Public power utilities recognized for energy efficiency efforts

Austin Energy, Salt River Project and Missouri’s Columbia Water and Light were recognized for their energy efficiency efforts by receiving 2018 ENERGY STAR awards from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Texas-based Austin Energy and SRP received 2018 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence awards for energy efficiency program delivery. This is awarded to states, utilities, and other organizations for sponsoring energy efficiency programs to improve the efficiency of products, homes, and buildings within their community or territory.

Austin Energy received the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year–Sustained Excellence award for its consistent Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES) leadership and for providing residential utility customers with comprehensive energy efficiency improvements.

In an April 5 news release about the award, Austin Energy noted that it has offered a whole house energy-efficiency program since 1982 and has been a Home Performance with HPwES partner since 2004.

Austin Energy listed the following as its most notable 2017 achievements:

  • Transitioning a weatherization assistance Program into a HPwES program for low-income customers in order to provide consistently branded services to all income segments and the trust, quality and comprehensive approach of HPwES to more customers;
  • Using HPwES to lower the residential demand on Austin Energy’s grid by 1,748 kilowatts, delaying the need for acquiring expensive power generation;
  • Implementing a marketing campaign that includes digital, print, radio and television advertising directing homeowners to a redesigned website with improved navigation;
  • Eliminating carbon dioxide emissions by 1,152 metric tons, nitrogen oxides by 0.80 metric tons, sulfur dioxide by 0.73 metric tons and carbon monoxide by 0.56 metric tons;
  • Achieving a 92 percent customer satisfaction rate for HPwES contractors and a 92 percent customer satisfaction rate for Austin Energy rebates; and
  • Partnering with Texas Gas Service and Velocity Credit Union to provide rebates for 761 HPwES projects; the fund provides 3.99 percent financing for HPwES projects.  

SRP received the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year–Sustained Excellence recognition for substantial achievements in the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes and HPwES programs.

EPA noted that key 2017 accomplishments for Arizona-based SRP include:

  • Supporting the certification of nearly 5,500 ENERGY STAR certified homes, bringing the total number of homes certified through the program to more than 21,000 since 2012.
  • Promoting the ENERGY STAR certified homes program and label in a comprehensive marketing campaign including consumer brochures, billboards, digital media, and model home collateral material.
  • Leveraging ENERGY STAR throughout SRP's portfolio of customer programs and marketing campaigns to educate nearly 1 million customers.
  • Educating customers and offering discounts on a broad assortment of ENERGY STAR certified lamps with sales of more than 600,000 products and estimated annual savings of 24 million kilowatt hours.
  • Collaborating with other local organizations to offer HPwES, and improving the conversion rate for the HPwES program by nine percent compared to 2016, reaching a cumulative 50 percent conversion rate.

Columbia Water and Light

Columbia Water and Light received a Partner of the Year award for energy efficiency program delivery.

The EPA said that Columbia Water and Light received ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year recognition for its unique and consistent implementation of the HPwES program.

Key 2017 accomplishments for the utility include:

  • Partnering with the City of Columbia, Mo.’s Community Development Department and the Housing Authority to deliver high quality improvements with multiple funding options to low-income residents. Low-income residents participating in HPwES save approximately 25 percent on their heating and cooling bills;
  • Offering the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Score to participants in HPwES to explain energy savings potential and to document improved energy efficiency. Columbia Water and Light is developing a GIS mapping tool to track homes scored with the Home Energy Score;
  • Developing programs and marketing campaigns specifically designed for landlords and rental properties to reach the 55 percent of Columbia housing stock that is rental properties;
  • Holding more than 370 educational and outreach events since 2014, educating more than 30,000 residents on energy efficient practices and ENERGY STAR programs; and
  • Partnering with Boone Electric to provide HPwES to non-Columbia Water and Light customers living within the Columbia area, while creating consistency in program messaging and delivery.

The awards will be presented in Washington, D.C., on April 20. In total, 163 award winners were recognized for their outstanding achievements in energy efficiency.

Additional details about the awards are available here.