Construction guidebook points way to efficient new buildings

Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) recently discussed the New Building Institute’s New Construction Guide in their August Energy Services Bulletin. The guide serves as a reference for building design and construction professionals to define high performance in building envelope, lighting, HVAC power systems and controls. It offers a whole-building approach to achieving deep energy efficiencies in new building projects.

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Reduce home energy use by 20% with free web app

Today is the 44th celebration of Earth Day–a day when we celebrate our planet and demonstrate support for environmental protection. In order to celebrate Earth Day every day, the Earth Day Network and WattzOn, an energy engagement platform, have teamed up to create a FREE web application that helps families save energy and money. Through simple, personalized recommendations, the Earth Day Network EnergyCenter, available HERE, helps users take control of their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint.

“This year we want to empower our network to make an impact on energy use, and are challenging families to reduce their consumption by 20%,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network. “It’s a big goal, but most families can save through simple habit changes and small home projects, and the Earth Day network EnergyCenter is a great tool to learn how.”

To get started, users answer a few questions about their home, such as the year it was built and square footage, in order to create a home profile. The EnergyCenter provides tailored recommendations for saving energy and an individualized action plan for more efficient energy use. Users are also able to connect the app to their utility or enter their utility bill information in order to stay up-to-date on their progress and track their savings.

EnergyCenter 1

Other features include:

  • a Learning Center with informational articles on everything from dishwashers and lighting to efficient televisions and air ducts. that allows users to compare their car’s fuel efficiency against others to see how much they could save.
  • a Rebates Center with information and links to the latest rebates and tax credits available nationwide and in your region or state.
  • a Solar Advisor with cost-savings estimates and other information concerning home solar energy.
  • a My Car app, which allows users to determine the fuel efficiency of their vehicle and compare it with other makes and models.

Like many web applications, the EnergyCenter is also available for iPhone and Android. For more information or to sign up, visit

WattzOn is a personal energy management platform that helps companies, communities and individuals save money and energy. By combining advanced technology, behavioral science and powerful data and analytics, the company provides innovative energy management solutions or consumers, businesses and government agencies.

Growing out of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network (EDN) works to protect our planet and its people every day. EDN is a recognized leader in environmental education and in creating civically-oriented innovative programs with partners outside the environmental movement to tackle new challenges.

Join the National Green Week celebration

Spearheaded by the Green Education Foundation (GEF), National Green Week is an annual event that empowers schools to engage in sustainability focused lessons, projects or activities. From the first full week in February until the end of Earth Month (April), participating districts, schools, classrooms and youth groups choose a week and select from one of GEF’s sustainability focused programs to be their ‘green theme.’  Continue reading

IAMU teams up with Iowa Economic Development Authority on DOE rooftop solar initiative

The Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities (IAMU) and the Iowa Economic Development Authority are partnering on a Department of Energy initiative to spur solar power deployment across the nation. Continue reading

Minnesota receives funds for development of wood energy projects

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week a partnership agreement to expand wood energy use, which will help improve the safety and health of our nation’s forests. The new partnership includes USDA, the Alliance for Green Heat, the Biomass Power Association, the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, and the Pellet Fuels Institute. 

Vilsack also announced more than $1.1 million in grants being awarded to five organizations to form state-wide teams that will stimulate development of wood energy projects. Grant recipients are:

  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Saint Paul
  • Idaho Governors Office of Energy Resources, Boise
  • The Watershed Research & Training Center, Hayfork, California
  • North Country Resource Conservation & Development Council, Gilford, New Hampshire
  • The Alaska Energy Authority, Anchorage

Collectively, $2.9 million will be spent on this effort — $1.1 million in federal funds and $1.8 million in non-federal funds. Vilsack said the partnership will help find innovative ways to use leftover wood to create renewable energy and support good jobs in rural America.

“Wood to energy efforts are a part of our ‘all of the above’ energy strategy,” Vilsack said. “Appropriately scaled wood energy facilities also support our efforts to remove hazardous fuels and reduce the risks of catastrophic wildfires.”

The partnership agreement focuses on promoting wood energy nationwide as a means to address fire risk, bolster rural economic development, improve air quality and help meet the Obama Administration’s renewable energy and energy efficiency goals. These organizations support the use of wood energy across the scale of users, including residential, commercial and institutional facilities as well as industrial production of heat and/or electricity to drive businesses and feed the electrical grid.

Click HERE for more information on the agreement program.