Feel like savings opportunities from your utility have dried up? New incentive programs are in the works as utilities redirect their efforts to meet aggressive saving targets set by their states. A report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) finds that renovations and retrofits of commercial buildings will provide some of the greatest savings potential.
Incentives will now target incremental improvements to building components and systems, which is good budgeting news for FMs implementing energy upgrades in stages.
Expanded efficiency measures will also be available to buildings under 50,000 square feet, a currently underserved sector.
As utilities move to performance-based incentives, facilities managers should be on the lookout for these efficiency opportunities:
- Integrated and whole-building design approaches for new construction
- Retrocommissioning and strategic energy management
- Ground-source heat pumps and radiant heating systems
- Condensing gas boilers
- High-efficiency HVAC units, particularly rooftop models
- Integrated lighting that combines LED and linear fluorescents, daylighting, and control technologies
- Combined heat and power (CHP) systems
"Natural gas isn't the only abundant energy resource in this country – we've also discovered deep reservoirs of energy efficiency," says Dan York, ACEEE utilities program director and lead author of the report. "Even as tried and true energy efficiency measures become commonplace, we continue to dig deeper and find new technologies, practices, and program approaches to unlock further opportunities."
The combined commercial and residential savings have the potential to achieve and sustain high savings – 27% of electricity consumption and 19% of forecasted natural gas use by 2030.
For more on utility incentives, download Frontiers of Energy Efficiency: Next Generation Programs Reach for High Energy Savings at aceee.org/publications.