By Mitchell Young
The US Environmental Protection Agency’s [EPA] top administrator Gina McCarthy, knows Connecticut well, she was commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection from 2004–2009.
In her position as Connecticut’s environmental leader McCarthy worked closely with Connecticut’s energy companies as many of the state’s energy initiatives were first being created.
The EPA has recognized some of those efforts it awarded Energize Connecticut’s partners Eversource, The United Illuminating Company (UI), Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas as a 2016 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year for Energy Efficiency Program Delivery.
The ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award, is “one of the EPA’s highest honors, highlights outstanding commitments to the creation and promotion of environmentally responsible energy efficiency initiatives.”
“As a leader in ENERGY STAR program implementation, Eversource and UI are helping transform the energy efficiency market,” said McCarthy adding “using ENERGY STAR resources, these companies are expanding access to energy-saving practices to grow the economy and protect the environment.”
UI and Eversource administer Energize Connecticut programs and those efforts are reducing pollution and saving Connecticut businesses and consumers tons of money.
ENERGY STAR programs are the source of the EPA award and a big part of what the utilities’ programs do but the partnership does even more.
“The Energy Star brand is instrumental in helping us promote a lot of the energy efficiency efforts we have”, said, Ronald Araujo: Manager – Energy Efficiency, Eversource. Araujo added, “whenever we provide incentives for any energy efficient product in the commercial arena it ha to carry the Energy Star certification or an alternative organization [such as the Design Lighting Consortium] that we recognize.”
Marissa Westbrook, Manager of Residential Energy Services, The United Illuminating Company explained that the companies provide incentives on more than just lighting, saying “we provide, instant discount on HVAC and water heating products, that offer the Energy Star label,” adding that the “instant discount is applied at the distributor level, we call it the upstream program.”
A quick hit of accomplishments highlight why Business New Haven joins in recognizing the effort.
• ENERGY STAR certified LED bulbs sales reached more than 2.1 million in 2015, a 400 percent increase since 2013.
• Even as energy prizes stabilized incentives for nearly 12,000 ES certified HVAC and water heating products, created savings of almost 3.2 million kilowatts [kWh] annually, 42.3 million kWh over the lifetime of the equipment.
• Partnerships with heating and water heating distributors reached nearly universal coverage [99 percent of equipment distributors, 100 percent of water heating retailers, and more than 480 equipment installation contractors].
• The partners reached out to under-served market segments, including elderly, bilingual, and low-income customers, bringing the ES, LED bulbs to more than 220 discount chains, small local stores and bodegas.
• Educational and marketing materials in non-English language including Spanish and Chinese, helped drive the sale of more than 126,000 certified bulbs to under-served markets statewide.
• The new, expanded Energize Connecticut Center in North Haven, hosted school tours, community events, seminars, and small meetings for industry partners and local businesses. Since opening in April 2015, the Center welcomed more than 11,000 visitors and hosted 125 school tours.
• Working with more than 150 municipalities benchmarks for more than 1,500 public buildings were created using the EPA Portfolio Manager. Municipal action plans for energy efficiency improvements were designed to achieve 20 percent savings by 2018.
• Developed and implemented the Bright Idea Grants award system, through which municipalities earn points for participation in utility efficiency programs, and can redeem these points for additional grants to fund the implementation of energy-saving projects in their municipal action plans.