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energy efficiency

Here in Cambridge, MA we’re all too familiar with frigid winters. We may consider ourselves all-star thermostat programmers, but how many of us know in detail where the heat comes from? Most of us, knowingly or not, count on electric resistance baseboards, oil furnaces, or gas boilers to warm our homes and occupy our heating bills. But there’s another option that may be worth a look: heat pumps.

Join Synapse this Thursday for the October edition of our Third Thursday webinar series!

Raise Your (Cost-Effectiveness Screening) Standards: A Discussion of the National Standard Practice Manual for Assessing Cost-Effectiveness of Energy Efficiency Resources 

October 19, 2017 | 2:00-3:00pm ET

On May 1, 2017, ISO-NE released CELT 2017, its latest forecast for electricity demand in New England. As the independent system operator, ISO-NE is responsible for coordinating electric generation and sales in New England and for ensuring the reliable operation of the region’s electric grid.

Energy efficiency is a bargain, costing utilities less than $0.04 per kWh of saved energy. Larger programs are even cheaper, with average utility costs of $0.023 per saved kWh. That’s the message that emerges from a huge database of reports on efficiency programs, updated annually by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Utilities and other energy efficiency providers submit annual reports on efficiency programs on EIA’s Form 861. We examined the total of more than 2,600 complete reports from 2010 to 2015. Key findings include:

Synapse recently created a dataset mapping the costs and savings from ratepayer-funded low-income electric efficiency programs against state poverty rates. We found that, despite the savings opportunities from low-income electric efficiency, states with a higher proportion of low-income residents than the United States average tend to spend less on these programs than states with a lower than average proportion of low-income residents. We also found that low-income energy efficiency does not cost more per kilowatt-hour saved in the states that spend more.

The inaugural Energy Efficiency Day has arrived! During this collaborative celebration, we’re highlighting the energy efficiency work happening at Synapse. Below are a few samples of our recent and ongoing efficiency projects. Follow #EEDay2016 on Twitter to learn more about the energy efficiency efforts of a wide range of organizations, companies, and individuals across the country.  

Advising Development of the National Energy Efficiency Registry

The final numbers are in, and the results are impressive. Final 2015 assessments indicate that both Massachusetts and Rhode Island surpassed their electric energy efficiency savings targets. Once again, these efficiency leaders push the perceived limits of efficiency programs—demonstrating that energy efficiency programs can achieve electricity savings above or near 3 percent of sales.

Meeting the emission reduction goals of states within the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) will yield billions of dollars in savings and tens of thousands of new jobs each year for over a decade, according to a Synapse study released today. A more stringent RGGI cap, complemented by individual state renewable resource and efficiency standards, will help states achieve their climate goals, which cluster around a 40 percent reduction from 1990 emissions levels by 2030.

Energy efficiency is widely recognized as an abundant and low-cost option for complying with the requirements of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. However, not all electric customers have equal access to customer-funded efficiency programs. Concerns about fairness between customers—those who participate in programs and see greater benefits than those who do not—create a barrier to widespread implementation of energy efficiency programs.

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