There’s nothing better than Seattle in the summertime. But with temperatures approaching 80 degrees this Fourth of July, you may be looking for ways to beat the heat. Here are a few tips from the U.S. Department of Energy* on how to keep cool and conserve energy without breaking the bank! Check out this month’s issue of Light Reading for more innovative ways to conserve energy this summer from planting a tree to using your slow cooker. Click here to take a look!
Seattle City Light will be partnering with Preservation Green Lab in its mission to “strengthen the fabric of communities by leveraging the value of existing buildings to reduce resource waste, create jobs, and bolster a strong sense of community.”
Preservation Green Lab, supported by the U.S Department of Energy, is a local program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Currently, Preservation Green Lab is participating in a nation-wide 3-year initiative “America Saves! Energizing Main Street’s Small Businesses.” This program is designed to promote and encourage energy efficiency while realizing the true financial benefits associated with it. By focusing their efforts on small buildings and businesses in Main Street communities, Preservation Green Lab sees an opportunity to generate economic and environmental benefits. In addition to raising awareness of the potential for these Main Street communities to save money by altering their energy usage, the program also encourages reinvestment back into the community.
Locally, under this program, Preservation Green Lab will work with 150 small businesses in Seattle’s Capitol Hill EcoDistrict. In order for this program to be successful, it is crucial that Preservation Green Lab has access to data from local utility companies. City Light will provide energy consumption data on behalf of participating businesses along with funding for eligible conservation measures.
In March, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) and Seattle City Light conducted a study to demonstrate the effectiveness of solid-state lighting (SSL) using LEDs.
Solid-state lighting products will let municipalities and utilities dim streetlights to lower levels, save significant energy and make streets safer for drivers and pedestrians. Solid-state lighting also enhances peripheral vision, depth of field and color representation.
In this new video, you can watch how NEEA and its utility partners collaborate to accelerate the adoption of this energy-efficient lighting technology in the region.
If your city or utility wants to learn more about solid-state lighting, visit NEEA’s website, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Municipal Solid State Street Lighting Consortium or the Solid-State Streetlight group on Conduit.
The Seattle Channel covered the kickoff for a key LED streetlighting test that the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance is running in Ballard in cooperation with Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Municipal Solid State Street Lighting Consortium. In case you didn’t get to watch it live, you can now check it out in this video.
Testers hope to demonstrate that the higher quality of light from LED streetlights improves driver, bicyclist and pedestrian vision and safety so much over traditional high-pressure sodium lights that cities can reduce the volume of light they aim at their roads. This would save cities millions of dollars each year.
Another aspect of the test is to see how effective remote controls can be for adjusting light levels to meet traffic demands. This would further allow cities to dial down the amount of light when few cars are on the road, conserving electricity, reducing costs and enhancing the quality of life for nearby residents.
The test started March 6 and wraps up tonight.
A team of municipalities, utilities and nonprofit organizations led by the Washington State Department of Commerce has been awarded more than $520,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy to accelerate the use of solar power in the state.
Partners in the project are the Cities of Seattle, Bellevue, Edmonds, and Ellensburg; Seattle City Light, Snohomish Public Utilities District and Puget Sound Energy; Northwest SEED; Solar WA; Thurston Energy; Sustainable Connections.
“We are very encouraged that the Department of Energy is supporting the joint efforts of local governments and utilities to streamline processes to produce renewable energy in our neighborhoods,” said Daniel Malarkey Washington State Department of Commerce Deputy Director. “Commerce is pleased to convene this group of utilities and local leaders to rethink how we can be most responsive to community needs while tapping the full potential of renewable energy. Governments working together can help create a larger market that will help bring costs down.”
The grant announced this month will provide $523,800 to streamline and standardize permitting, zoning, net metering and interconnection processes while also improving financing options, reducing barriers and lowering the cost to install residential and small commercial rooftop solar energy equipment. Among the improvements the Washington team will work to create are an online permitting system, shorter permitting turnaround times and resolve barriers.
“Developing new, renewable energy resources is a critical component for reducing our impact on the environment, particularly climate change,” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said. “Solar energy can be part of that solution. Working together, this group has an opportunity to make it easier for residents and small businesses to tap into the sustainable, clean power of the sun.”
“We want to make installing clean, renewable solar energy as easy and cost-effective as possible,” said Snohomish PUD Energy Efficiency Program Manager Jessica Mitchell. “This new system will help streamline the process and reduce costs, eliminating many unnecessary hurdles for our customers and trade allies.”
Such steps would encourage customers and small businesses to install solar panels, supporting jobs throughout the area.
“Sun Shot invites stakeholders to adopt a standard process for any customer who wants to purchase solar, no matter where they live or which utility serves their electric load,” said Jennifer Grove, Executive Director, Northwest SEED. “As advocates for clean, distributed energy in Washington, we’re excited to take part in making it easier to go solar for customers, communities and utilities, and we look forward to helping boost the economy through increased solar installation activity.”
This award is part of $12 million in funding for the Rooftop Solar Challenge under U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. This challenge is part of the Energy Department’s larger effort to make solar energy more accessible and affordable, increase domestic solar deployment, and position the U.S. as a leader in the rapidly-growing global solar market.
“Through this competition, the Energy Department is investing in this Washington project to unleash the community’s solar potential by making it faster, easier, and cheaper to finance and deploy solar power,” U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said. “These awards will reduce the costs to homeowners and businesses of installing solar energy systems, while saving money and time for local governments faced with tight budgets.”
Non-hardware, or “soft,” costs like permitting, installation, design and maintenance currently account for up to 40 percent of the total cost of installed rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems in the U.S. Across the nation today, there are more than 18,000 local jurisdictions with their own PV permitting requirements, land use codes and zoning ordinances; more than 5,000 utilities that are implementing standards for connecting and selling energy back to the energy grid; and all 50 states are developing their own connection standards and processes for supplying and pricing energy sold back to the grid. According to a report released earlier this year by SunRun, local permitting and inspection processes alone add $0.50 per watt, or $2,500 per residential installation nation-wide.
See the full list of awards HERE.
An interactive map of the awardees can be found HERE.
Visit the Rooftop Solar Challenge website.
The DOE SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort to make solar cost-competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade. Reducing the installed cost of solar energy systems by about 75 percent will drive widespread large-scale adoption of solar—fortifying U.S. leadership in the global clean energy race while spurring new industries and job creation across the nation. For more information, visit the SunShot Initiative website.
DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.