After many years of blogging, and consistent with my desire to move toward retirement, we have ended the Insights blog. Thanks to Doug Bedell for his years of blog support.

Metering Energy Efficiency

Posted on July 9, 2015
Filed Under Business, Technology | Leave a Comment

There’s a thoughtful article on energy efficiency – how to achieve and measure it, especially in households – on MIT’s Technology Review site. This post isn’t intended fully to resolve this important question, but to note MIT’s helpful information on it.

First off, American industries, as contrasted with homes, “have done a good job of becoming more (energy) efficient.” That’s not, of course, because homeowners and renters are perverse about energy savings, but that achieving them in significant volume is harder to do in households. So “overall energy consumption by households has continued to rise, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.”

Sentiments have sharpened since a study on weatherization assistance in Michigan households was released in June. Based on 30,000 households participating in the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), it showed that “The costs to deploy the efficiency upgrades were about double the energy savings.”

Gee, households are hopeless. Not really – “There’s plenty of counter-evidence,” the MIT review notes. Marshaling it is challenging, though. You need to measure “actual savings at the electricity meter.”

That’s what California is attempting to do: “Using data from electricity meters to track actual savings and adjust projections to match performance.” The state’s CalTRACK program is “using data from electricity meters to track actual savings and adjust projections to match performance. It’s “supported by environmental groups and utilities such as Pacific Gas & Electric and is based on the Open Energy Efficiency Meter, “a technology standard designed to help businesses, homeowners, utilities, and regulators reliably calculate the savings from energy efficiency projects.”

Monitoring energy use is challenging and MIT provides several links to source materials on the issues and prospects involved. They’re definitely worth pursuing by anyone seriously interested in energy efficiency, and we’re pleased to provide this lead into the matter. Metering’s the method, it appears. – Doug Bedell


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