Energy Efficiency

Chris Jensen / NHPR

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has introduced a bill she says would reduce operating costs for places like hospitals, universities and manufacturing plants by helping them make efficient use of energy that would otherwise be wasted.  

Shaheen says the bill addresses regulatory barriers that hamper the use of heat recovery technologies known as combined heat and power and waste heat to power.  

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

President Barack Obama has signed a scaled back version of an energy efficiency bill co-authored by New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

The bill, co-sponsored by New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte, aims to cut energy use in commercial buildings, manufacturing plants and homes. It includes the Better Buildings Act, which Ayotte first introduced in 2013.

The measure was popular with both parties. But it was defeated last year after becoming enmeshed in a partisan fight over the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

As winter arrives, many Vermonters are probably going to be shivering – indoors. The state wants to weatherize 80,000 homes, a quarter of them owned or occupied by people with low incomes, by 2020.

But that goal is behind schedule, even though some new money is coming in.

A bi-partisan bill that is a major policy priority for Senator Jeanne Shaheen has easily cleared a procedural vote in the US senate. 79 Senators voted in favor of starting debate on the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, which would ramp up incentives for federal and private spending on energy efficiency measures.

Shaheen is co-sponsoring the bill with Republican Senator Rob Portman from Ohio.

Opower

New Hampshire’s two largest electric utilities are piloting new billing programs, aimed at getting people to save electricity. These programs could be part of a sea change in the way we are billed for electricity, aimed at encouraging efficiency and conservation.  And while convincing Americans to use less energy has always been a bit of a slog, these two pilot programs in New Hampshire hope to change that. One uses the brunt force of economics and the other uses the subtle science of psychology.

JasonWalton / Flickr Creative Commons

A recent report places New Hampshire in the middle of the pack nationally when it comes to programs and policies to conserve energy, and that we’re behind the other New England states. We’ll look at the costs, regulations and the possible outcomes down the road.

GUESTS:

Ben McCleod via Flickr CC

When it comes to investing in energy efficiency, many in New Hampshire’s clean energy sector are worried the state is falling behind the rest of the region. A recent national report seems to bear that out. It ranks New Hampshire last in New England for efficiency policies. But efforts to ramp up the least controversial energy policy – using less – could have a hard time getting the support of the state’s business community.

Sustainable Sanitation via Flickr Creative Commons

More than a third of the world’s population don’t have access to clean, safe toilets. It’s a humanitarian and global health hazard, that the world bank drains $260 billion off the global economy each year. The Gates Foundation challenged engineers to develop commodes that are clean, cheap, and don’t require electricity, a sewage system, or even water. But as with and new product, you have to test it. That’s where John Koeller comes in. He’s principal engineer at Maximum Performance, a company who tests toilet efficiency, using its own – ahem—patented material.

Comstock/Hemera Collection

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Now that hot weather is coming, I want to upgrade my home’s A/C. Which are the most energy-saving models and should I go central air or window units?

                                                                                                               -- Jackie Smith, Cary, NC

Zoonar/Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: How energy efficient (and comfortable) is underfloor heating, sometimes known as radiant heating?                                                                                              -- Marcy Dell, Boston, MA

Underfloor radiant heating involves under laying the floor with a hot element or tubing that transfers heat into the room via infrared radiation and convection, obviating the need for forced or blowing air.

Flikr Creative Commons / GraySky

A new report out from the New Hampshire Energy and Climate Collaborative finds that NH may not be doing enough to make homes more energy efficient.

Three years ago Governor John Lynch put forth his climate action plan, a roadmap for how to reduce the states carbon emissions. Number one on the list of strategies: maximize energy efficiency in buildings. But getting homeowners to invest in efficiency has been harder than policymakers had hoped.

Flikr Creative Commons / Graysky

Two New Hampshire Energy efficiency programs are teaming up to try to weatherize more New Hampshire homes. The Community Development Finance Authority is combining its weatherization program with Public Service of New Hampshire’s.

Flikr Creative Commons / Claudio Schwarz

Lawmakers in the New Hampshire House and Senate have agreed to try to reform RGGI – the region’s carbon cap-and-trade program – instead of trying to repeal it outright.

The bill that will go to the House and Senate for a final vote would only send around half of the RGGI fund money to energy efficiency programs. The rest would be rebated to electricity rate-payers.

Flikr Creative Commons / Jim.Richmond

Republican are working at finding common language on a bill that would weaken or repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI. They will have to agree on a version that will get enough votes to overcome a governor’s veto.