New 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report

The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) released the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report, which provides unique insight on the people who meet the nation’s energy needs. The energy efficiency sector once again led all other energy sectors in creating jobs; in both 2017 and 2018, the most new jobs of any energy sector were related to energy efficiency—over 76,000 in 2018—with 2,324,866 jobs in total. This growth is expected to increase, as energy efficiency employers report a projected growth rate for employment in 2019 of almost 7.8%, up from the 3.4% reported for 2018. The report also includes state-level energy employment information and new information on wage levels across energy sectors. In 19 different states, energy efficiency employed more people than any other energy sector. For more information on employment in energy efficiency and other energy
sectors, download the report.

Issue Brief: Reducing Energy Burden for Low-Income Residents in Multifamily Housing with Solar Energy

This new issue brief discusses some key considerations and related opportunities for deploying solar energy for low-income multifamily housing (buildings with five or more units). It addresses how differences in multifamily housing type and financing structure can influence how such projects impact energy burden. The resource also profiles two multifamily housing examples in Denver and California that demonstrate how state and local entities have deployed solar energy photovoltaics on behalf of low-income residents. Read the issue brief.

DOE Welcome New Partners in Two Public-Sector Initiatives

The Better Buildings Challenge (BBC) K-12 Sector welcomes a new partner! Also a participant in the Zero Energy School Accelerator, the San Francisco Unified School District brings a significant facility portfolio of 9 million square feet. BBC now has 29 school district partners. BBC invites school districts and other partners to commit to improving the energy efficiency of their buildings portfolio by at least 20% over 10 years and share their strategies and results.

The Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) Working Group is a cohort of state and local governments working together to learn about, launch, and refine C-PACE financing programs. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and MassDevelopment, the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility, and the Philadelphia Energy Authority are the latest to join the C-PACE Working Group as State and Local Partners. C-PACE Working Group Partners are working toward a voluntary goal to stimulate $60 million in C-PACE investments by 2022.

Three Local Governments Benefit from Implementing Energy Retrofits and Benchmarking

King County, Washington: Historic Airport Terminal Realizes Massive Savings from Deep Energy Retrofit

The historic and efficient King County International Airport is one of the country’s busiest non-hub airports, averaging 200,000 takeoffs and landings annually. King County—a partner of BBC—hosted DOE and led a walking tour that provided a close look at how the county performed a deep energy retrofit of the airport terminal. By incorporating high-efficiency energy technologies and practices into the airport’s heating, cooling, and lighting systems, the county produced an impressive 60% energy savings and $31,000 per year in cost savings, as well as created a model for similar deep retrofit projects. Read the DOE article in Retrofit Magazine.

City of Seattle, Washington: Success in Benchmarking and Transparency

A new Better Buildings Solution-at-a-Glance highlights the recent Seattle Energy Benchmarking Analysis Report as a replicable example of a comprehensive benchmarking report that includes details on program accomplishments, data analysis methodologies, building characteristics, and energy consumption trends, among other topics. Seattle’s benchmarking and transparency program maintained over 99% data submission compliance in recent years and, for buildings reporting data from 2014 to 2016, total energy use declined by 3.7%, from 12.2 billion kBtu in 2014 to 11.8 billion kBtu in 2016. Read more.

City of Reno, Nevada: New Building Energy Benchmarking and Transparency Program

Building on its engagement in BBC through its ReEnergize Reno program, in January 2019, the City of Reno passed a benchmarking and transparency ordinance that will help deliver energy and cost savings across the community. The ordinance requires commercial buildings to benchmark energy and water use, report the data to the city, allow the city to disclose the data, and require low performing buildings to take action from a list of performance pathways. Download Benchmarking and Transparency: Resources for State and Local Leaders to view key existing resources for developing and implementing high-impact building energy benchmarking and transparency programs.

Maryland Advances Energy Efficiency in State Building Portfolio

As in many states, Maryland’s early energy-efficiency efforts began in small facilities with limited resources. Small- and medium-sized buildings, those under 20,000 square feet, make up 32% of Maryland’s state building portfolio’s total square footage. Maryland recognized the potential for energy efficiency projects in these buildings, and with support from a DOE State Energy Program 2012 Competitive Award, launched an effort to reduce energy waste in small and medium-sized buildings using energy savings performance contracting (ESPC). The upgrade effort in Maryland consisted of three parts—education, procurement, and action. In total, 1.1 million square feet of state buildings was audited, identifying 6.1 million kWh of potential energy savings, and $1.4 million of cost savings. For more information on Maryland’s ESPC process for small projects, read the success story.

Iowa Creates an Action Plan to Expand the State's Bioeconomy

The State of Iowa's energy plan, developed in 2016, focuses on the large potential for biomass. In January 2017, with financial assistance from DOE’s State Energy Program, Iowa formed the Biomass Conversion Action Committee to identify markets, business cases, and barriers for biomass-to-energy expansion. As a result of these efforts, the Biomass Conversion Action Plan was created, which includes strategies to integrate Iowa's agricultural, energy, and environmental goals into a business model that is specific to the biomass industry. Strategies include supporting and encouraging federal biomass policy, optimizing state policies and resources to better realize the benefits of a strong bioeconomy, and collaborating locally, while leading the regional conversation. For more information on Iowa’s strategies to expand the biomass economy, read the success story.

Funding Opportunity

DOE Announces Up to $130 Million for Early-Stage Solar Research Projects

DOE's Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) announced up to $130 million in research funding for as many as 80 projects to advance early-stage solar technologies, lower solar electricity costs, and ease the integration of solar energy on the grid. These projects will make solar energy more affordable, reliable, and secure, while working to boost solar manufacturing, reduce red tape, and make photovoltaics more resilient to cyberattack.

This funding opportunity combines all of SETO’s technology areas into one request and is split into multiple topics: Photovoltaics Research and Development, Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power Research and Development, Balance of Systems Soft Cost Reduction, Innovations in Manufacturing: Hardware Incubator, and Advanced Solar Systems Integration Technologies. There will be one overview webinar and five webinars that detail each of the topics.

To facilitate the creation of teams, SETO will publish a list of organizations that volunteer to be project partners. The list will provide contact information, area of technical expertise, and a brief description of capabilities. Applicants are urged to view this list, add themselves, and form new project teams.

Letters of intent are due May 7, 2019, and full applications are due July 25, 2019. For more information on the topic areas and FOA, read the press release.

DOE Announces Up to $26.1 Million to Advance Hydropower and Marine Energy

On April 1, DOE announced up to $26.1 million in funding to drive innovative industry-led technology solutions to advance the marine and hydrokinetics industry and increase hydropower’s ability to serve as a flexible grid resource. The Water Power Technologies Office will select projects that aim to increase affordability of hydropower and marine energy, strengthen U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, and build on Department-wide energy storage initiatives to improve the capability of technologies to deliver value to the grid.

Areas of interest under this funding opportunity include:

  • Quantify hydropower capabilities for operational flexibility (up to $1.5M)
  • Operational strategies for increasing hydropower flexibility (up to $2.75M)
  • Modular technologies for low-head hydropower applications (up to $5M)
  • Advancing wave energy device design (up to 7.2M)
  • Marine energy infrastructure upgrades (up to $5M).

Concept papers are due May 13, 2019 and full applications are due July 9, 2019. For more information on the topic areas and FOA, read the press release.


Agenda Now Available for 2019 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit

July 10–11, 2019
Arlington, Virginia

The 2019 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit features two days of interactive sessions, insightful speakers, and many opportunities to connect with peers. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to collaborate with other leaders and gain actionable insights to accelerate energy efficiency throughout your organization, understand the latest in emerging technologies, address workforce needs, and share your perspectives on upcoming issues.

What to expect at the 2019 Summit:

  • Discover what's next in emerging technologies, resiliency planning, and workforce development.
  • Share and discuss successful approaches used by Better Buildings, Better Plants partners facing the same challenges as your organization.
  • Grow your network and make connections with industry peers, technical experts, and other Better Buildings Partners and Allies.
  • Explore future opportunities to achieve greater energy, water, and waste efficiency in your organization.

Registration is now open—reserve your spot today! 

For more information, download the conference agenda with a list of full sessions and confirmed speakers or visit the Summit event website.

Upcoming NASEO Regional Meetings

The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) will hold its annual series of regional meetings designed for state and territory energy officials and key staff with participation from federal agencies and NASEO affiliated members. Upcoming meetings include:

  • Northeast Region: May 7–8, 2019 – New England College Concord, Concord, New Hampshire
  • Midwest Region: May 14–15, 2019 – Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Western Region: May 21–22, 2019 – Smart Buildings Center, Seattle, Washington
  • Mid-Atlantic Region: June 3–4, 2019 – The Calvert House, Annapolis, Maryland
  • Central Region: June 10–11, 2019 – Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Helena, Montana.

Infrastructure Investments in the News

U.S. House passes legislation for energy efficient schools: The Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act (H.R. 762) establishes a coordinating structure to help schools better navigate federal energy efficiency programs and financing options.

St. Joseph, Missouri, invests in energy-efficient initiatives, will save $200k in first year: The city is imitating an ESPC project that targets 19 sites, including City Hall, and delivers comprehensive facility improvements to modernize lighting, HVAC systems, plumbing retrofits, and other energy efficiency and operational improvements.

$7.8M PACE financing supports energy upgrades in L.A. property: CleanFund, the leading nationwide provider of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing, announced it will provide $7.8 million for the energy, water, and related infrastructure improvements supporting the adaptive re-use of the Garland, an 11-story, 82,000 square-foot downtown Los Angeles mixed-use property.