The cleanest energy is the energy you never use.
For this reason, energy efficiency is perhaps the most overlooked resource but energy efficiency is happening just about everywhere – where we live, work, shop, and play.
And the opportunities for energy efficiency savings in Ohio homes, businesses and factories are massive – we can literally never stop improving the efficiency of everything that requires power.
Simply defined, energy efficiency means getting the same amount of services we expect when we use energy – electricity or natural gas in our homes, for example – but using less of it to deliver those same services.
For instance, when we enter a room and flip a switch, we expect the lights to come on. Energy efficiency can deliver the same amount of lighting, but uses less energy to help us see clearly around the room.
Energy efficiency is a common sense resource, because the best kind of energy is the kind you don’t need to use. Energy waste is reduced by making our homes, businesses, factories, schools, and government buildings more efficient through the use of more efficient products, like lighting and home appliances, and by sealing up drafty areas so that your inside air – either heated or air conditioned – can’t escape.
Energy efficiency creates jobs in a number of ways. First, the jobs associated with weatherizing homes and businesses cannot be exported. Energy efficiency relies on better technologies that we use directly or indirectly everyday: home appliances, computers & laptops, furnaces, air conditioners, insulation, windows, water treatment systems, and all the gadgets that entertain us and our families. Ohio companies are investing everyday in innovation and research into making more energy efficient consumer products.
Ohio’s Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) – the state’s requirement on electric utilities to meet a portion of their customer demand through energy efficiency – was established in 2008 with the enactment of Ohio Senate Bill 221.
The standard sets annual energy reduction targets, or benchmarks, for Ohio’s electric utilities starting with 0.3% in the first year and increasing to a modest 2% of electricity sales by the year 2027. Overall, the standard will reduce 22.5% of Ohio’s electric energy use by the year 2027. Since 2009, this standard has resulted in over $5.1 Billion in savings for Ohio customers on their utility bills.
How do Ohio’s utilities – American Electric Power (AEP), FirstEnergy, Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) and Duke Energy – achieve these savings goals?
Primarily, these utilities offer discounts and rebates on energy efficient lighting, weatherization, and household appliances. Depending on what kind of customer you are – residential, commercial or industrial – your utility’s energy efficiency programs will offer different incentives on items and systems you use that require electricity. For example, you can earn a rebate on purchasing an Energy Star rated refrigerator, or a factory could get an incentive to replace old lighting with new LED fixtures.
However, in 2014 the Ohio General Assembly enacted law changes that negatively impacted Ohio’s efficiency standard. Ohio Senate Bill 310 included provisions that weakened Ohio’s efficiency standard by creating an opt-out for large industrial customers, and allowed utilities to count efficiency savings that they had no role in helping achieve. These three law changes resulted in an economic loss of $3.6 Billion to Ohioans between 2017 – 2027. In sum, while Ohio’s energy efficiency resource standard is still providing tremendous value for Ohioans in terms of bill savings and reduced air emissions, the standard has been weakened over time and if strengthened, could produce many more benefits for our state.
The Ohio CHP Connection was formed over time as a volunteer coalition of business, policy, academic and environmental interests that support and promote CHP and WHR as effective, economical and environmentally sensible energy options for the State of Ohio.
The Ohio CHP Connection includes representatives of large industrial users, environmental policy experts and advocates, technical experts and CHP/WHR project developers.
Find updates and materials from workshops and webinars at the Ohio CHP Connection website.