather Larson from StopWaste.org, a public agency focusing on waste reduction from Oakland, CA.  One of the audience members was BOC LV I and LV II certified and offered an impromptu testimonial about the program after Sage concluded presenting. Interested in the panel? Sage will be hosting a MEEA programs webinar about the benefits of multifamily operator trainings on November 23, 2015 at 12:00 PM CST. Contact her at sgerson@mwalliance.org for more information.

Sage’s third presentation, along with ACEEE’s Lauren Ross, Jackson Morris from the Natural Resources Defense Council, NASEO’s Sandy Fazeli and Southface’s Alex Trachtenberg about the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, drew the largest crowd and featured a robust question and answer session at the end of the presentations.

The conference was a huge success, there were approximately 400 attendees from across the nation, and many opportunities for stakeholders to network and exchange best practices. For more information visit: http://aea.us.org/. Stay tuned, the Association for Energy Affordability will be posting recordings, photos and blog posts about the conference over the next few weeks.

6th Annual Midwest Energy Data and Building Codes Conference Recap

MEEA Unplugged Blog - November 19, 2015 - 3:37pm

Isaac Elnecave, Senior Policy Manager for MEEA, kicks off the conference

MEEA held its 6th Annual Midwest Energy Data and Building Codes Conference in Minneapolis, MN from November 3 -5, 2015. The event was a success with over 110 professionals from various sectors in the building community in attendance throughout the two and a half day conference. Attendees included professionals from federal, state and local energy offices, federal laboratories, utilities, consulting agencies, construction companies, and code enforcement agencies. Throughout the conference, attendees had an opportunity to learn from energy data and code experts, network and share ideas with colleagues, enjoy Minneapolis establishments and the unseasonably warm weather!

Day 1:  Energy Data Session

Katie Jones Schmitt, from the Center for Energy and Environment, highlights their work with the City of Minneapolis on energy data cleansing and analysis efforts.

The Conference began with presentations focused on the topic of energy data collection and management, as well as building energy benchmarking programs. With nearly 80 attendees, this portion of the conference nearly doubled in size from previous years! As more and more building owners, managers, and organizations understand the benefits of tracking and using energy consumption data for their buildings, MEEA see this trend continuing.

After a brief welcome to Minneapolis by Brendon Slotterback, Sustainability Manager of the City of Minneapolis who was instrumental in passage of the city’s Commercial Building Benchmarking and Transparency ordinance, the day was organized into four panels of varying on topics. The first panel included cities and states that are leading initiatives on energy data collection and use – Leaders in the Midwest. The second included speakers whom have experience in navigating data collection, cleansing, and use of the data for energy savings. After lunch, the third set of panelists described different means to measure and collect data – beyond energy and municipal boundaries – to simultaneously include indoor air quality (IAQ), acoustics, and transportation energy use. The last panel dove into the successes and unique challenges of energy data collection and results within multi-family housing buildings.

At the end of the day one, Steve Kismohr, Senior Technical Manager for MEEA whom facilitated the day, led attendees through a networking and group think exercise to process how all these presentations related to each other. This exercise helped solidify concepts discussed and provided an opportunity for attendees to make suggestions for next year’s event. If you are interested in the full breakdown of presentations and panelists, see the day’s Energy Data Agenda. PDF’s of each presentation will be available shortly.

Day 2: Codes Session 

The second day of the conference initiated the energy building codes portion of the conference. This session had approximately 80 building professionals in attendance to kick things off. To start the day, Isaac Elnecave called on contacts in various states in the Midwest to discuss the current status and energy code progress from each state.

Bruce Selway, Energy Efficiency Education Manager for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, provides a state update for Illinois and highlights the Illinois Energy Conservation Code Training Manuals and recent 2015 IECC adoption process.

After the state update and introductions, the conference began a packed schedule with presenters from around the nation. The first panel started with a technical presentation and demonstration on the NREL Building Energy Optimization (BEopt) Modeling Program. This presentation highlighted the capabilities this free energy modeling system has in assessing the energy use and construction cost of a new residential energy building code.  During the second panel, we heard experiences from professionals involved in the 2015 IECC adoption processes in Illinois and Vermont.  The 2015 Illinois Energy Conservation Code is slated for adoption on January 1, 2016 and Vermont adopted a version of the 2015 IECC – with solar energy provisions in the Energy Rating Index (ERI) compliance section – in December 2014.

Eric Wilson, Engineer, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), demonstrates the NREL Building Energy Optimization (BEopt) Modeling program.

After lunch, Jeremy Williams, Project Manager for the Department of Energy (DOE) and Isaac Elnecave provided an update on the DOE Code Compliance Studies in the third panel of the day. Jeremy spoke about the DOE Code Compliance methodology and preliminary results from states included in the study, and Isaac Elnecave (MEEA) presented MEEA’s findings from the first phase of the Kentucky Code Compliance study.

The fourth panel – on ventilation – brought in experts to talk about the newly adopted ventilation requirements in Minnesota and the results from a ventilation effectiveness study conducted in the Pacific Northwest. To wrap up the day, Chris Mctaggart, Executive Director for the Midwest Home Performance Association (MHPA) discussed the role that the MHPA will have as third party verifiers become more prevalent in code compliance.  Ian Blanding, Building Policy Associate for MEEA, presented his preliminary findings after analyzing the rated features of over 5000 HERS rated homes in Iowa.

Alison Lindburg, Policy Director, Fresh Energy, highlights the important codes compliance work that emerged from the Minnesota Codes Collaborative.

Day 3: Codes Session

The final day of the conference focused on code compliance and opportunities for energy codes and building performance in the future. The first panel – designed around energy code compliance – featured speakers discussing the approach to developing an effective commercial compliance study and effective state energy code compliance collaborative. The second panel of the day highlighted the potential development and benefits of including a Multi-family chapter in the IECC. The last panel of the conference looked ahead to the future of buildings and brought in high performance building experts to discuss construction practices that can achieve significant improvements in building energy performance over simply building a home to the current energy code.  For a full recap of the presentations from day two and three, please review the Codes Session Agenda.

The MEEA Buildings Team celebrating a great conference! From left to right, Ian Blanding (Building Policy Associate), Chris Burgess (Technical Manager for Codes Compliance), Steve Kismohr (Sr. Technical Manager), Isaac Elnecave (Sr. Policy Manager), Kelsey Horton (Sr. Program Associate)


Thank You

In all, the event was a huge success having brought together public, private and non- profit organizations to learn and share ideas about current and future building energy performance. MEEA would like to thank all those who attended and were involved in the 6th Annual energy building codes and benchmarking conference – your work and commitment to building performance throughout the year is what makes this event possible. The planning has already begun for next year’s highly anticipated event, so stay tuned.


Clean Energy Incentive Program Comments Due to the EPA by December 15, 2015

MEEA Unplugged Blog - November 19, 2015 - 2:01pm

By Nikhil Vijaykar, MEEA Senior Policy Associate

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its final Clean Power Plan (CPP) in the Federal Register on October 23, 2015. The Clean Power Plan is aimed at reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants. As a part of the final Clean Power Plan, the EPA provided a Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) to reward early investments in renewable energy (RE) generation as well as demand-side energy efficiency (EE) measures in low-income communities, which generate carbon-free MWh or reduce end-use energy demand in the two years preceding the start of the CPP compliance period (2020-2021).  EPA will make additional “matching” federal credits available to states electing to participate in the CEIP, in order to further incentivize early reductions from RE and EE in low-income communities.

Public Comments on the Clean Energy Incentive Program

Although parties may no longer submit comments on the Emission Guidelines established by the CPP, EPA is accepting comments on the CEIP through December 15, 2015. Interested parties may submit their input using one of the following methods:

EPA Docket Center
Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code: 28221T
Washington, D.C. 20460

Parties submitting comments should identify the Docket ID Number corresponding to the Clean Energy Incentive Program: EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0734. MEEA will be submitting its comments on the CEIP to the EPA, based on its experience with energy efficiency policy and programs in Midwestern states.

EPA is specifically interested in hearing input on the following questions:

What should EPA consider when defining criteria, terms and requirements under the CEIP?

  • What definition(s) of ‘low-income community’ should be required for eligible energy-efficiency (EE) projects?
  • What criteria should be used to define eligible wind and solar projects, as well as eligible EE projects implemented in low-income communities? (e.g., by sector (residential, commercial, etc.) or by geography (where a project takes place and who benefits from it))
  • What should be the evaluation, measurement and & verification (EM&V) requirements for eligible projects; the requirements for M&V reports of quantified megawatt-hour (MWh); and the requirements for verification reports from an independent verifier?
  • How could EPA set criteria for states, tribes and territories for which goals have not yet been established in the final Clean Power Plan’s Emission Guidelines (EGs) to participate in the CEIP?
  • What commencement date is appropriate for a project to qualify as eligible for the CEIP?
  • How should ‘commence construction’ of an eligible wind or solar project and ‘commence operations’ of an eligible low-income EE project be defined?
  • Should CEIP allowances or emission reduction credits (ERCs) be available for projects in jurisdictions without affected entities (e.g. tribal lands and states without EGUs).  If so, how should the CEIP mechanism be designed to address these areas?

What should EPA consider regarding the timing and distribution of allowances under the CEIP?

  • How should the 300 million short ton CO2 emissions-equivalent matching pool be allocated among states participating in the CEIP?
  • How should the 300 million short ton matching pool be split between the two reserves: one for wind/solar, one for low-income EE?
  • When should EPA allocate matching allowances or emission reduction credits (ERCs) to a state, and when should awards from these allocations be made to eligible project providers?
  • How should matching allowances or ERCs that are allocated to a state but not awarded to eligible projects be redistributed among other states with unmet demand for matching allowances or ERCs, and when should this redistribution take place?

What should EPA consider when designing the mechanics of the CEIP?

  • What are the appropriate mechanisms a state (in the case of a state plan) or EPA (in the case of a federal plan) should use to review project submittals and issue early action allowances or ERCs?
  • How should the 300 million short ton CO2 emissions-equivalent matching pool be converted into ERCs, which are based on MWh?
  • What mechanisms should EPA consider for maintaining the stringency of rate-based emission standards during the compliance periods to account for the issuance of early action ERCs for MWh generated or avoided in 2020 and/or 2021?
CEIP Calls with EPA

EPA is hosting four calls prior to the comment deadline in order to gather input from key stakeholders.  This input will help EPA in designing further action specifying the design and implementation details of the CEIP.  During each call, EPA will provide a brief overview of the CEIP and then will invite participants to provide their input. EPA will give participants up to three minutes to present their remarks.

Call 1 was held on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, and focused on input from potential CEIP project providers.


The details of the forthcoming calls are as follows:

Call 2: Focus – Potential CEIP Project Partners. This call will focus on hearing ideas and input from groups that have a general interest in CEIP projects such as environmental justice groups, community groups, local governments, tribes, and environmental non-governmental organizations.

Date: Monday, November 23, 2015
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. EST
Participant Dial-in Number: (877) 290-8017
Conference ID#: 72559715


Call 3: Focus – Potential CEIP Credit Issuers. This call will focus on hearing ideas and input from states and tribes with affected power plants.

Date:  Monday, November 30, 2015
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. EST
Participant Dial-in Number:  (877) 290-8017
Conference ID#: 72560287


Call 4: Focus – General.  This call will focus on hearing ideas from stakeholders who were unable to attend one of the first three sessions.

Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Time: 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. EST
Participant Dial-in Number: (877) 290-8017
Conference ID#: 72558409


MEEA Highlights HVAC SAVE on Upcoming Programs Committee Webinar

MEEA Unplugged Blog - October 16, 2015 - 9:00am

MEEA will hold a Programs Committee webinar on Thursday, October 22nd highlighting the HVAC SAVE program’s success in Iowa.

On this webinar, Sarah Edwards of MEEA will present on the program development and highlights of HVAC SAVE, a residential quality installation program. John von Harz of Energy Stewards International will present on contractor market transformation in Iowa as a result of the HVAC SAVE program. The topics discussed on this webinar will be explored further in a white paper on HVAC SAVE that will be released later this fall.

We will then open up the call for discussion, and attendees can strategize around future opportunities for HVAC SAVE and ways that the development model could be used with other energy efficiency sectors or technologies.

The webinar is only open to members of the MEEA Programs Committee. Register online for the webinar if you are already a member of the Programs Committee, or contact Kelsey Horton at khorton@mwalliance.org if you would like to join the Programs Committee and take part in the webinar.

MEEA to Present at Association for Energy Affordable Housing Conference

MEEA Unplugged Blog - October 15, 2015 - 2:44pm

MEEA continues to bring tools and educational programs to multifamily building operators and owners to reduce their energy consumption. As such, we will be highlighting the best of these at a conference at the end of October. A MEEA member, the Association for Energy Affordability is holding the Multifamily Buildings 2015: Building Bridges to Net Zero conference this year in Brooklyn, NY – devoted entirely to multifamily energy efficiency. We hope to see you there!

Program Associate and MEEA multifamily team member Sage Gerson will be presenting on three panels at the conference. The first panel focuses on funding multifamily energy efficiency, and Sage will be presenting with Matt Golden from Efficiency.org and Cycle7’s Sean Patrick Neill. The panel is titled Stimulating Investment in Energy Efficiency Measures and Clean Energy Technologies. Sage’s presentation highlights the development and success of on-bill financing for multifamily energy efficiency in the Midwest.

Later that afternoon, Sage will be presenting about the professional development and energy efficiency benefits of the Building Operator Certification program that MEEA manages in 10 Midwestern states. Sage will be presenting as part of a larger panel about opportunities for multifamily building operators alongside Andrew Brooks and Nick Young from the Association for Energy Affordability and Heather Larson from StopWaste.org, a public agency focusing on waste reduction from Oakland, CA.

For her third presentation, Sage will be part of a panel, along with ACEEE’s Lauren Ross, Jackson Morris from the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Southface’s Alex Trachtenberg about the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, entitled No Multifamily Building Left Behind.

Steve Kismohr, Senior Technical Manager and Multifamily team member, will present a workshop with Katie Kaluzny from USGBC-IL and Ellen Sargent from the Chicago Housing Authority. They will highlight the Data Jam event, which MEEA co-created, to establish an internal building energy performance measurement program for HUD-subsidized, senior buildings in Chicago, IL. The “Data Jam” uniquely engaged CHA’s energy and facility managers together in one, in-person event. Both CHA staff and volunteer industry experts were brought together to create a long term data collection and benchmarking practice, while creating a roadmap of additional sustainable practices for senior housing facilities via USGBC’s new ADVANCE platform.

Unable to make the Multifamily Buildings Conference, but still interested in more information about the presentations listed above? Contact Sage Gerson at sgerson@mwalliance.org or Steve Kismohr at skismohr@mwalliance.org.

Committee Recommends Indefinite Freeze on Ohio Clean Energy Standards

MEEA Unplugged Blog - October 1, 2015 - 12:36pm

Photo credit: Arlenz Chen

On Wednesday, the Ohio Energy Mandates Study Committee (created under SB 310) released their recommendation on the near-term future of mandated energy efficiency  and renewable energy standards in Ohio. The report recommends the General Assembly impose an indefinite freeze of these standards.

Many allies of energy efficiency expressed disappointment with the report’s recommendations. Ohio Governor John Kasich echoed these sentiments. “A continued freeze of Ohio’s energy standards is unacceptable,” said Kasich spokesman Joe Andrews, “and we stand willing to work with the Ohio General Assembly to craft a bill that supports a diverse mix of reliable, low-cost energy sources while preserving the gains we have made in the state’s economy.”

MEEA will continue to track this and other developments, including legislative proposals. The Ohio General Assembly will resume the legislative session on October 7. MEEA is looking to potentially hold meetings and will discuss the ramifications of the report with Ohio’s MEEA members, policymakers and stakeholders.

If you would like to get involved or if you have any questions about the Energy Mandates Study Committee findings and recommendations, please contact Policy Manager Nick Dreher at ndreher@mwalliance.org. Or visit MEEA’s Ohio Policy Page for our testimony to the committee, fact sheets, policy summaries and other resources.

Inspiring Efficiency Award Nominations Close September 18

MEEA Unplugged Blog - September 11, 2015 - 11:25am

Update (9/17): The IEA nomination period has been extended through Wednesday, September 23. 

Each year the Inspiring Efficiency Awards recognize Midwest leaders who deliver groundbreaking achievements in energy efficiency in five categories: Education, Impact, Innovation, Leadership and Marketing. The deadline for nominations is fast approaching!

Nominate a campaign, program or leader at MEEAConference.org by Friday, September 18 and help us honor the Midwest’s energy efficiency elite.

The awards will be presented at a dinner and gala celebration on Thursday, February 25 during the 2016 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference. Apply now!


Does an organization have to be headquartered in the Midwest to apply?

No, but you must demonstrate the program’s impact in at least one of the 13 states MEEA serves.

Is there an application fee?


Can I apply in multiple categories?

You sure can!



MEEA Supports Energy Codes in St. Louis County

MEEA Unplugged Blog - August 21, 2015 - 12:39pm

At the August 12th St. Louis County Building Commission Meeting, the Missouri Sierra Club Chapter and nineteen residents delivered a petition (in the shape of a home) in support of adopting the 2015 Residential International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) as written. In addition, the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), as well as other technical experts in the field of healthy homes, Net-Zero Energy construction, home energy assessments and low-income communities, testified about the benefits the 2015 IECC will bring to St. Louis County and its residents.


This petition was delivered in response to weakening amendments that were proposed by the Home Builders Association (HBA) of St. Louis and Eastern Missouri and then accepted, with minor changes, by the Building Code Review Committee (BCRC).

These accepted amendments include making the window U-factor, wall insulation, ceiling insulation and basement insulation requirements of the 2015 IECC less stringent. Additional amendments include removing the requirement for the building energy certificate, blower door testing, duct testing and high efficacy lighting.

Energy Impact

MEEA determined the proposed Residential 2015 IECC is actually less energy efficient than the current St. Louis County 2009 Residential IECC, if the BCRC-accepted amendments are factored in. According to MEEA’s analysis, if the county were to adopt the un-amended 2015 IECC, homeowners could expect to save approximately $436 annually; however, if the county were to adopt the 2015 IECC with current BCRC-approved amendments, homeowners could expect to spend an additional $152 annually, when compared to the current St. Louis County 2009 Residential IECC.

The BCRC is still reviewing the full suite of the 2015 International Building Codes, but they will send their final recommendations to the St. Louis County Building Commission upon completion. The building commission is expected to release a draft code and hold a public hearing for comments, which will likely happen in late 2015 or early 2016.

A full synopsis of the event can be found on these local news outlets:  St. Louis Public Radio, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and St. Louis Construction News and Review.

MEEA Staff Presents at 2015 ACEEE Summer Study

MEEA Unplugged Blog - August 17, 2015 - 9:57am

MEEA Staff members Greg Ehrendreich and Mark Milby presented on Wed., Aug 5, at the 2015 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry in Buffalo, NY.

Mark’s paper “A Midstream Cogged V-Belt Pilot Program: Concept and Early Challenges” was co-authored with AEP Ohio, Dayton Power & Light, Argonne National Laboratory, and Go Sustainable, LLC. The paper describes the group’s efforts in developing and launching a novel midstream incentive pilot program in Ohio aimed at increasing the market share of cogged v-belts in commercial HVAC applications, which are about 3% more efficient than standard v-belts. Mark’s presentation of his work was part of the conference panel “Delivering Results.”

Greg’s paper “Living Up to Its Potential: Industrial Energy Efficiency in the Midwest” addressed the role that industrial energy efficiency plays in supporting the cost effectiveness of utility efficiency portfolios and the impact that policy changes like industrial opt-out can have on the portfolio. He also discussed some of the data challenges that need to be overcome to enable a deeper study of industrial efficiency policies in the region. Greg’s presentation was in the panel “Policy and Resource Planning.”

STEP: In with the New

MEEA Unplugged Blog - August 17, 2015 - 9:48am

A shifted focus for the Savings Through Efficient Products program (STEP) brought many new facilities into the Illinois Energy Now participant portfolio during the 2015 program year. STEP provides informational resources, walkthrough assessments and free, easy‐to‐install energy efficient measures to qualifying Illinois public facilities.

Public facilities that participated in STEP in 2015

Eighty-six percent of participants during the first three quarters of the year were new to Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) programs, helping close the gap between the number of public facilities eligible for state energy efficiency incentive programs and the percentage participating in these programs.

In its third year, 318 facilities participated in STEP, far outpacing program year goals. Participating facilities installed enough products to save an estimated 6,271,266 annual gross kWh and 234,737 annual gross therms across Illinois (pre-evaluated savings). That’s enough savings to power 509 homes for a year!

STEP aimed to attract new participants into the Department’s suite of programs, and then to guide them toward DCEO’s many offerings through personalized recommendations. As one facility letter shared, “Already, STEP has enabled us to increase EE in our buildings in new ways, and we are excited to maintain this forward momentum …I have already been networking and sharing our success stories with other schools.”

To learn more about the STEP process, look for Catie Krasner at the 2015 AESP Summer Conference speaking on STEP’s program evolution and at ACEEE’s National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource speaking about building relationships through STEP or contact her at ckrasner@mwalliance.org.

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