Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC) Advocacy 2021
In 2021, we continued to see our daily lives impacted by the ongoing presence of Covid 19. Both Oregon and Washington legislatures met in a virtual format, which some might say enabled greater constituent and stakeholder participation and certainly did not generate barriers for our engagement. NEEC participated in both sessions delivering constructive feedback and testimony to legislators and collaborating with peer advocates to identify where our voice might be needed. In Washington, we supported the Climate Commitment Act where we collaborated with several NEEC members to deliver testimony and provided our voice to the education campaign led by Clean and Prosperous Washington. In Oregon, we supported HB 2021, which requires electric utilities to achieve 100% clean electricity by 2040, delivering constructive testimony to legislators to encourage they consider the demand-side opportunities alongside and equally with the supply-side opportunities. Both bills were passed and NEEC will stay engaged as rulemakings determine how these laws are implemented.
Both Oregon and Washington are undergoing rapid change in the energy space with the recent passage of 100% Clean, Clean Buildings and others. Statewide and local policy are impacting our industry at an exhilarating pace from sweeping legislation like cap and trade to smaller city ordinances and energy codes such as the recently announced Executive Order from Mayor Durkan of the City of Seattle, which calls for the formation of a carbon-based commercial building performance standard. As both states look to decarbonize buildings and electricity, it is essential that we consider the structural and regulatory barriers in place to smart and innovative ways to leverage buildings in the clean energy transition. NEEC believes that while decarbonizing electricity is an important goal, it cannot be reasonably achieved without also considering how we can shape consumer energy loads to better align with when renewable energy sources are producing power. Policies that encourage utilities to procure demand-side building-as-grid resources provide those utilities with more options in how they decarbonize the grid. In having more options, utilities can manage their service in the most efficient and affordable manner. At the same time, these policies will help to usher in an era of building innovation that will accelerate smart buildings technology adoption and expand regional economic development. We look forward to continuing to partner with all of you to champion smart policy that supports a priority role for buildings in the emerging clean energy landscape.
New NEEC Members
NEEC welcomed the following new members in 2021:
New Smart Buildings Center Education Program (SBCEP) Partner
SBCEP welcomed Seattle Public Utilities Saving Water Partnership as a new partner in 2021. The Saving Water Partnership is an organization comprised of 19 water utilities in King and Snohomish counties that share a common water supply. They offer tips, tools, and rebates to help people preserve our region’s water for future generations. Learn more at www.savingwater.org.
Smart Buildings Center Webinars & Trainings
In October, SBCEP hosted The Future of Building Occupancy Controls: Safety, Efficiency & Sustainability in a Post-COVID World webinar with ATS Automation, McKinstry, and Nomad Go AI. The panel discussed how real time occupancy data can enable better building management in reducing CO2 emissions and saving energy. Panelists highlighted the latest technology and artificial intelligence solutions for running HVAC systems and building controls to optimize for energy savings and sustainability. The webinar recording is available on the SBC YouTube channel.
SBC also added four Tool Lending Library video tutorials to the SBC YouTube channel in 2021. The videos cover Healthier Air in Buildings: Tools and Strategies, Verifying Ventilation System Effectiveness Using a Flow Hood, Assessing Air Pressure in Buildings, and CO2 Measurement for Healthier Air in Buildings. Thank you to Puget Sound Energy, Seattle City Light, and the Washington State Department of Commerce for supporting the development of the videos.
Smart Buildings Exchange
The SBC hosted its inaugural virtual Smart Buildings Exchange August 24-25, 2021. Over 1,000 individuals from across the United States and around the globe attended the two-day event, joining us on the Socio event platform to engage with one another and hear from an impressive list of industry thought leaders. The event kicked off with an executive plenary panel on the role of the changing utility and smart buildings. Subsequent topics included grid-interactive efficient buildings, workforce development, post-covid occupancy, AI and machine learning, buildings and carbon and other compelling topics. Recordings are available on the SBC YouTube Channel. Thank you to the speakers and event sponsors who made the series possible!
Tool Lending Library
The Tool Lending Library is open for reservations, and we are happy to provide our stakeholders with this service. Tools may be picked up or returned by appointment at the Smart Buildings Center (SBC), or tools can be shipped within Washington or Oregon.
Tools may be picked up or returned by appointment only at the Smart Buildings Center (SBC), or we can ship tools within Washington or Oregon.
Building Operator Certification (BOC) Program
The BOC program continued virtual training in 2021 and via 41 BOC courses, the program trained 771 professionals across 22 states. The program also launched a third level of training, the Fundamentals of Energy Efficient Building Operations, designed for those looking to start a career in building operations and maintenance as well as existing facilities personnel who are looking for a solid foundational understanding of energy efficiency and building systems.
Spring 2022 courses and the 2022 technical webinar series are open for registration at www.theboc.info.
Washington Clean Buildings Performance Standard Training Series
SBC developed and delivered a training series on the Washington Clean Buildings Performance Standard with technical expertise support from Ecotope. The Standard, passed in 2019, is aimed at lowering energy costs and reducing pollution from fossil fuel consumption in commercial buildings larger than 50,000 gross square feet. The training series was designed to support the qualified person responsible for their building’s compliance with the Standard. Content was offered in three segments: Compliance Scenarios; Benchmarking Your Building in Preparation for Compliance; and Developing an Energy Management Plan. The workshop recordings can be found under “Past Workshop Videos” on the Department of Commerce website. Thank you to Avista, Clark PUD, Puget Sound Energy, Snohomish County PUD and Tacoma Power for sponsoring the training series.
NEEC Staff News
While the global pandemic continued in 2021, we are grateful that NEEC staff members stayed safe and healthy. NEEC’s staff continued working from home with coordinated office visits adhering to WA State pandemic guidelines.
NEEC welcomed 2 new babies this year:
Kerry Meade welcomed her son Angus Warren Meade McCord on May 27th.
Brittany Quigley welcomed her daughter Jovie Lynn Quigley on October 12th.