News Updates for the Week of September 26 - Energy Watch News

News Updates for the Week of September 26

1.      Amid Paeans to Energy Efficiency, the World Is Getting Less Efficient A new analysis by the Worldwatch Institute shows that global energy intensity—the amount of energy needed to produce a given unit of economic output—actually increased by 1.35% in 2010. The report notes that worldwide energy efficiency had been increasing steadily until recently. Between 2004 and 2008, global energy intensity experienced its sharpest decline in 30 years, with an average annual rate of decrease of 1.87 percent. Starting in 2008–09, however, energy intensity rose again, experiencing the first rise in three decades. This may just be a short-term bump in the road to a more efficient economy, due to the drop in energy and other commodity prices in the immediate wake of the 2008-09 global downturn.  In the U.S. and other developed countries, energy intensity has kept declining, in part because more mature economies have shifted from high-energy manufacturing to less energy-intensive service and digital industries. Still, Worldwatch believes that energy intensity on a global scale is likely to continue rising over the next few years, if only because of the amount of post-recession infrastructure development underway. In the U.S., we called it the stimulus. Building roads and bridges and airports is very energy-intensive in the short run, though it pays off later. 9/22Time
2.      Two Million or More U.S. Buildings Could Benefit from Lighting-System Upgrades – More than 2.2 million of the nation’s 2.7 million older (pre-1980) commercial buildings have been using the same lighting for the past three decades, the National Lighting Bureau reports, citing data published by the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Information Administration (EIA). The Bureau estimates that 3 million or more commercial and other nonresidential buildings are candidates for money- and energy-saving lighting-system upgrades.
3.      Tax Plan to Turn Old Buildings ‘Green’ Finds Favor – A business consortium that includes Lockheed Martin and Barclays bank plans to invest as much as $650 million over the next few years to slash the energy consumption of buildings in the Miami and Sacramento areas. It is the most ambitious effort yet to jump-start a national market for energy upgrades that many people believe could eventually be worth billions. Focusing mainly on commercial property at first, the group plans to exploit a new tax arrangement that allows property owners to upgrade their buildings at no upfront cost, typically cutting their energy use and their utility bills by a third. The building owners would pay for the upgrades over five to 20 years through surcharges on their property-tax bills, but that would be less than the savings. The consortium is led by a company called Ygrene Energy Fund of Santa Rosa, CA.9/19 NY Times
4.      Rebate and Incentive Programs Span the US – Buildings in thousands of municipalities across the US are now eligible for rebates, incentives and grants from state organizations and local utilities. These programs provide customers with incentives to upgrade inefficient lighting systems which significantly reduces the initial cost. Although there are programs in all 50 states, that doesn’t mean all areas are covered by a rebate. Currently, incentives for energy efficient commercial lighting cover 79% of the US.
5.      Existing-Home Sales Increased in August – About 25 hours after the release of a disappointing housing starts report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said existing-home sales for August increased 7.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.03 million.The August figure is 18.6% higher than the 4.24 million pace recorded in August 2010.9/21 HCN
6.      August Housing Starts Slip, Again – The latest tally from the U.S. Department of Commerce showed housing starts in August at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000.The disappointing August rate — analysts were expecting a pace of about 590,000 — was 5% below July’s downwardly revised figure, and 5.8% below the August 2010 rate of 606,000.On an unadjusted basis, there were 53,000 housing starts in August, and 38,300 single-family starts. Both are down from last month and last year.On the bright side, building permits in August were up 3.2% to a SAAR of 620,000. Compared with a year ago, building permits were up 7.8%.9/20 HCN
7.      Rebates for Equipment Affected by Legislation – Rebates currently exist for many of the possible upgrades from the older inefficient lamps.As in the past, the incentive levels for the replacement products may fall or stop completely once the old technologies are phased out.
8.      DOE Releases GATEWAY Report on LED Retrofit Lamp Museum Demonstration The U.S. DOE has published the final evaluation report from a retrofit of track lighting used to illuminate a special gallery exhibition at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene, Oregon. During the demonstration, 12W LED PAR38 lamps replaced 90W halogen PAR38 130V narrow flood lamps used for accent lighting, and a separate side-by-side comparison of three different LED PAR38 replacement lamps against the museum’s standard halogen lamp was also staged. This GATEWAY demonstration report describes the process for the demonstration, the energy and economic results, and survey results from the PAR38 lamp comparison:
9.      Corporate and Institutional Procurement of Electricity Electricity is a $360 billion per year market in the United States, with the vast majority of power sales still conducted through traditional regulated electric utilities.  Despite the failure of deregulation to take hold throughout the industry, as was expected in the 1990s, the past decade has seen tremendous growth in competitive electricity procurement by commercial, industrial and institutional purchasers in 20 states and jurisdictions that allow retail access to open markets. This Pike Research report examines the critical role that electricity plays in commercial and industrial operations, explores the motivations for seeking non-utility and green power among a variety of business types, and identifies existing policies that promote competition.
10.  Investors to Spend Millions ‘Greening’ Commercial Buildings in Sacramento and MiamiSacramento is one of two U.S. cities set to participate in a massive energy-efficiency project assembled by British business tycoon Richard Branson.  The plan would pour an estimated $100 million into retrofitting commercial buildings in Sacramento. The company running the project is Ygrene Energy Fund of Santa Rosa.The other participating city is Miami, which is in line for $550 million in improvements.The plan relies on AB 811, a three-year-old state law that sets up a funding mechanism called PACE to retrofit homes and businesses. In this new effort, private dollars provided by investors would generate upfront cash for the retrofits, with building owners paying the improvements over 20 years through a special assessment on their property taxes.  9/20 The Sacramento Bee
11.  WattStopper Publishes Best Practice Guide for Schools – WattStopper has published a set of best practice solutions for classrooms to help specifiers and facility managers quickly identify and implement energy-saving lighting control solutions for these high-value spaces, which account for approximately $8 billion in energy costs annually in the U.S. The new online tool offers users a range of design options to meet different energy-savings goals, and provides a wealth of detailed information from wiring diagrams to equipment schedules. Solutions feature WattStopper’s Digital Lighting Management controls, which offer superior flexibility in installation and performance.
12.  Panasonic to Debut a New LED Lighting –Panasonic Electric Works Co. will debut a slew of new LED lights, starting Oct. 21. The subsidiary of Panasonic Corp. will increase its offerings 50% to 2,000 items this fiscal year, aiming to double LED lighting sales to about $650 million.
13.  U.S. General Services Administration Chooses Seesmart, Inc. for Massive Lighting Retrofit – GSA has selected the products of Seesmart, Inc. of Simi Valley, CA, (a division of Seesmart Holdings, Inc., Frankfurt, Germany) for a $1.2 million order in LED tube lights. The order constitutes the single largest purchase of LED tube lights ever made by the GSA, whose latest lighting retrofit project will span 18 buildings across 2 U.S. States.In 3 years, Seesmart has delivered over 100,000 of their LED tube lights to the Administration. 9/7 BUSINESS WIRE
14.  Philips Hits the Road with 10-City LED Light Experience   Philips Lighting will be demonstrating to consumers what LED light can do for their homes and utility bills at the Philips LED Light Experience. A fun, educational and free interactive mobile exhibit, the tour will visit 10 U.S. cities with 24 tour stops this fall.The Philips LED Light Experience will make stops at retailers, trade shows, festivals and other events throughout the U.S. For a complete listing of dates and locations in your area or to register for the Home Lightover Sweepstakes, visit
15.  RAB Lighting Introduces Affordable New 18 Watt LED Floodlight with Innovative Heatsink DesignRAB Lighting announced the company’s introduction of an new 18 Watt LED Floodlight incorporating RAB’s innovative heatsink technology. Designed to replace the 70 Watt metal halide floods found on many commercial building exteriors, RAB’s highly-efficient new “LFLOOD18” delivers an unprecedented combination of quality, long life, and affordability to a broad range of outdoor commercial LED lighting applications.
16. “Public Goods” Fee for State Energy Program to End – The California Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program that has generated billions of dollars in funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy research over the past 14 years is set to expire at the end of the year after lawmakers refused to renew it, and now state leaders are trying to find a way to replace it. The program is funded by a “public goods” fee that appears on the utility bills of most Californians and raises $356 million each year to provide rebates to customers who buy energy-efficient appliances and to contribute to renewable energy research, among other things.9/23 San Francisco Chronicle
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