States and federal and local governments continued to make progress on energy efficiency policies in 2013 despite political and economic headwinds, according to Steven Nadel, Executive Director of American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, in his blog.
Highlights include utility programs that began in Mississippi and Louisiana, and legislation that was passed in Connecticut and Maine.
Seven states adopted one of the latest model building energy codes, he noted.
“On the federal level, the Department of Energy and the Office of Management and Budget made real progress on ending the backlog of new equipment efficiency standards, with new standards finalized for distribution transformers and microwave ovens, and many draft standards issued,” Nadel wrote.
Among local highlights was Chicago becoming the ninth and most recent U.S. city to require commercial building energy disclosure.
Electricity use and oil for transportation use are down from 2011 and 2012 levels, with utility-run energy efficiency programs, equipment and vehicle standards, seeming to have an effect.
Highlights to look forward to in 2014 include:
- Final equipment standards for a variety of products including electric motors, commercial refrigeration equipment, and residential furnace fans
- DOE and HUD are working on several housing initiatives including new energy standards for manufactured homes
- New energy efficiency requirements for federally-backed mortgages, and possibly modifications to mortgage underwriting criteria to include consideration of a home’s energy efficiency.
- Bipartisan energy efficiency legislation also might move in 2014
At the state level, many states will be considering new energy efficiency policies, including possible new rules in Oklahoma, equipment efficiency standards in California, and energy savings targets in Maryland and New York. Many cities are pursuing additional energy efficiency actions to improve sustainability and resiliency at the local level.