First Virtual Efficiency Exchange Conference Features National Program and Policy Experts

Efficiency Exchange 2021 wrapped on May 27 with conference participants from across the nation attending the first virtual conference. While in person collaboration and networking was missed, the virtual conference allowed for greater attendance from energy efficiency professionals, presenters and keynotes with relevant and important perspectives and experiences from outside the region. The three-day conference attracted more than 300 attendees and focused on a range of topics, such as next generation heat pump technology, expanding lighting controls to HVAC, an update on the Northwest End Use Load Research project, large scale heat pump water heating and more.

Equity in energy efficiency was highlighted throughout the conference and featured in three presentations. The intersection of energy efficiency, environmental justice and public health was a common thread with presenters recognizing that lowering the energy burden for disadvantaged communities often necessitated improving health and safety issues within homes first. With up to one third of the U.S. population defined as energy insecure, presenters detailed the immediate need to invest in and better target energy efficiency programs to disadvantaged communities to improve everyday lives and well-being. Presenters profiled how successful programs targeting disadvantaged communities shifted how programs were designed, implemented and assessed and relied on building trust within the communities.

This year’s conference featured two esteemed keynote speakers: Paula Glover, President, Alliance to Save Energy, and David Nemtzow, Building Technologies Office Director of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Paula Glover and moderator Andrea White, senior vice president of CLEAResult, hosted a virtual fireside chat diving into how to work smarter (not harder!) with energy efficiency. The discussion prompted an engaging dialogue on energy efficiency programs as the first solution to successfully meeting the goals of current, federal environmental and economic policy initiatives. Glover pointed out how embedded in energy efficiency programs are naturally occurring investments in workforce training and job creation and reinvestments that benefit homeowners and small businesses.

In the closing plenary, David Nemtzow touched on how energy efficiency initiatives are critical priorities of the Department of Energy, and on the “hair on fire” pace of programs to meet statutory requirements and the current administration’s decarbonization goals. Two initiatives Nemtzow sees greater collaboration with the alliance include Advanced Building Construction (ABC) and grid interactive efficiency. ABC integrates efficient technologies and improve construction practices to transform and advance high-performance buildings at scale. Grid interactive efficiency leverages some of the alliance’s current work in luminaire level lighting controls to create smart building systems that go beyond binary occupancy sensors to wireless population sensors for better demand control of lighting, HVAC and the grid.

Efficiency Exchange 2022 will be held in person on April 14-15, 2022 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Sign up for the EFX subscription list to receive updates on the conference and call for presentation proposals.