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On June 7 & 8 NEEP hosted the sixth annual Northeast Energy Efficiency Summit in Warwick, RI. In spite of record highs outside, people came from across the region and the country to bring their collective knowledge and expertise to discussions about how to make efficiency matter.
Tuesday saw two workshops - the first, DesignLights™ Consortium: Maximizing the Value of the Solid State Lighting Qualified Products List, provided insight into the current state of the DLC's Qualified Products List and inspired lively conversation about the role it serves and how it will evolve in the future. Workshop attendees also looked at the overall future of solid state lighting and its place in the commercial market. The 2011 Northeast Residential Lighting Workshop: Strategies and Solutions for Achieving Savings brought together stakeholders from across the industry to look at the future of residential lighting strategies in the Northeast and brainstorm ways to educate consumers about the importance of high efficiency lighting. Some high level insights that came out of the workshop include the importance of providing consistent and clear messaging to consumers as well the ever-present need to coordinate stakeholders.
Tuesday also gave Summit attendees the opportunity to visit the Nathan Bishop Middle School in Providence - Nathan Bishop is a High Performance Green School and operates 40% more efficiently than the energy code specifie. Members of NEEP's Buildings team, Joe DaSilva from the RI Department of Education and staff members at Nathan Bishop gave participants an overview of the school's transformation and gave a tour highlighting the various efficiency measures utilized throughout the school.
A lot of food for thought was packed into Wednesday's main Summit starting with welcome messages from Summit Co-Chairs, Jim Madej of National Grid and Paul Roberti of the Rhode Island Public Utility Commission; Elia Germani, Chairman of the RI Public Utility Commission; and a video message from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. NEEP's Executive Director, Sue Coakley, reflected back on NEEP's accomplishments over the past 15 years and lauded the Northeast for all that's been done to establish the region as a national leader in energy efficiency.
The morning panel, Messaging Efficiency to Consumers in the Northeast, brought together professionals working both regionally and nationally on the topic of making efficiency matter to consumers. Moderated by Jim Madej (National Grid, panelists included Tim Volk (Keliher Samets Volk), Ran Nussbacher (OPOWER), John Williams (NYSERDA) and Marion Gold (University of Rhode Island) - everyone agreed that there is immense competition for the general public's attention (the average person engages with their energy usage for about 6 minutes per year) and that clear, consistent messaging that come from trusted sources about energy usage and efficiency measures directed to varied consumer groups is the most effective way to transform markets.
Over lunch, Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency at the U.S. Department of Energy, gave an informative overview of what is taking place on the national stage with respect to advancing efficiency programs and policies - she reiterated the Obama administration's support for these programs as drivers of economic development and job growth.
The afternoon panel, Financing Efficiency in the Northeast, tackled the challenge of securing private capital for efficiency projects in both the residential and commercial sectors. Steve Cowell (Conservation Services Group) led a lively exchange between Betsy Harper (Vermont Energy Investment Corporation), Birud Jhaveri (NSTAR Electric & Gas) and Dick Jones (Boston Community Capital) where discussion centered around the need to present clear data in a ‘language' that financial institutions understand in order for them to value efficiency and provide funding at rates that are viable and affordable. Tom Hicks, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, wrapped up the day with an engaging discussion about what the Navy is doing to improve efficiency and reduce its immense energy costs across its ranks - from building design to vehicle fuel efficiency to fleet design, the Navy is committed to efficiency as a strategy for decreasing America's dependence on foreign fuel, a matter of national security.
Interspersed throughout the day was presentation of the video case studies for the 2011 Northeast Business Leaders for Energy Efficiency. The diversity of this year's awardees - from the airline industry to commercial developers to educational institutions and various manufacturing interests - show that efficiency measures can be deployed across myriad industries with positive effects on the environment, the community and the bottom line. The Summit also featured an array of exhibits featuring the latest in energy efficiency technology. From high efficiency lighting to advanced power strips to energy tracking technologies, the exhibitors at the Summit showcase the best of the best when it comes to efficient technologies and services.
Thanks to all of the 2011 Northeast Energy Efficiency Summit Sponsors for another great year!