2022 marked an exciting and dynamic time for the alliance. The energy industry is undergoing a period of rapid and, in some areas, evolutionary change. At its core, energy efficiency enables the region to meet its energy needs and do so in low cost and affordable ways that benefit consumers and businesses. And today, more than ever, energy efficiency is a uniting force that delivers multiple dimensions of value across the region: It reduces peak demand, supports grid resilience and reliability, contributes to emissions reductions, improves health outcomes, supports workforce development, helps the region withstand increasing unpredictability from extreme weather events, and more.
This diversity of value brings us together and serves to strengthen the alliance to keep pace with this rapid evolution of the energy industry. While individual communities may face unique challenges, it is through a commitment to innovation and collaboration that the alliance finds common solutions that benefit not only these communities, but the entire region.
Improving energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption leads to a secure future for Idaho and our country. Energy efficiency will enable Idaho to continue to meet the needs of its expanding communities while keeping energy rates low, and I appreciate the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance for its leadership in bringing together broad stakeholders to promote smart, cost-effective and responsible energy practices.
Due to their convenient and accessible packaging of heating, cooling and ventilation equipment in a single box, rooftop units (RTUs) have become a common HVAC solution for commercial buildings in the Northwest. Unfortunately, most RTUs use more energy than necessary, and when they die, they are simply replaced by another inefficient RTU.
In 2022, NEEA evaluated a promising technology known as efficient gas RTUs—a solution that combines a variety of energy-saving features to solve the problem of RTU waste without downgrading convenience. Partnering with Montana State University’s Integrated Design Lab, the alliance concluded a nine-month field trial that demonstrated a 40% reduction in small-to-medium-sized commercial building HVAC energy use. With additional field trials currently taking place in Portland, the alliance will continue to evaluate this technology across a variety of building and equipment types to further prove its energy-saving efficacy in northern climates.
The alliance and its partners share a long and influential history advancing television efficiency for Northwest consumers, and 2022 was a impactful year for this transformational work.
In January 2022, ENERGY STAR® unveiled its final Version 9 TV specification, which introduced a NEEA-developed method for testing television efficiency that is far more accurate than the previous approach. By more precisely reflecting real-life television energy use, the CTA/ANSI-2037C testing method is swiftly moving the needle: As of October 2022, it is required for use by all television manufacturers when evaluating the efficiency of their products, and it has already influenced a new class of efficient televisions that hit Northwest shelves in 2023.
Representing the first major change to the ENERGY STAR® windows specification in more than a decade, the NEEA-influenced Version 7.0 Specification for Residential Windows, Doors and Skylights was finalized in October with lowered U-Factor requirements for the Northern Climate Zone.
This breakthrough follows years of collaboration between NEEA and the Partnership for Advanced Window Solutions (PAWS) to influence the national window-manufacturing market and thus elevate building efficiency and comfort in the Northwest. The newly lowered U-Factor requirements will provide a significant boost to the alliance’s Market Transformation efforts to motivate adoption of triple-pane windows that significantly reduce thermal transfer and reinforce the most vulnerable part of a building’s envelope.
In March 2022, the alliance’s decades-long regional collaboration with BPA and Northwest manufactured home builders achieved a major milestone: The first federal standard for manufactured homes in more than twenty-five years.
Largely based on data and experience provided by this longstanding Northwest collaboration, the U.S. Department of Energy’s new energy conservation standard features a two-tier structure that requires substantial improvements to double-wide and larger manufactured homes, along with modest enhancements for single-wide homes. Further, following the introduction of the new standard, ENERGY STAR® elevated its own specification above the federal standard to include a heat pump option, allowing for even greater efficiency. Through years of work building high-performance manufactured homes, evaluating costs and best practices, and validating modeled energy savings, the alliance and its partners have permanently leveled-up manufactured home efficiency.
Market transformation is a long-term process that delivers permanent market change. The process seeks to find efficient innovations that can leverage the power of market forces to achieve the long-term goal of cost-effective energy efficiency. Alliance programs are designed to specifically address and overcome market barriers to enable accelerated market adoption of energy-efficient products, services and practices. The alliance’s Market Transformation process leverages multiple strategies to build a foundation based on past efforts, knowledge gained, data acquisition and analysis, and consistent third-party evaluation. For more than twenty-five years, the alliance has honed and adapted this proven set of strategies and tactics to support the region in providing a strong, cost-effective energy future for today’s consumers and future generations.
As depicted in the metrics below, alliance activities during a business cycle continue to deliver energy savings long after the 5-year investment period has ended. The following graphs and charts show energy savings associated with the activities and market changes that are taking place in the current funding cycle (current investments), as well as those that are continuing to deliver value long after NEEAs direct intervention has ended (previous investments) as a result of continued market progress and sustained market changes.
The alliance’s natural gas portfolio is in early development.
Co-Created - or shared - energy savings include all savings above the baseline that occur in the market due to the combined efforts of NEEA and its partners.
1 aMW = enough energy to power about 730 Northwest homes per year
Total Regional Savings include all savings calculated above the pre-intervention market starting point due to the combined efforts of NEEA and its partners.
*Additive Energy Savings are defined as the sum of new first year savings occurring each year across multiple years.