Quick Energy Efficiency News…More Energy Efficient Modems Coming…National Grid Positions for Big Industry Changes…Northeast Energy Efficiency Leaders

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Some quick energy efficiency news to start your week…

New Internet modems, routers and similar equipment will be more energy efficient under a voluntary agreement struck by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), National Cable & Telecommunications Association and several companies.

The agreement, expected to impact 80 million US homes,  sets requirements that will improve the energy efficiency of small network equipment (SNE) by 10 to 20 percent compared to  typical recent devices.

“This agreement will begin saving consumers energy and money – and do so long before any mandatory regulatory standards could take effect – while protecting innovation and competition,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA. “By setting requirements for energy-efficient broadband equipment now, the agreement will lock-in efficiencies at the dawn of the Internet of Things, which depends on strong broadband networking. Our industry has proven that voluntary, energy-conservation agreements are the best means of effectively improving energy efficiency, while recognizing the lightning-fast pace of tech innovation.”

The agreement runs through 2017 and is modeled on the voluntary agreement for set-top box energy conservation, launched in 2013 by the pay-TV industry, consumer electronics manufacturers and energy efficiency advocates. In its first year, the set-top box voluntary agreement achieved a 4.4 percent reduction in national energy consumption by set-top boxes, even as more boxes were used.

Broadband service providers and retail equipment manufacturers will publicly report SNE energy use, and participate in annual verification audits to ensure SNE devices are performing at the efficiency levels specified in the agreement.

Even though there are more consumer electronics in U.S. homes than ever, those devices now account for a lower percentage of electricity usage per household than they did three years ago, according to the CEA study Energy Consumption of Consumer Electronics in U.S. Homes in 2013.

Signatories to the agreement to date include service providers AT&T, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, CenturyLink, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, DIRECTV, Time Warner Cable and Verizon; and manufacturers Actiontec, ARRIS, Cisco, D-Link, EchoStar Technologies, NETGEAR, Pace and Ubee Interactive.

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National Grid has formed a new team that will focus solely on efficient and innovative clean tech, as it positions for major policy changes in two US states that it serves: New York and Massachusetts.

Both states are reconfiguring electric power rules to create an electric grid that relies more on distributed, local energy.  To serve customers better under the new approach, National Grid has created the New Energy Solutions team.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates an important change in the ways we work at National Grid in the US,” said Jim Madej, senior vice president, chief customer officer, in a June 25 announcement. “We are dedicating the right people and the right resources to get the job done for our customers and our company.”

The team will focus solely on innovative clean technologies that improve energy efficiency, affordability and choice for customers. More details will be available about National Grid’s Reforming the Energy (REV) strategy in New York on July 1 when it files a description of its demonstration projects with the public service commission. The utility also will make a grid modernization filing in Massachusetts on August 5.

“It’s a very exciting time to be in the energy industry,” said Ed White, vice president of new energy solutions. “With the help of customers, communities and regulators, we plan to advance
America’s natural gas and electricity infrastructure beyond its 20th century limitations to create an energy network that is more customer-centric, resilient, agile, efficient and environmentally sound.”

The utility said that the team will ensure that National Grid has the right local resources to answer its customers’ needs, and has the right insights into local requirements and processes. At the same time, the team will make sure that the proper structure is in place to guarantee that the best ideas and practices are being leveraged.

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Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships has named this year’s Northeast Business Leaders for Energy Efficiency. NEEP is recognizing these businesses for their outstanding efforts to advance energy efficiency.  Together, the organizations achieved over $4 million in cumulative annual cost savings through  energy efficiency.

This year’s honorees, made up of manufacturers, hospitals, research institutions, educational facilities, and other regional and global businesses, were selected based for:

  • Achieving energy savings through investment in cost efficient measures;
  • Addressing comprehensive changes in major energy systems such as lighting, HVAC, building envelope, office equipment and industrial processes, with a focus on improvements in multiple fuel categories;
  • Continuing improvements in energy performance through management level support and operational practices; and
  • Demonstrating leadership to advance energy efficiency and to promote its benefits within their communities.

“The Business Leaders program demonstrates the phenomenal benefits of energy efficiency to an organization’s bottom line and shows the value of collaborating with energy efficiency programs to achieve those benefits,”  said Sue Coakley, Executive Director of NEEP. . “The program also illustrates to policy makers and businesses the important role of energy efficiency to provide least cost energy while promoting economic growth and environmental sustainability.”

The 14 winners will be recognized November 12-14 at NEEP workshops to be held at the  Omni Mt. Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The winner are:

Connectictut

  • Aptar-Stratford, nominated by The United Illuminating Company
  • Rogers Corporation, nominated by Eversource Energy
  • Web Industries, Inc., nominated by Eversource Energy

Washington, DC

  • National Housing Trust/Enterprise Preservation Corp., nominated by DC Sustainable Energy Utility

 Massachusetts

  • Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, nominated by Cape Light Compact
  • Northeastern University, nominated by Eversource Energy
  • Stonehill College, nominated by National Grid

New Hampshire

  • Concord Hospital, nominated by Liberty Utilities/Unitil
  • Dartmouth College, nominated by Liberty Utilities
  • DevTech Labs, Inc., nominated by Eversource Energy
  • The Holderness School, nominated by New Hampshire Electric Co-op

New York

  • Ahold USA/Stop & Shop, nominated by PSEG-Long Island

Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island Department of Transportation, nominated by National Grid

Vermont

  • Central Vermont Medical Center, nominated by Efficiency Vermont

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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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