Clay Nesler, Interim President of the Alliance to Save Energy and Johnson Controls Vice President, Global Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs, has held a variety of leadership positions in research, product development, marketing, strategy, manufacturing, corporate sustainability and regulatory affairs in both the United States and Europe and currently chairs the Johnson Control’s global sustainability council.
Nesler serves on the board of multiple energy efficiency groups, including the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, the GSA green buildings advisory committee, and the executive group of the US DOE/EPA SEE Action network. He assisted in the establishment of the UN Sustainable Energy for All Building Efficiency Accelerator, serves as co-chair of the Industrial Advisory Board of the US-China Clean Energy Research Center and is a member of the International Energy Agency Energy Efficiency Industry Advisory Board.
John speaks with Clay Nesler about building energy efficiency, especially how it ties to economic recovery and resilience in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Their discussion includes some of the various efficiency standards throughout the world and different approaches to retrofitting existing buildings.
- more advanced methods of controlling infection rates is social distancing tracking software, which can potentially be applied to energy efficiency improvements by adjusting ventilation according to occupancy levels.
- The EU has aligned their economic recovery with the Green New Deal, which includes the “renovation wave” as a key component. The renovation wave is a program which seeks to dramatically increase the rate at which homes and businesses are renovated (with an annual goal of 2–3%, up from the current <1%).
- Several environmental governing bodies have stated that energy efficiency is the primary means by which the goals laid out in the Paris Climate Accords will be met.
- Because improving energy efficiency lowers energy bills, these renovations should be seen as investments rather than simply as costs.
- The biggest hurdle for retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient is the lack of capital. Despite the proven returns lowering energy costs will produce, many companies choose to invest elsewhere within their business.
- Some ways the cost of renovations can be offset include:
- Performance contracting
- Pays for energy improvements over time after a contractor has guaranteed the energy savings.
- Many public and government buildings use the performance contracting model.
- Efficiency service agreements or energy service agreements
- Allows companies to make improvements while paying over time.
- The building’s HVAC system is updated and the company makes payments as if the improvements had not been implemented.
- Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Programs
- Allow building owners to make energy efficiency improvements through a surcharge on their property taxes—which is often passed on to tenets.
- Performance contracting
- Some cities—most notably New York City and Washington, DC—have pass laws and regulations to impose energy efficiency standards. These impositions are generally being done in three steps:
- Require building owners to publish energy usage data
- Set up financial programs to facilitate energy efficiency improvements
- Penalize and fine building owners who fail to meet minimum efficiency standards
- Efficiency cooling refers to air conditioning systems that with reduce energy needs and that use low-GWP refrigerants. Both of these aspects help lower the impact cooling has on climate change.
- The Global Cooling Prize challenges engineers and designers to create an affordable, high-efficiency, low-GWP A/C system.
- One way that developing nations are addressing these challenges are by utilizing district energy, both for heating and cooling.
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Learn more about Global Cooling Prize
Look through what Alliance Council for Energy Efficient Economy is doing
Here’s more information on the Green Building Advisory Committee
Check out the SEE Action as a network to state and local energy efficiency initiatives
Get information at the US-China Clean Energy Resource Center
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