Posts Tagged ‘energy’

Energy Efficient Buildings: We Don’t Have to Wait

December 8th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Big savings. REALLY big.

$4 billion investment = $40 billion savings is estimated from the Better Buildings Challenge. That isn’t just savings, it’s Sumo sized savings resulting from a nationwide 20% cut to energy usage in existing buildings.

Through a public-private partnership, President Obama and former President Bill Clinton last Friday announced a $4 billion commitment to increasing energy efficiency in the nation’s government and commercial buildings. Despite the US Department of Energy’s share being roughly half, there will be no upfront cost to taxpayers.

With deadlocked Supercommittee-itis cramping the Obama administration’s style, at least we can hold hands over one thing: saving money on inefficient buildings’ energy use. Or as Huffington Post commenter and USGBC Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi put it: “for one moment we found something we can all agree on.”

Barack Obama, Bill Clinton

President Barack Obama (R), and former President Bill Clinton (L)

“If there’s one item on the energy agenda that’s managed to remain free of controversy, it’s energy efficiency,” proclaimed SmartPower owner Brian Keane in the Huffington Post this week. The investment is part of President Obama’s “We Can’t Wait” measures, or initiatives aimed at spurring the economy that don’t require Congress’ stamp of approval.

We can’t wait, indeed, for energy savings – nor do we have to.

As part of the program, 60 CEOs, mayors, university presidents, and labor leaders have committed to invest nearly $2 billion of private capital into energy efficiency projects. The $40 billion in savings is the projected result of upgrading energy performance nationwide – 1.6 billion square feet of office, industrial, municipal, hospital, university, community college and school buildings for those of you keeping track at home – by a minimum of 20% by 2020.

Big-time San Francisco firms such as Ygrene Energy Fund and Metrus Energy backed the announcement, showing their support as the kind of companies willing to step up and foot the bill on the other $2 billion. Of course, they will then reap some serious savings…

The Obama Administration is clear on how its not using taxpayer dollars for the initial investment, reported the Washington Post:

“The way it works is that the private firm [doing the renovations] takes the risk here,” Jeffrey Zients, the government’s chief performance officer, said. “They make the investment. They are paid through energy savings. Once they are paid back, the [federal government] enjoys the savings going forward.”

The Better Buildings Challenge is estimated to add approximately 50,000 jobs.

The announcement expands on an existing Clinton Global Initiative energy efficiency investment program announced last summer, that has already committed $500 million in private sector funding for energy upgrades.

Kinda trippy how Pike Research just issued that report last week predicting that HVAC systems will double to become a $6.4 billion business by 2017.

Image courtesy newsone.

Summer HVAC Wrap + BetterBricks Video

September 1st, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Before the summer winds to a close, The Building Advisor feels it deserves a look back. In addition to soaring heat waves, the summer’s energy efficiency news was telling.

First, go to our latest webinar on Getting to the Decision Makers – a summer triumph from BuildingAdvice in providing HVACs with the tools they need to educate building owners and managers on energy efficiency cost savings.

Best video series ever! Building Night Walks from NEEA’s BetterBricks’ YouTube Channel. Sorta like “The X Files” meets your life.

Here is one:

Johnson Controls (JCI) issued its annual Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey last June, [greenbiz.com's article here] asking executives responsible for energy use and real estate decisions how they feel about energy and how it’s affecting their business decisions. The top line bullet from over of over 4,000 property managers surveyed?

“Energy cost savings, government incentives and enhanced public image [are] the biggest motivators for energy-efficiency investments.”

Read the executive summary here, direct from the horse’s mouth.

CNBC (finally!) evaluated the report’s findings with a good, long look in this week’s article “Energy Price Volatility Now A Major Factor In Corporate Efficiency Drive.” As Trevor Curwin pointed out,

“‘Bottom-line energy costs savings’ is the biggest single reason for property managers to consider spending on energy efficiency projects, but ‘energy security’ jumped into the top-five list of concerns from out of nowhere.”

JCI’s research shows the average payback time for an energy efficiency project is 3.1 years. While “government and utility incentives” are huge drivers for the energy efficiency marketplace, the “Achilles heel” of most efficiency improvement projects is still financing.

Tom Konrad

Tom Konrad

Forbes blogger Tom Konrad did a great series on energy services stocks in June. His post The Sector Information Technology Forgot looks at how demand response – programs that offer incentives for business owners who curtail their facility’s energy use during times of peak demand - plays into energy efficiency programs, particularly EnerNOC’s.

Along that line, EnerNOC went public in June, and shortly thereafter the company announced Memphis City Schools Selects EnerNOC’s EfficiencySMART(TM) Insight to Improve System-Wide Energy Use.

Summer daze got you bored of reading? The recent proliferation of HVAC multimedia from your favorite trades should be enough to keep you entertained during lunches as the weather cools. Check out Contracting Business’ video portal, or the NEWS’ new podcast directory.

 Images courtesy Forbesarchiehopeful.wordpress.com.

Near and Far, Awareness of Energy Efficiency Grows

August 25th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Mass Energy LabFirst, the good news. In Massachusetts yesterday, a Cambridge-based commercial and industrial energy solutions firm, Mass Energy Lab, announced a contest inciting undergraduate and graduate level students to identify, research and present evidence on a promising new-to-market energy efficiency product. Entrants will present evidence on the product’s ability to impact energy waste reduction and its marketability, and are eligible to win $3,000 as the top prize.

Anybody want to research BuildingAdvice? We make a great science project.

According to a press release, the contest is “intended to encourage students to research and identify cutting-edge, new to market energy efficiency solutions and to think deeply about how the technology can be applied to facilitate the reduction of energy waste in commercial and industrial buildings. “

Check out Mass Energy Lab’s foxy R&D section debuting any day now, featuring whitepapers, casestudies, product reviews, industry experts and test results.

Now, the not-so-great news.

li keqiang david cameron

Li Keqiang and David Cameron make a deal.

China’s buildings need to go ‘green’ – before it’s too late”:

“In the next 20 years, China plans to urbanise as many as 300m of its rural people, driving an insatiable demand for energy and materials as almost the equivalent of America’s population fires up their new fridges and air-conditioners.”

DOOD!

Chinese Vice Premiere Li Keqiang’s visit to England’s Building Research Establishment (BRE) – a group of architects, engineers and scientists at the cutting edge of new building techniques – last winter made Britain’s Telegraph UK this week with the announcement that the BRE was signed up by the Chinese to create a £100m, 4.8m sq ft innovation park in Beijing, together with Vanke, China’s largest property developer.

Apparently, China’s “green building” industry could eventually be worth £144bn per the vice minister of the Housing and Urban-Rural Development ministry. Now that’s actually pretty good news.

On the other hand, Chinese government is “painfully aware” that a quarter of China’s energy use is currently eaten up by buildings. In turn, they are pressuring developers to spend time thinking about water, energy and carbon savings, but many who design real estate in China think sustainable construction means simply tacking on green components with add-on costs. As writer Eric Fish puts it,

“When integrated intelligently from the start, utilities savings quickly cancel out the extra costs. Total upfront costs sometimes even dip below the price of traditional buildings.”

The Times of India reported that The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bureau for Energy Efficiency (BEE) for the creation of energy efficient technologies (‘We need to adopt energy efficient technologies’).The MoU also outlines the creation of awareness and capacity building of local Business Development Services (BDS) providers for implementing energy efficient technologies. The clusters will be scaled to meet the needs of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) clusters.

Lastly, right here at home in Oregon our Department of Consumer and Business Services Building Codes Division received a national award for its work in energy efficiency.

Jeff Johnson was an advocate of Building Energy Codes

Jeff Johnson was an advocate of Building Energy Codes

The sixth annual Jeffrey A. Johnson Award for “Excellence in the Advancement of Building Energy Codes and Performance,” an award designed to recognize the pursuit of energy efficiency, according to Sustainable Business Oregon.

Energy Savings Grabs Attention

June 30th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

evansville courier press logoFile under “bursting with pride”: last weekend’s Sunday edition of the Evansville Courier Press featured our latest BuildingAdvice poster boy/channel partner Aaron Derr of J.E. Shekell in a story by Carol Wersich, Evansville ARC finds energy savings with state grant. We were particularly pleased to see local coverage on this terrific energy savings win for a nonprofit serving adults and children with disabilities in Evansville, Indiana.

The Building Advisor was also excited to see that same channel partner featured in Contracting Business’ June print issue under Editor’s Notebook: Business Bits. If someone has stolen your copy again, you can see the online article here: BuildingAdvice™ Energy ServicesProgram Leads to 50% Savings.

But enough about us…ok, that line never gets old. Sorry.

new construction contraction

May's ABI score was 47.2, a slight decrease from a reading of 47.6 the previous month.

Last week, Heidi Schwartz of Today’s Facility Manager reported on the Architecture Billings Index (ABI), a leading economic indicator of construction activity. The number has contracted rather sharply for two months in a row, reflecting the decrease in spending for new construction.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. was quoted as saying:

…there is no denying that the prolonged credit freeze from lenders for financing commercial projects is the number one challenge to a recovery for the design and construction industry.

What does that mean for HVACs? With no early indicators of growth in new construction, it means the focus is on keeping existing buildings running and functioning smoothly – maybe even more efficiently than their owner/managers had considered before. As with many aspects of our lives, the recession is forcing everybody to extract the most value from the assets they already possess.

dog at work

Apparently prolonged exposure to computer screens can indeed cause eye strain.

(On a lighter note, did you know TFM has a Friday Funny category on their blog? Last week’s was on Take Your Dog To Work Day, or TYDTWD for those official memos. Couldn’t resist stealing this pic).

An BuildingAdvice favorite, BEPinfo – that’s Building Energy Performance Assessment News, if you’ve been installing too many AC units of late – included the great news this week: Hartz Mountain Industries Receives Two Awards For Energy Efficiency Practices.

BOMA New Jersey recognized Hartz Mountain, one of the biggest privately held real estate owners/developers in the U.S., with two awards for its energy efficiency practices as part of the chapter’s First Annual Building Energy Reduction Awards program. One of the awards was for energy reduction achievements at five commercial buildings which resulted in an annual savings of $262,243 and an overall consumption reduction of 13% or 1.9 million kWh saved. With industry leaders like Hartz and CB Richard Ellis stepping up all over the place, it’s only a matter of time until energy reduction strategy is standard practice.

Images courtesy Evansville Courier Press, Take Your Dog to Work Day, webpagefx.

Energy Papers for HVAC Contractors Cover Rebates, Myths

June 3rd, 2011 by Jim Crowder

exploiting rebates quarterly whitepaperThis week we posted some fresh, informative papers to the BuildingAdvice website. Both papers represent the first installments of a couple of series of papers covering topics we find HVAC contractors want the most information about.

The first series is Exploiting Rebates Quarterly, which explains how utility rebate programs work, what rebates are available in various states, and how to use energy service platforms to take advantage of them. The first paper, “Rebate Basics,” discusses leveraging rebates for a shorter payback with a competitive edge.

Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, Hosts of The Discovery Channel's "Mythbusters." Ok, we kind of want to be like them.

Another series of papers takes on common misconceptions about energy services. We’re calling it – with all due respect to our peeps at the Discovery Channel – our Mythbuster Bulletin Series, starting with Myth #1: “Energy Costs Can’t Be Controlled.” In it, we break down why costs can be controlled and discuss the most common causes of energy waste within a building.

It’s a prevalent belief that utilities represent either fixed or insignificant costs in building operation budgets, but that doesn’t make it true. In fact, energy costs can be controlled by optimizing building operations and controls. While there are opportunities to improve performance through retrofit projects, in the majority of buildings, the way that building equipment is being operated or programmed is often what wastes the greatest amount of money. The key to dispelling the myth is providing owners with measurement and hard data to quantify the waste and, ultimately, the savings that can be generated.

- Mythbuster Bulletin Series, “Energy Costs Can’t Be Controlled”

At our downloads page you’ll also find recaps of our latest, highly popular webinar series for your viewing (or re-viewing) pleasure: Part 1, Building A Winning Energy Services Team and Part 2, Targeting Your Existing Customer Base. Part 3 was webcast earlier this week and will be posted to the website soon.

dexter horton building in Seattle, mandatory benchmarking

The Dexter Horton Building, Seattle, Wash.

In other news this week, greentech enterprise ran a great article on mandatory energy benchmarking legislation, touched off by Seattle’s Dexter Horton building and the citywide enforcement of mandatory energy benchmarking and reporting for all commercial buildings over 10,000 square feet.

The article also links to a great energy efficiency information resource, BuildingRating.org, which hosts an online library of resources such as a document library with U.S. and global policy summaries, impact analyses, and rating systems and tools. As well as a neat blog.

And speaking of great energy-focused blogs like ourselves, be sure to check out the panoply of blog offerings through Energy Central. Did you know that you can even customize the Energy Central Professional Daily newsletter you get from Energy Central by logging on to the “personalization” tab at http://Pro.EnergyCentral.com? Just check and uncheck preferences to customize your newsletter to get the information most pertinent to you.

Images courtesy dazzlingplaces.com and channelnomics.com.

In Energy Efficient HVAC News This Week… BuildingAdvice!

May 25th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Did you catch the article on energy measurement and verification by Janelle Penny in Buildings Magazine’s May issue, The Best Tool in an FM’s Arsenal?

We’re also in this month’s issue of Sustainable Facility (have you seen their fancy website redesign?) under New & Notable, highlighting our last BuildingAdvice upgrade allowing bidirectional, database sync allowing cross-platform communication between Portfolio Manager and BuildingAdvice program. Meaning, you get BuildingAdvice’s user-friendly interface while maintaining your contractor building credentials through Portfolio Manager. Pretty sweet.

But enough about us. (For now.)

Downtown Louisville, Kentucky

In Kentucky, over 300 manufacturing and industry professionals gathered in Louisville in late April to discuss the shifting energy industry, and steps they can take to control rising energy costs, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. (BEPinfo, one of The BuildingAdvisor’s favorite enewsletters, also covered it here.)

Hitherto, Kentucky has enjoyed electricity prices among the lowest in the nation. The Herald-Leger’s Danny Taylor noted:

As a result, Kentucky’s energy use per industrial customer is the third-highest in the nation, 427 percent above the national average, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.”

However, industrial electricity rates in Kentucky are predicted to double over the next decade, having already risen 43 percent over the past five years.

What does the handy, energy efficiency checklist in the Herald-Leader’s article outline?

  1. Get an energy audit. More info on BuildingAdvice, our industry proven energy services delivery platform and providing Energy Audit Reports.
  2. Engage top leadership. Get BuildingAdvice management, sales, and engineering personnel acting as an extension of your current team to drive the development and ongoing execution of your energy services business.
  3. Install highly visible measurement systems. BuildingAdvice’s Energy Expert technology tops off our web-based software and portable diagnostic equipment which provides energy waste analysis, monitoring, and reporting with the oh-so-talked-about measurement & verification services mentioned above.

Followup to the 5/17 post, CBECS Data On Hold for Funding; EnergyStar Suffers:

ASHRAE commends Senators Shaheen (D-NH) and Portman (R-Ohio)

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air -Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) applauded Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) for introducing the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011, a bill that would help pave the way to make buildings more energy efficient by reducing barriers in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors to make use of new technologies.

We are particularly pleased that the legislation would encourage the U.S. Department of Energy to work with code and standard development organizations to develop definitions of energy use intensity (EUI) for use in model codes or in evaluating the efficiency impacts of the codes,” Lynn G. Bellenger, ASHRAE’s 2010-2011 president, said in a press release.

ASHRAE worked with Senators Shaheen and Portman to develop this legislation, and will continue to be an active partner in developing this, and similar legislation.

Images courtesy Buildings Magazinelouisville.edu, and ASHRAE.

Small Change, Big Rewards in Energy Efficiency

May 13th, 2011 by Jim Crowder

Our friends at Environmental Leader covered findings from a great report, Ten Ways to Slash Energy Cost & Reduce Budget Uncertainty, from enterprise software provider Verisae this week.

Small change can create big impact.

Small Efficiency Changes Save Big Bucks, Report Says cited big change from low-capital adjustments made by large scale grocery retailers, the largest energy consumers in the retail sector (who also reap the narrowest margins, making them excellent candidates for energy savings services). A few highlights from the list speak directly to the BuildingAdvice suite of energy services programs:

  • Monitor energy consumption in real time. (BuildingAdvice Verify’s measurement and verification capability provides ongoing, continuous monitoring to answer this need.)
  • Capture and analyze complete and accurate data from your utility bills. (Did you know BuildingAdvice automatically populates utility data into an Energy Benchmark Report, and saves that information for the next time you want to rebenchmark?)

Sidenote: industry studies show that one to three percent of all utility bills contain billing errors, the report pointed out.

Though the report concedes that the most noticeable savings comes from replacement of equipment, it found companies that have made continuous, small improvements have reaped huge rewards over time. (BuildingAdvice’s Energy Assessment Report is perfect for uncovering low- and no-cost adjustments to achieve energy savings.)

"General mandatory" sign in UK

In the UK, The Telegraph reported that Property bosses want energy efficiency displayed. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the property industry advocated for mandatory energy efficiency disclosure laws on commercial buildings. Currently, only public sector buildings are required to provide Display Energy Certificates (DECs) which rank their energy efficiency.

The letter warned that without a “level playing field,” the green credentials of buildings will never be improved.

Lastly, the Sacramento Bee reported Detroit Media Partnership Receives $150,000 Incentive for Energy Efficiency Projects through DTE Energy’s ‘Your Energy Savings’ Program

DTE Music Center: A better use for all that energy

That’s right, the nice people at Michigan utilities provider DTE have been itching to give away cash incentives for energy efficient upgrades since launching Your Energy Savings for residential and business customers in 2009. Customers can earn incentives if they make improvements from a list of qualified efficiency upgrades, including HVAC systems. The Bee reported:

Detroit Media Partnership received the funds for a chiller and heat exchanger replacement project. This incentive paid for 40 percent of the project, which included replacing chillers that were 40 years old.

 

Images courtesy fredlab‘s flickr stream, distinctivewebdesigns.com, UK’s Health and Safety.

As Seen In Contractor Magazine…

November 30th, 2010 by Jim Crowder

Below is a  Building Advisor post adapted from the recent article on J.C. Cannistraro in Contractormag.com.

“Reports do not lie. Energy savings are truly available for most buildings.”

So says Bill Fleming, an HVAC Service Manager at the family-owned mechanical services company J.C. Cannistraro in Watertown, Mass, and so he’s proved it to be true.

The industry expert was quoted on the evolving opportunities for energy services in the HVAC industry by ACHR News last August in the article, “Energy Audits in HVAC.” [update: another energy services success story can be found in Contractormag.com, here.]

As part of the 47-year old J.C. Cannistraro’s facilities services division, Cannistraro’s Building Energy Analysis service offering utilizes BuildingAdvice as a fundamental tool for assessing properties 5,000 to 20,000 square feet.

Cannistraro utilizes all three BuildingAdvice reports: Energy Benchmark, Energy Assessment, and Energy Audit.

When Cannistraro went looking for energy services tools to differentiate itself from the competition, BuildingAdvice was identified as the clear market leader by a corporate committee. Not only did it serve the small- to midsize niche well, it “was going where we wanted to go. I have the highest praise for the product,” Fleming says.

[BuildingAdvice] was going where we wanted to go. I have the highest praise for the product,” Fleming says.

Additionally, the sales and marketing training that are an integral part of the BuildingAdvice platform (highlighted here in ACHR News) were a draw. BuildingAdvice armed Fleming and his staff to show owners the energy savings they could access by utilizing BuildingAdvice’s diagnostic suite of services.

But while offering free energy benchmark reports attracted interest in Fleming’s service area, he has encountered resistance. “It isn’t always easy to obtain copies of necessary utility bills,” Fleming comments of building owners, managers and tenants.

Energy services by HVAC and mechanical contractors: it's all about differentiation.

Fleming points to the value of getting through to the right person.

“A savvy owner is looking at the longterm savings, not just someone who wants to wait until something breaks.”

One project in particular brought BuildingAdvice’s value home in September of 2009.

Longtime client Metro Realty Trust was “fairly receptive to the energy conversation,” says Fleming. A medical laboratory tenant occupying 20,000 square feet of a 55,000 square foot building was considering a move, partially due to its unavoidably high power usage and the costs associated. Metro Realty Trust knew that if it could lower the building’s energy costs, it would have a leg up on keeping the tenant.

Metro Realty Trust and Cannistraro saw eye to eye: improving the building’s performance would be good for the building’s profitability. Cannistraro did a free Energy Benchmark and formulated multiple-tenant utility information into a spreadsheet. Fleming showed Metro Realty Trust the damage: an EnergyStar score in the 30s (on a scale of 0 to 100, 100 is the most efficient).

The next step would prove to be a test of BuildingAdvice’s sales training. “Transitioning the client from a benchmark to an audit is the hardest part of the process,” said Fleming. “It all depends on the effectiveness of our presentation. How we present what we do is a key part of the process.”

By transferring the information into a separate template, Fleming presented a customized report in a format that worked for the client.

Based on the BuildingAdvice Energy Audit, Cannistraro proposed nearly $100,000 in retrofit and maintenance work for Metro Realty Trust.

In a few months, Metro Realty Trust had come up with the funds to complete the project.

“BuildingAdvice generated critical information to get the work done,” Fleming said. “It would have been difficult to justify without the information contained in the BuildingAdvice report.”

Right now, Fleming has two more audits pending – one for a hotel, the other for an office complex – and recently completed work that qualified for $8,700 in state rebates. Fleming estimates the client will save $15,000 per year in energy usage.

Images courtesy thefuturebuzz.com, J.C. Cannistraro, BuildingAdvice.

Energy Efficiency and the Elections: Not So Much

November 4th, 2010 by Jim Crowder

“…election results at the national and state levels were largely stark for those focused on renewable energy and efficiency…”

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Portland

So wrote Kyle Alspach for MHT Mass High Tech in his coverage of  the Sixth Annual Conference on Clean Energy at Boston’s Hynes Convention Center Nov. 3. Martin LaMonica chimed in for cnet, so it must be true. Many agree that energy efficiency initiatives are only likely to thrive at the state and local levels in the newly shifted political environment.

The remaining post-elections energy news took on a broader view take of the implications of the elections overall, but little old Portland, Ore. – where BuildingAdvice is based – got a little 15 minutes in a Washington Times editorial titled “A vote against the left-wing agenda.” Pictured is outbound Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi with a caption on her August visit to the City of Roses in connection with Clean Energy Works Portland, a pilot program that is helping up to 500 qualified Portland homes finance and install energy efficiency upgrades. (As you may not know, Clean Energy Works’ commercial component did not receive anticipated funding last summer, so the program remains largely residential).

The editorial, however, has nothing to do with Clean Energy Works Portland.

In the wake of the still-tallying ballot casting, much is being made of the Republican control of the House of Representatives and the GOP picking up several seats in the Senate, and the implications on cap-and-trade and The Climate Bill That Was. A few highlights:

Kirsten Korosec, blogger, CBS MoneyWatch.com

Kirsten Korosec, "Carbon Based" blogger for CBS MoneyWatch.com

“It will be more about protecting fossil fuel-based businesses and stripping away federal agency powers than a direct assault on clean energy.”

  • In California, the defeat of Proposition 23 marked popular support for the state’s greenhouse gas reduction law, the Global Warming Solutions Act, AB32, the strongest clean energy law in the nation, “even if it means higher energy bills and prices at the pump,” wrote fuelfix.com in “The morning after: What the election results mean for energy.” Quoting Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, the article asserts the one bit of good news for environmental issues from the Nov. 2 elections:

San Franciscans protesting Proposition 23

“Millions of voters said they see clean energy jobs as the path forward through a tough economic climate. That sends a strong message far beyond California. Voters asked their leaders to chart a future toward clean energy, less pollution, and less dependence on imported oil. Congress should pay attention.”

  • As Green, the New York Times blog on energy and environment, put it, “At the global climate change conference in Copenhagen last December, President Obama pledged to cut United States emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 — if he could get Congress to pass climate and energy legislation, that is.The task proved impossible even with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress.”

Images courtesy City on a Hill Press, The Washington Times/Associated Press, and CBS MoneyWatch.com.

Accentuate the Positive for ARRA Funds and Energy Efficiency

August 26th, 2010 by Jim Crowder

Talk about waste.

[We do, actually, in an upcoming authored article for November’s Facility Management Journal. Watch for it.]

Only 8.4 percent of the $3.2 billion that Congress voted in February 2009 to provide jobs and improve energy efficiency has been spent.

So reported the New York Times’ Green blog from an audit released last week by the inspector general of the Energy Department. Environmental Leader also covered it here, BEPI here.

Worse, the stimulus funds have produced or saved only about 2,300 jobs as of the second quarter of this year. Even New York City has spent less than 2% of the $80.8 million it was awarded, Chicago: 0.1 percent (of $27.6 million). Come on, people!

What’s the problem? Staffing. Not enough people to process and push the new programs. However, the Washington Post provides an alternate viewpoint here; The Energy Department defends itself on The Hill. So natch, it’s a little more complicated than it appears.

The stimulus funds were released through energy and conservation block grants to states and cities. Gotta say, many of our fair states and cities HAVE taken advantage, much of which has been reported here at The Building Advisor.

And on the flip side, Greenbang reported on “The Recovery Act: Transforming the American Economy through Innovation” and what the stimulus HAS set in motion: acceleration in the electric car battery and solar / wind energy industries, expanded broadband Internet access across the U.S., and a smarter energy grid.

For whatever reason, The Building Advisor thought this was appropriate:

Images courtesy current.tv’s wtf blog, The White House, and delagosis on youtube.