Testing the Value of Energy Efficiency in the Renewable Ramp Challenge
As the electricity grid increasingly accommodates solar electricity, a problem is emerging: At sunset, non-solar sources of electricity must quickly ramp up. This limits choices for power plants providing the post-sunset electricity and is difficult for traditional power grids to accommodate. In this study, Efficiency Vermont analyzed the effectiveness of specific energy-efficient equipment upgrades in flattening the loads of Vermont businesses and residences.
Electric transit bus demonstration project
Efficiency Vermont analyzed the costs and fuel use resulting from the deployment of an electric public-transit vehicle to determine the impact of this technology in Vermont. Efficiency Vermont worked with a transit-vehicle manufacturer to deploy an electric model through a local transit authority for seven weeks. Data was collected on operating costs, electricity use, fossil fuel displacement, energy efficiency gains (expressed in Btu) and cost savings.
Non-energy benefits of Efficiency Vermont's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program
Anecdotal evidence suggested that many participants in energy efficiency programs value the non-energy benefits more than the energy savings associated with their efficiency retrofits. These benefits can include greater comfort, safety, noise reduction, and healthcare savings. Currently, Efficiency Vermont’s program cost-effectiveness calculation does not count some non-energy benefits because these benefits are difficult to quantify and monetize.
Paying energy arrearages through savings
This study focused on the concept of using energy savings to pay overdue energy bills, to prevent utility shut-offs, and to lower the energy burden for low-income households.
Electric bikes: survey and energy efficiency analysis
Electric bikes, or e-bikes, are gaining in popularity as the technology improves and prices fall. In partnership with local bicycle organizations, retailers, and Burlington Electric, Efficiency Vermont conducted a survey of e-bike owners to evaluate opportunities for improved energy efficiency in this market.
Breathe well, sleep well: improving ventilation in cold-climate homes
Indoor air quality in homes affects human health in profound ways. When that quality is compromised, building occupants can experience health effects that range from immediate to long term. Both airborne pollutants and carbon dioxide contribute to those effects. Although the science is still uncertain about the effects of various levels of exposure to these substances, there is general agreement that improving indoor air quality is an important objective for home improvements.
Mapping total energy burden in Vermont
The primary components of total household energy use are thermal energy (heating), electricity, and transportation energy. Taken together, these “total energy” costs present a sizable financial burden to households in Vermont. The cold winter weather and the rural character of the state contribute significantly to this expense. High total energy costs are driven, in part, by building inefficiencies, automobile-dependent development patterns, and vehicle inefficiencies. In Vermont and nationwide, total energy costs can be especially burdensome for low-income households.
Smart lighting & smart hub DIY install: does it yield?
The whole-home automation market is in many ways the Wild West, with industry heavyweights jumping in and small innovators getting noticed. This market is still new, with a vast diversity of products, controlled devices, and levels of service. Although utilities might conclude from the frenetic market pace that it’s better to wait until the market settles down before they get involved, a statewide energy efficiency utility, Efficiency Vermont, saw the benefit to jumping in early.
Low-E and behold: Low-E storm windows provide a new way to solve the window conundrum
Infrared images of buildings show that windows are often one of the largest heating and cooling sinks, or “holes” in the thermal envelope. Single‐pane windows are the most egregious offenders, particularly in colder climates such as the Vermont climate.
Home Energy Reports: bringing low-cost savings to more Vermonters
Until recently, there hasn’t been an effective method to measure energy savings driven by conservation actions. Behavioral Savings quantify conservation efforts by measuring energy use before and after a change in behavior. In the fall of 2014, Efficiency Vermont launched the Home Energy Reports pilot as a programmatic approach to achieving Behavior Savings. This report explores this method, and energy savings results to date.
Net zero energy feasibility study
In 2015, Efficiency Vermont supported a research project conducted by Maclay Architects to examine the financial feasibility of net zero energy buildings in Vermont and beyond. The study provides background for developers, contractors, designers, consultants, and building clients that will show the relevance and financial benefit of building beyond code standards to net zero energy standards.
Are thermostats the new energy audits?
In 2013, Efficiency Vermont conducted a field research study to examine the potential of identifying the “heat-loss rate” of buildings with thermostat data. Researchers explored the hypothesis that a programmable communicating thermostat paired with location, weather, and other broadly available information sources could be used to discern meaningful differences in household thermal performance. A small sample of data from 13 thermostats in Vermont homes and small businesses was used to complete the study. Results suggest that using remote diagnostics incorporating data from thermostats may be a cost-effective strategy for efficiency programs and could provide meaningful site-specific insights.
Efficiency Vermont's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program report and analysis
The Efficiency Vermont Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program officially launched in 2005. In 2008, when the Vermont Legislature set a statewide goal to weatherize 80,000 homes by the year 2020, the program was galvanized. The legislation sought to harness energy efficiency as a driver of savings for consumers and economic development in Vermont. In order to meet the goal, Vermont’s residential retrofit programs would need to scale up.
Electric vehicles as grid resources in ISO-NE and Vermont
In 2013, Efficiency Vermont supported a small research and development project to examine the potential impact of electric vehicles on Vermont's power infrastructure. The study outlines various ways in which electric vehicles can serve as resources to the electric grid, in the context of Vermont's Comprehensive Energy Plan goal to power 25% of vehicles with renewable energy sources by 2030.
The Vermont Home Energy Challenge final report
The Vermont Home Energy Challenge (VHEC) was a yearlong engagement effort to test the potential of local community organizations to help raise awareness of energy efficiency and increase completion of projects under Efficiency Vermont’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program.
Market research on barriers and motivations for home energy efficiency improvements
The Vermont legislature has established an ambitious goal to improve the energy fitness of 25% of Vermont’s housing units, about 80,000 homes and apartments, by 2020. This will require a substantial increase in the number of Vermont households completing energy efficiency improvements.
The once and future CFL
For most people, compact fluorescent light bulbs (or CFLs) are the face of energy efficiency. This is not surprising, given that the CFL has utterly transformed energy efficiency over the last decade. The rise of the CFL has enabled massive savings forenergy efficiency programs, and has greatly expanded the reach of energy efficiency efforts by serving as a low cost, firstpoint of entry for consumers looking to reduce their electric bills.
Individual and community engagement
Energy efficiency service providers, such as Efficiency Vermont, know that an understanding of the customer is essential to their effectiveness. Multiple factors—including customers’ priorities, budgets, depth of efficiency knowledge and more—have an impact on customers’ decisions to participate in their programs.
A new dawn in efficient lighting
Lighting has played a central role in energy efficiency programs for decades. Often dubbed low-hanging fruit, lighting has presented savings opportunities for nearly every customer and has offered efficiency programs the ability to obtain a magnitude of energy savings unmatched by any other single technology.
Finding big savings in big data: unlocking the full value of energy efficiency
If you have been paying attention to the energy efficiency field in recent years, you have probably noticed a great deal of excitement about the potential of data. But those of us who work with it every day will tell you that it is not about data; it is about information.