Published on January 23rd, 2012 | by Joshua S Hill1
Video Stories Demonstrate Energy Efficiency’s Economic Benefits
Climate Solutions, a Northwest-based nonprofit focused on creating a clean energy economy, has created several videos of companies’, organizations’, and communities’ inspiring stories of energy efficiency.
They are also spearheading the Solutions Stories project, which aims to communicate clean energy economy successes in the Northwest.
“These stories demonstrate the reality that energy efficiency and building the economy go hand in hand,” said Gregg Small, executive director for Climate Solutions. “We are seeing businesses, individuals, and communities doing what’s needed to build the clean-energy economy, with real solutions on the ground every day.”
“We applaud companies such as Formula Fabrication and Bentall Kennedy, who are taking steps to reduce energy usage and are pleased to help tell their stories,” said Phill Guay, senior manager of NEEA, a founding sponsor of Solutions Stories.
“Not only do these new videos illustrate NEEA’s commitment to energy efficiency, they also demonstrate the real impact in the Northwest that business owners and organizations can have when they employ energy-efficient solutions and initiatives.”
Formula Fabrication, based in Libby, Mont., a small, struggling town, was on the verge of closing its doors a few years ago. With trainings offered by the region’s utilities and Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) through the Northwest Ductless Heat Pump Project, the company learned about the benefits of ductless heat pumps (DHPs). DHPs allowed Formula Fabrication to offer its customers a product that delivers more comfort than traditional heating systems and saves them 25 to 35 percent on heating bills through incentives offered by the local utility, Flathead Electric Cooperative. Business is now booming for the company and Libby residents are seeing returns on their bills with the energy saved.
In Bellevue, Wash., commercial buildings need to innovate to compete in a challenging market. The Kilowatt Crackdown, a benchmarking competition that NEEA sponsors with Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) and local utilities, challenges building owners and managers to reduce energy usage by tapping into the inherent “competitive nature” of the commercial real estate industry. Bentall Kennedy, building owners of One Newport, entered the Kilowatt Crackdown and won first place for the Highest Performing Small Building and is seeing great results in both energy and dollars saved.
Bainbridge Island, Washington
Bainbridge Island, Wash. residents–when faced with the construction of a new substation–came together to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy use as a community. RePower Bainbridge, which is sponsored in part by the City of Bainbridge Island and U.S. Department of Energy, and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, took a one-stop-shop approach in order to make it easier for homeowners to achieve their energy efficiency goals, reduce energy costs, and experience greater comfort in their homes.
To do this RePower Bainbridge started offering in-home energy assessments for homeowners in order to create a baseline of their current energy use and costs, as well as cash-back incentives for qualifying improvements, access to Kitsap Credit Union’s Energy Efficiency Loan Program, and help connecting homeowners to a local, skilled workforce of contractors through the RePower Trade Ally Network. As a result, Bainbridge Island residents came together and significantly lowered their energy use, thereby not needing the new substation, becoming a model for community energy-efficiency efforts. Similar initiatives are being adopted nationwide.
All in all, RePower Bainbridge and The City of Bainbridge Island came together with Conservation Services Group, Puget Sound Energy, Kitsap Credit Union, and other community groups to implement RePower Bainbridge, an energy efficiency initiative which helps residents save energy, reduce costs, and increase the comfort of their homes.
“Our success on Bainbridge is in large part the result of our community’s engagement from the beginning,” said Hilary Franz, RePower Bainbridge representative and former City Council Member.
“Our energy solutions originated from a sense of urgency–an insistence by the community to look at our energy use differently. We came together to understand our energy challenges, to ask ‘what’s possible?’, and to develop a plan for action. Because our community was empowered to design, develop, and implement, we are committed to its success. Our program serves as a model for other communities that by working together, we can all be the solution.”
Source: Energy Central