Standardization to foster US energy efficiency

energy efficiency, USA, energy savingsPresident Obama’s Climate Action Plan aims at doubling the nation’s energy productivity by 2030. To that end, the US Department of Energy (DOE) looks at recommendations from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI—EESCC). In a recent publication entitled Standardization Roadmap: Energy Efficiency in the Built Environment, the institute puts forth solutions to advance standardization in the energy efficiency field.

Private and public players mobilize for energy efficiency

According to DOE estimates, buildings account for more than 70 percent of total US electricity use and 40 percent of the nation’s total energy bill. To change that, the government pays special attention to the recommendations by the Energy Efficiency Standardization Coordination Collaborative (EESCC), which back the claims made in a May 2014 report entitled Securing America’s Future with Energy Efficient Buildings, according to which with 20 percent or more of the nation’s energy wasted, comparable reductions in energy have the potential to save an estimated $80 billion annually.

The EESCC is co-chaired by Benjamin Goldstein from the DOE and John Tuccillo, Vice-President of Global Industry and Government Alliances, Schneider Electric. They brought together members of several trade associations, such as the Association of Energy Engineers (Chris Balbach) and the Building Performance Institute (John Jones, National Technical Director) to work on the standardization roadmap published on 23 Junes 2014, which includes a list of 125 recommendations for action across five areas of focus.

125 recommendations

The standardization roadmap establishes a four-pronged national framework for action. First, existing standards that can be leveraged to advance energy efficiency in the built environment should be advertised. Second, awareness should be raised and effective deployment of standardization activities increased among stakeholders. Third, the report identifies areas in the energy efficiency field where standardization gaps exist. Fourth, and finally, it aims at helping federal agencies prioritize areas where standardization is most needed.

The roadmap is more than a mere overview of the situation. Based on feedback from professionals, it provides an assessment of current standards and pinpoints “gaps” to be filled (as well as “partial gap” and “no gap” situations). “In the context of this roadmap, a gap refers to a significant issue that has been identified and that should be addressed in a standard, code, regulation, or conformity assessment program, but for which currently none is published or known to exist” (p.18). The EESCC Inventory Database assesses the standardization landscape and serves as a basis for an action plan in various areas of the built environment.

Future standardization steps

According to the ANSI press release, the first chapter outlines 46 recommendations to address identified standardization gaps in building energy performance. The second chapter details 9 gaps and recommendations examining how building subsystems could be integrated in order to manage the energy use of residential buildings for maximum efficiency. The third chapter outlines 22 recommendations on building energy rating, labelling and simulation. The fourth chapter details 32 gaps and recommendations to advance the field of evaluation, measurement and verification. The fifth and last chapter puts forth 16 recommendations to advance workforce credentialing for the energy efficiency field.

The roadmap includes near-term (0-2 years), mid-term (2-5 years) and long-term (5+ years) recommendations.

ANSI president and CEO S. Joe Bhatia encourages all stakeholders to contribute to closing gaps. In order to share information as broadly as possible, the ANSI website features a standardization action form for all organizations intending to carry out standardization activities.

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