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HPC Working For You: Climate Change & Carbon Reduction

Posted by Deborah E. Miller on June 21, 2017
HPC Working For You: Climate Change & Carbon Reduction

HPC develops new approaches to federal, state and local policies that promote growth in the residential energy efficiency sector through research, education, and policy analysis. HPC works with stakeholders to resolve the most serious issues facing the residential energy efficiency industry and is a focal point for collaborative efforts on data standardization, program cost-effectiveness testing, weatherization, the valuation of home energy efficiency in the real estate market, and the integration of smart grid technology with residential building performance.

This post is focused on:

Climate Change & Carbon Reduction 

With the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, much of the action here in the U.S. on climate change and carbon reduction is shifting to state, city and local governments.

In taking a look at the activity in states, cities and localities, many already have significant programs for commercial and industrial buildings through benchmarking laws, and the like, that will bring sizable reductions in energy use and emissions reductions. But, while the commercial and industrial buildings sector produces these reductions, they don’t face the sort of variables and market barriers that we do in reducing energy use and carbon in the residential sector.

Here at HPC, we continue to work toward bringing our industry to scale, to take advantage of significant emissions reductions which could be available given the right financing, technology development, policies and partnerships. 

Did You Know?

Did you know that according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), the residential sector uses about 22% of the national’s total energy consumption and 38% of all electricity consumption?  In fact, the residential sector continues to grow each year – currently at 118 million homes with projections to grow about four million units in the next four years.

So, it is a no brainer that residential energy efficiency and demand response programs are an important key to reducing carbon, saving homeowners cash, improving the health and well-being of occupants, and creating clean tech jobs. But nothing is as easy as it seems, and HPC continues to work to bring together our industry with programs, policies, education and training that will build on a strong foundation to scale our industry to capture these sizable carbon reductions.

Since Trump’s announcement, there has been a groundswell of support in the U.S. for action under the Paris Agreement which should make the market for green jobs, including home performance jobs, continue to grow.

States and Localities Take on the Climate Challenge

Just recently mayors, governors, state attorneys general, college and university leaders, businesses, and investors joined forces in an initiative called We Are Still In to announce that they will continue to support action to meet our Paris Agreement commitment.

California, Washington State and New York State have formed the U.S. Climate Alliance to uphold the Paris Agreement. Twelve states and Puerto Rico have joined the Alliance and 10 other states while not members of the Climate Alliance have also announced that they will adhere to Paris Agreement. These states all commit to the same goals as the Paris Agreement, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% from 1990 levels by 2030. As with the Paris Agreement, no one strategy is required. Rather, each state decides how best to reach its goal.

Mayors nationwide are responding to the U.S. withdrawal with a call to action –  the announcement of a new initiative, the Mayors Climate Alliance, formed by the Mayor of Los Angeles, and the former mayors of Philadelphia and Houston. Already 305 mayors representing over 61 million Americans have signed up and more are committing each day.

Renewable Energy

In addition to energy efficiency and demand response, Renewable Energy will play an important role in state carbon reduction plans. As states and cities develop their emissions reduction strategies, renewable energy, both utility scale solar and wind power plants, are being built by companies to generate clean energy and help offset emissions.

Residential Solar & Home Performance

In the case of residential solar, we will need to be ready to integrate distributed solar (PV Panels) into our residential building strategies. At HPC, we’re already thinking about this with a future initiative to incorporate guidance on PV Solar into the next version of the recently published National Standard Practice Manual for Assessing Cost Effectiveness of Energy Efficiency Resources (NSPM). Distributed solar systems need to work seamlessly with other high performance residential energy efficiency measures (duct sealing, insulation, high efficiency HVAC, etc.) and systems, and be integrated into the electric grid to reduce energy consumption and emissions while maintaining voltage stability and grid reliability.

Stay tuned for more information on this and other related topics as we continue to unfold, HPC Working For You!

 

Deborah E. Miller is the Director of Business Development & Strategic Projects for HPC.

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