State of energy efficiency in Alberta
Regional energy efficiency initiatives help homeowners, businesses, and industrial companies connect with local energy-focused resources. Energy efficiency programs help to lower energy consumption, reduce energy costs, and improve the environment through greener building procedures, operating processes, and maintenance tasks.
There are several prominent Canadian and U.S.-based energy efficiency programs available to homeowners and businesses. The three initiatives discussed here are similar in their aims but are each impacted by specific regional issues.
Energy Efficiency Alberta
Energy Efficiency Alberta (EEA) is a government initiative aimed at improving the way Albertan's consume and produce energy. The programs focus on industrial and commercial innovations that enhance sustainable energy practices and reduce energy costs.
EEA says their initiative has created jobs, grown local businesses, and has diversified the Alberta economy by creating an environment that fosters the renewable energy sector.
EEA creates programs for industrial and commercial businesses, non-profits, institutions, and households, including:
A methane emissions reduction initiative for Alberta’s oil and gas sector
Financing programs that help fund improvement projects and deeper energy savings
Energy education programs for students and educators
Programs focused on reducing heating costs related to inefficient, outdated heating products
Technical training for industry professionals
Community projects focused on encouraging sustainable building practices
Since its launch in 2017, EEA officials report the program has helped companies deliver almost 700 million Canadian dollars in energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions. EEA estimates that this figure represents CA$84 in net savings per tonne for the avoided 5.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
The program is helping Alberta reach a governmental-set goal of reducing GHG emissions by 2.76 million tonnes each year by 2025—the equivalent of 600,000 vehicles. The province has committed $1.24 toward commercial-scale carbon capture and storage projects focused on the oil sands and fertilizer sectors.
We can compare our program in Alberta to some more established programs in other jurisdictions.
California Energy Commission Programs
The State of California offers several energy efficiency programs through the California Energy Commission (CEC). The CEC works to “adopt energy efficiency standards for appliances and buildings which reduce air pollution and save consumers money.”
The Commission runs programs for educational, commercial, household, industrial, and other sectors, including:
The Bright Schools Program, which provides technical assistance for K-12 public school districts
Programs centered on resolving energy issues related to coastal structures
The Building Energy Benchmarking Program
Energy partnership programs for cities, counties, special districts, public colleges, universities, and health facilities
A natural gas efficiency and emissions improvement program
The Home Energy Rating System Program (HER)
The CEC reports that it has saved Californians over 100 billion US dollars through its appliance and building code initiatives. Greenhouse gases in the state are down by about 20 percent since 1990, according to the CEC.
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Programs
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) programs are similar to those available to residents and business owners in Alberta and California. NYSERDA programs help homeowners and businesses lower energy bills, reduce their environmental impact, and support clean energy and transportation initiatives throughout New York.
NYSERDA offers dozens of programs focused on energy reduction, lowering costs, and reducing the environmental impact of energy usage, including:
An agriculture energy audit program
An air-source heat pump program aimed at increasing the use of this technology
An electric car rebate program
Several energy audit programs for homeowners and businesses
An incentive program for small companies offering green jobs
A solar energy initiative
A “smart grid” program focused on modernizing the state’s electric grid
NYSERDA reports that since 1990, the state has decreased energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, by 8 percent, which is equal to removing more than 5 million cars from the road. The agency also reports a significant increase in renewable energy usage and electric vehicle charging over the past several years.
Enhancing Your Energy Efficiency in the Time of COVID-19
Public health experts have made it clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a lingering worldwide impact on how we interact with one another and with our environments. Some analysts predict that physical distancing and other changes to our daily lives will be a reality for the foreseeable future.
Energy Efficiency Alberta has developed a set of recommendations for building owners to consider during this challenging time. The agency sees a unique opportunity for enhancing the energy efficiency of large areas of commercial space that are sitting unoccupied. Examples include updates to lighting, improving air quality systems, and correcting temperature control problems.
If you're ready to start putting an energy savings plan together, an ASHRAE Level 1 energy audit with Switch Engineering is a great place to start. We’ll help you lower energy costs, improve energy efficiency, improve employee safety and comfort, and reduce your carbon footprint.