Is the US on the Verge of an Outbreak of Pro-Energy Efficiency Legislation?

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Details about recent pro-energy efficiency legislation and other quick energy efficiency news for this week…

You probably heard that the U.S. Congress extended tax credits for solar energy last week. But did you know energy efficiency was a winner too?

As part of an omnibus budget appropriations and tax extenders bill, Congress approved the following, according to the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE).

  • Extended until 2016 a tax incentive of up to $500 for families that purchase qualifying energy efficiency products
  • Provided home builders and manufacturers up to $2,000 for building energy efficient homes
  • Allowed a tax deduction to encourage efficiency upgrades of commercial buildings
  • Made permanent the tax credit for investments in research and development

“Energy efficiency is the gift that keeps on giving and with Congress’s action today, American families and businesses will have even more reason to make efficiency upgrades and investments since the ‘up-front”’cost will be lowered through the availability of tax incentives,” said  Kateri Callahan, ASE president, upon passage of the bill.

She added that passage of  the pro-efficiency legislation “gives me great hope that in the coming year we will witness an ‘outbreak’ of passage of bipartisan bills that put in place national energy efficiency policies, programs and funding,” said Callahan.

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Think that energy efficiency is old school? Take a look at Ecova’s third annual survey and you may reconsider.

The energy management company found an increasing preoccupation with new alternatives in its survey of 700 professionals from a range of North American industries in October and November.

Half of those who responded use meters, energy and building management systems  or other data collection/monitoring devices to manage resources at a more granular level. One-third are considering using distributed energy resources in their energy management strategies —  another 35 percent already are, according to the 2016 Energy and Sustainability Predictions: Findings from Leading Professionals

“Companies are faced with complicated forces and challenges. In many ways we are at a turning point – the easier changes have been made and companies have gotten very sophisticated regarding managing resource consumption,” said Jana Schmidt, president and CEO of Ecova. “But bigger challenges lay ahead and there will be high value in solving them.”

For more information on the survey and Ecova’s 2016 predictions, download the complete report or view the infographic.

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Okay, zero net energy homes aren’t exactly on every corner, but they are growing in numbers. A new report by Navigant Research expects North America’s  750 zero net energy homes (ZNEHs) to expand to 27,000 in 2025.

North America — California in particular — leads the zero net energy homes market, but it’s also  gaining momentum in Europe and Asia Pacific, according to Navigant. Homes that are almost zero net, or can easily be made so, are on the rise as builders make more effort to meet the demands of the energy-conscious consumer.

“ZNEHs are still quite rare, however, the market is poised for growth over the next decade, particularly in California, where a strong regulatory framework calls for all new homes to be zero net starting in 2020,” says Neil Strother, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “In addition, the market is expected to get a boost as builders incorporate the latest technologies to meet the increased energy efficiency standards, and to satisfy consumers seeking to significantly lower or eliminate their monthly energy bills and reduce their impact on the environment.”

Details about the report, “Market Data: Zero Net Energy Homes,” are available here.

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More energy efficiency news to put on your radar… Honeywell has received all necessary regulatory approvals to acquire the Elster Division of Melrose Industries. The deal is expected to close December 29. The acquisition, which Honeywell announced on July 28, 2015, closed earlier than anticipated following approval by Melrose shareholders and required regulatory approvals, including those in the U.S., European Union, and China A division of Oakland, California-based OpTerra Energy Services, Bluestone Energy Services, a leader in energy conservation, engineering and project development services for commercial and industrial clients, is rebranding itself as the Commercial and Industrial (C&I) Division of OpTerra Energy Services…Smart-grid manufacturer Aclara Technologies completed acquisition of the electricity meters business currently operating within GE Energy Management’s Grid Solutions subdivision (“GE Meters”).

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Elisa Wood About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.

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