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Blaine Clapper

Losing A STAR?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced the ENERGY STAR program in 1992 and described it as “a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”[i] Over the past 25 years, the ENERGY STAR label – recognized by more than 90% of Americans – has progressed from computers and monitors to most major appliances and office equipment, lighting, homes, and commercial and industrial facilities. And, according to the EPA, the ENERGY STAR program has resulted in utility bill savings of $362 billion and reduced GHG emissions by 2.4 billion metric tons.[ii]

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Barry Kroeker

NYC Doubling Down on Benchmarking Mandate

In October of 2016, the New York City Council approved changes to a 2009 energy benchmarking ordinance (Local Law 84) that added new benchmarking requirements for thousands of private and city-owned buildings. The goal was to extend the reach of NYC's energy benchmarking and audit program. The changes came on the heels of a report published by Crain's New York Business last August that documented carbon emission reductions of 8 percent and decreases in energy use of 6 percent for 3,000 NYC “consistently benchmarked properties.” This preliminary data was perhaps the first confirmation that the City's benchmarking program was making a real difference. The impact of the changes will be difficult to assess for some time, due to reporting timetables built into the law, but New York City is clearly doubling down on mandated energy benchmarking. Today’s blog highlights the recent changes, and the observed results to date.

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Barry Kroeker

Energy Management in the Trump Era

The dust has settled after the November elections, and the results are unchanged despite a flurry of protests. Now that we are in the final days of Obama’s presidency, one thing is certain on the energy management front: change is in the wind. Today’s blog takes a look at President-Elect Donald Trump’s ambitious energy plan, and speculates a bit on what it might mean for our industry in the months and years ahead.

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Blaine Clapper

The End of a ‘Quest

The quest began in 2009 with the best of intentions: Provide home and small business owners with a free, easy-to-use online application to track and manage their energy use. Making money on the application was not a priority. Instead, it was largely a philanthropic pursuit intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save its users some money. It was a noble quest. But alas, what had begun with great fanfare in 2009 was over less than two years later.

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Barry Kroeker

Tribute to an Energy Management Veteran

It's November 11 as I write this blog. Veterans' Day sort of snuck up on me this year. I'm not sure why—perhaps I have gotten so used to celebrating every national holiday on the artificial Monday. As I was reflecting on the significance of the day, and the freedoms protected by generations of U.S. servicemen and women, it seemed particularly appropriate to offer a Veteran's Day tribute to an air force veteran who we know well at EnergyCAP, as well as the energy management industry that sparked within him a unique but passionate patriotism.

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Steve Heinz

Green Run Amok

When I saw the green energy monitoring panel on the wall of my hotel room, I couldn’t believe my eyes. An energy monitoring panel here? I’d never seen anything like this! The building’s designers must have had some sustainability goal in mind, but drawing on my forty years of experience producing energy tracking software, all I could think was this is so…wrong!

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Barry Kroeker

Measuring Progress toward Zero Energy

I was recently reading an article on Greenbiz.com relating to Zero Energy Buildings which got me thinking (again) about the challenges associated with any energy stewardship project. Chief among these is measurement and verification (M&V). People want and need to know an answer to a very basic question: How much “X” did we save? The “X” can be any commodity, of course. But to talk about those savings, we have to have a common understanding and agreement on how we will assess them. And if the amount we save approaches the amount we use in our building, campus, portfolio, or community, we are closing in on zero energy. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in collaboration with the National Institute of Building Sciences, has made a helpful contribution in this area by preparing A Common Definition for Zero Energy Buildings. We’ll summarize this resource in today’s blog.

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Blaine Clapper

EDI: Two Decades the Champ, but Still Misunderstood

Despite its 20 years as the heavyweight champion of utility bill electronic processing and payment (at least in the eyes of the largest utility vendors), Electronic Data Interchange, or EDI, is still a widely misunderstood utility billing option. A recent conversation with the energy manager at a mid-sized U.S. city went something like this: Energy Manager: “We would like you to get our utility bills and import them into EnergyCAP.” Salesperson: “We can do that. Do you know which electronic invoice formats your vendors offer?” Energy Manager: “They’re all EDI.” Salesperson: “All of your vendors offer EDI 810?” Energy Manager: “I’m not sure about the ‘810’ part, but I can log on to the vendors’ websites and download my bills in a spreadsheet. That’s what we’d like you to do for us. We want to get them in EDI, because it’s faster and gives us all of the information we need.”

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Barry Kroeker

The Right to Energy

Big ideas often have small beginnings. Today’s blog is about one such beginning, and it has to do with energy and human rights. But we’ll start our story with a different kind of beginning—a meeting of rebels in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the summer of 1776. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...” Thus begins the second paragraph of what is arguably one of the greatest political documents ever penned, America’s Declaration of Independence.

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Barry Kroeker

Check out EnergyCAP’s Top Ten Blogs

We haven’t run our “10 Top EnergyCAP Blogs” feature for quite a while, so we are presenting it now. These are the most-read blogs published in the last 14 months. Take a look through the list and click on the link(s) to view any that might offer value to you!

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Barry Kroeker

Primary Election 2016: What’s an Energy Voter to Do?

The caucuses are closed in Iowa, and the political pundits are already busy prognosticating about what happened there and what will happen in the New Hampshire primary election next Tuesday. If you don’t vote in either place, you know that election fever is soon coming to your state or commonwealth, county, municipality, and precinct. It’s a presidential election year, and if you are registered to vote, you’ll have the opportunity to determine who represents you in the fall elections. So who do you choose, and how do you choose? What’s an energy voter to do?

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Leah Laughlin

How Dirty is Your Electricity?

Did you know that one kWh of electricity used in Denver may emit almost four times as much carbon dioxide as one kWh used in Buffalo? Those indirect (Scope 2) emissions are what the Environmental Protection Agency  (EPA) is now calling carbon pollution.

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Leah Laughlin

Coldest Winter in 15 Years? Weather Data Shows it Depends on Where You Live.

Walking through the streets of State College, Pennsylvania, this past winter, I often found myself quoting Disney’s Queen Elsa under my frozen breath, “The cold never bothered me anyway.” Mind over matter, right? That’s what we told ourselves as we pushed through a brutal winter while our hearts longed for warm sun, lush green grass and the blooming flowers of springtime here in Happy Valley. But as we look at temperature data from cities spread across the lower 48 states, many citizens probably didn’t mind this winter as much we did!

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Barry Kroeker

County's PV Project Promises Reductions

Today's blog is about an EnergyCAP user that is taking PV generation to another level. Photovoltaics, or PV, is the third most significant renewable energy resource after hydro and wind power, according to Wikipedia. We’ve all seen PV—those jet-black solar panels gleaming from the roofs of public and commercial buildings or acres of land on solar farms. You or your neighbors may even have installed PV, taking advantage of various tax or utility incentives.

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Barry Kroeker

How Many Top Cities and Counties Have An Energy Manager? [Survey Results]

It's a simple question: How many of America's top cities and counties have an energy manager on staff? I couldn't find an answer on Google, so I took the matter into my own hands. In order to answer that question, I called more than 100 of the most populous cities and counties and asked. What I discovered amazed me.

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Barry Kroeker

TENANT STAR Still Only a Bill

The TENANT STAR legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last March in strongly bipartisan fashion was signed by President Obama on April 30th. TENANT STAR is a tidy solution for a pair of perennial problems—how to encourage tenants to moderate their energy use when building owners are paying for the utilities, and how to encourage building owners to invest in energy efficiency upgrades when tenants are paying for the utilities.

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Barry Kroeker

Unsung Heroes of the Power Grid

One of the pleasures of working with the energy industry is the opportunity to hang around people who are passionate about energy. One of those people is EnergyCAP Project Manager David Ulmer. David used to work for PJM Interconnection, a grid operator. After attending his recent Energy Leader webinar on Power Grid Fundamentals, I’ve gained new respect for the unsung heroes of the grid—the grid operators who manage the supply of electricity from minute to minute to ensure that the electricity is there when it's needed. Let's take a look at some of David's insights into these daily behind-the-scenes heroics.

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Barry Kroeker

You Too Can Yopp!

As a kid, one of my favorite bedtime stories was Horton Hears a Who, by Dr. Seuss. It's the story of an elephant who, by virtue of his oversized ears, is able to hear sounds of intelligent life from a dust speck, which turns out to be a very small planet/community of wee humanoids called "Whos." The story reaches its dramatic climax as the Whos in Whoville strive to make themselves known in Horton's larger world by making enough noise to be heard. They're unsuccessful until a young Who named JoJo adds his voice. JoJo's loud "Yopp" breaks the sound barrier, thereby saving the Whos from destruction. The moral of the story, for all energy stakeholders, is this: You Too Can Yopp! In fact, energy folk can yopp in ways that other Whos cannot (Wow, that sounded almost Seussian). And that is worth considering for a minute or two.

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Barry Kroeker

Energy Manager Quiz Results | Global Capacity Update

Quiz Results It's been a month since we posted the popular energy manager quiz, so we thought we'd report on aggregate results. But it's not too late to take the quiz if you would like to. So far, our pool of quiz-takers is passing, but barely. The average score was only 62%. Out of the 15 questions, the easiest question was the one about smart meters and the power of interval data. Ninety-two percent of you got that one right. The toughest of the questions was the one about which home heating option (electricity or gas) would result in the fewest carbon emissions.

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