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What do you want to see at the NEEA / BPA conference?

Created 1/25/2013 by David Moody
Updated 5/16/2013 by Boyd Wilson
1020 views • 0 comments
As you have all heard by now, BPA and NEEA will be hosting a combined conference this May.  This event will offer a true regional perspective on energy efficiency and it has the potential to be a truly excellent event.  That said, the quality of any event is determined by its content, and to ensure we present the best event possible, I'd love to get eveyone's feedback.  What do you want to see at the conference?   

Out of the box ideas are welcome!


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Comments (46)
Eric Miller on 01/28/13 on 08:12 AM (Pacific Time)
Hey there Dave

Here is a potential idea. How about a break-out session on means of achieving a successful QA program regarding PTCS installations. By this time, we may have history from Utilities doing it in-house and also from those who are hiring it out.
Ben Fowler on 01/28/13 on 12:05 PM (Pacific Time)
I'll add that  the topic of PTCS made it on the list of the 20 most used Conduit tags this past year. Seems like a relevant topic. 
Curt Nichols on 01/28/13 on 07:40 PM (Pacific Time)
I'd like to hear from BPA's EE VP.  What's his vision for the future of EE in the NW?
David Moody on 01/29/13 on 07:40 AM (Pacific Time)
Thanks Eric Ben and Curt,  I appreciate the feedback.
Curt Nichols on 01/31/13 on 02:15 PM (Pacific Time)
I'd like to hear more about NEEA's research into the energy performance of rooftop package HVAC units.
Curt Nichols on 01/31/13 on 02:17 PM (Pacific Time)
A huge hall full of exhibitors would also be nice.  That's a great way to boost attendance, encourage helpful interactions, and cover some of the event's costs too.
Graham Parker on 01/31/13 on 02:56 PM (Pacific Time)
A session on the 'customer perspective' of EE from both large (like Starbucks or a food processor) to small (like the hair/nail salon in the strip mall that received a lighting retrofit).
David Moody on 01/31/13 on 04:04 PM (Pacific Time)
Great ideas.  Thank you all.  Keep them coming, we're listening.
Todd Blackman on 01/31/13 on 04:25 PM (Pacific Time)
Information Based Behavior Change (resulting in energy savings)
The people who developed the NEST thermostat understand this.
What else is out there or on the horizon?
Adam Hanks on 02/01/13 on 08:11 AM (Pacific Time)
I agree that behavior based efficiency would be a great topic as it can be a program that can be deployed and successful within the people power constraints that many of us have within our staffing resources.
Curt Nichols on 02/01/13 on 08:24 AM (Pacific Time)
To follow-up on Todd's point, Yoky Matsuoka, VP of Technology at NEST, is a very good speaker.  Let's invite her up here.
Todd Blackman on 02/01/13 on 09:03 AM (Pacific Time)
Curt that would be great to have NEST there, these folks have done a lot of great things in a catoagory that hs been very difficult to make progress into. They set an example of what can be done, I cant think of a better example of Behavior Based Behavior Product design. This is new and exciting ground we are covering here. The NEEA / BPA conference would be a great venue to showcase thier consumer based approach and their accomplishments in bridging the gap between the everyday thermostats user and high tech HVAC controls. People in large do not understand their thermostats or have any kind of productive relationship with them. NEST can change that, these folks understood the challenge and met it.  Their story is very much worth telling. I would attend this conference just to attend this one session.
Graham Parker on 02/01/13 on 09:53 AM (Pacific Time)
I'd be ok with NEST telling a story, but it needs to be backed up with independent data.  So far, when asked (by utility planners), they have not been forthcoming with data that confirms their "20-30%' energy savings.  I am ALWAYS skeptical when a manufacturer touts savings but has no independent/verifiable data to back up those claims.
Justin Holzgrove on 02/05/13 on 01:28 PM (Pacific Time)
I'd like to see a session on "BPA Rate Structure 101", including EXAMPLES of how particular conservation programs/measures can impact such pieces as a load shaping charge, a utility-wide demand charge, etc. There was a session last year that attempted to go there, but it wound up being WAY over the head of myself and others that I talked to about it.

I'd also like to hear more about the demand response side of things, in particular DSO 216, and the financial "cost" or "benefit" at the utility level to wind integration. Is there a $$/kWh value developed yet? How can we evaluate the cost/benefit to DR programs without a better established financial impact to the utility and/or the customer?

Educating the Conservation crowd with the basics of Power Supply and Power Purchase sure would go a long way to a more well-rounded army of energy-savers and program implementers. Help us to understand WHY we do what we do, not just HOW to do it better. (Which is also important!)

How about a behind-the-scenes virtual tour of BPA's load-balancing system, or other transmission related pieces? We're all kind of geeks at heart, right?
Rosemary DiCandilo on 02/07/13 on 01:37 PM (Pacific Time)
How about a forward look to 2020 on EE talent,( Knowledge, skills and abilities)?  What do the utilities know about the EE professional market demand and supply needs to 2020, i.e., EE professionals and the education and training support they need to meet those needs?  What research has been done recently if any?
Ben Fowler on 02/07/13 on 04:14 PM (Pacific Time)
Some great topics here. Keep the ideas coming. 

Sam Walker on 02/12/13 on 01:55 PM (Pacific Time)
What is 'opt out', and when will the next dialogue take place?
James White on 02/13/13 on 05:39 PM (Pacific Time)
I think it is important to show others how they can use monthly kWh billing data and average monthly temperature to quickly benchmark residential and commercial building's energy use.  We at Chelan County PUD and others can show how this readily available information can be used to quickly identify energy conservation opportunities, verify actual energy savings, and answer high bill concerns.

"Benchmarking Using Average Monthly Temperature"

The New Building Institute refers to these graphs as "Energy Signature" plots.  Once users are familiar with these charts, they become an integral tool in determining a building's energy use characteristics.
Denis DuBois on 02/14/13 on 09:14 AM (Pacific Time)
Not to dwell on the topic of NEST... the founder spoke at Greenbuild and I have to say I was underwhelmed. He has developed a much-needed tool, but his motivation to design and build the NEST was technological -- to control the comfort of his Lake Tahoe lodge from his iPhone. Perhaps others on his team are more attuned to the behavioral potential of their product now that anyone can have a NEST.

As for other topics, I'm very interested in stories of successful and not-so-successful EE programs. Do leaders of other regional EE orgs (or even international) speak at each other's conferences?
Erik Mazmanian on 02/14/13 on 09:59 AM (Pacific Time)
It would be interesting to see a panel topic on how analytics are starting to revolutionize what is arguably one of the largest challenge in energy efficiency - scale. You can't scale energy efficiency by simply putting boots on the ground and connected devices in buildings/businesses. Getting smarter about where the efficiency opportunities lie across major cities/utility portfolios has seen an incredible amount of innovation in recent months/years. 

Dave Backen on 02/14/13 on 01:55 PM (Pacific Time)
How about inviting assocations like National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) and IMARK (there are others as well such as NEMA, HARDI, etc.) to participate on a panel to discuss ways to leverage the commonalities of their efforts with those of utilities looking for energy savings?  There are generally local chapters of each of these that could also be tapped and leveraged.  It could be a little about what each is doing or what their top priorities are and how that fits with energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts.  There are definitely intersecting goals and targets.

I would see it as more of a discussion focused on commercial and industrial projects/opportunities as opposed to residential, although you could do both or do them separately as well (one C&I and one residential session).  I am happy to provide addtional thoughts here if there is interest.  Thanks!
Rob Penney on 02/14/13 on 01:57 PM (Pacific Time)
It seems that "smart thermostats" represent a rapidly evolving technology that is transcending the distinction between thermostats and energy management systems, so I would like to see a meaty panel providing the latest information on this.  Lure all the major vendors with the panels to have them fund booth space so people can chat with them directly after the presentations. 
Bob Hitchner on 02/14/13 on 03:07 PM (Pacific Time)
Hi Dave --

How do bpa and neea look at the potential for energy efficiency at the "water/energy nexus"?

In the water-rich northwest, should we be concerned about the embedded energy in our use of municipal water supplies, or not?

Oregon actually has one of the most enlightened regulatory frameworks for the reuse of the water at the residential level.  Is this something that should be addressed on a region-side basis, or not?

In a related question, since energy efficiency is really reducing power demand at the margin, what is a good price to use when evaluating energy effiiciency projects for residential, commercial or industrial users?  If we had benchmarks which reflected the marginal cost of that power, we could do a better job at recommending the right solutions for the market.

Renee Lertzman PhD on 02/14/13 on 06:38 PM (Pacific Time)
I would strongly recommend dedicating some serious time and space to the discussion of psychological/behavioral dimensions of engagement. As evidenced at the recent Oregon BEST behavior change event, there is starting to be a recognition that our current paradigms and approaches have taken us only so far. Reliance on smart meters, leases, feedback systems, technologies have their place, but can't do the 'heavy lifting' - which must come from people, and what is meaningful action and behaviors. We need to radically reach out across disciplines and learn from other sectors. (Full disclosure, this is the nature of my work and what I spent a lot of my time working on as a consultant.) Please feel free to get in touch!
PS some of this is covered in Kate Knight's blog: http://www.kateqknight.com/1/post/2012/10/make-me-love-you-and-maybe-ill-change-how-building-sciences-might-benefit-from-time-on-the-couch.html
Geert Aerts on 02/19/13 on 09:45 AM (Pacific Time)
Hoping to see more emphasis on the large efficiencies produced by energy management (resource conservation managers, etc.) and possible incentivization to increase participation.  A 150,000 sqft school was brought from an EUI of 92 to 31 three years ago with no-cost & low-cost retro-commissioning and energy management and has remained at that low EUI.  Improving equipment and even controls misses the largest available energy savings - those produced by managing the building/processes.  Without management, it doesn't seem that the efficiency goals set for the future will be met.
Teeraphan Chavanachat on 02/19/13 on 09:46 AM (Pacific Time)
Hi Dave;
We should start reviewing & updating what will the new State energy codes,for State of Washington (adoption date is 07/01/2013), and State of Oregon (adoption date 04/01/2014), impact on utility incentive programs and construction industry. The energy codes for 2 states are similar to 2012 IECC and 2010 ASHRAE 90.1.
I know, this is a boring topic, but it will impact most of us.
Lars Henrikson on 02/21/13 on 01:29 PM (Pacific Time)
I'd like to see some presentations, or maybe a panel on residential weatherizaton program planning and coordination.  I'd also like to hear success stories on getting deep energy retrofit work to happen in the residential sector without lots of money coming from the Feds.  And I'd like to hear from anyone who's had success in serving the rental market with higher impact weatherization and efficiency measures at a significant scale.
Stephen Achilles on 02/21/13 on 03:41 PM (Pacific Time)
I would like to hear a discussion around Deep Energy Savings in commercial.  Now that we have picked off the easy stuff how are we going to continue achieve the aggressive goals in the PNW?
Stephen Achilles on 02/21/13 on 03:42 PM (Pacific Time)
I am interested in the use of pay as you go meters utilized by the Salt River Project.  Are they sustaining the significant energy savings they were seeing two years ago.
Justin Holzgrove on 02/21/13 on 03:44 PM (Pacific Time)
1 for Lars' suggestion of success in serving the rental market with higher impact weatherization and efficiency measures at a significant scale.

We have taken a run at this via rental agencies, and while the outlook appeared promosing, it quickly fizzled. Lars, maybe you and I could compare notes off-line?
Mark Cherniack on 02/21/13 on 04:04 PM (Pacific Time)
On the RTU front: 1) like to have the Novatorque(.com) above NEMA Premium motor presented/discussed.
2)  Looked at the NEST for potential RTU control, but it's not built to handle 2 stages (econo compressor), at least not yet.  I asked them about this functionality, but got only a general response--not at this time.
3) Digi-RTU from Bes-Tech presented/discussed.  
Mark Cherniack on 02/21/13 on 04:09 PM (Pacific Time)
Recommend a presentation on New Buildings Institute/Energy RM First View commercial building performance diagnostic tool.  Pretty 'simple' and powerful.
James White on 02/22/13 on 07:58 AM (Pacific Time)
I would like to see an "on-bill financing" presentation.  Energy efficiency improvements at customer's homes and businesses would be financed by the electric utility and then repaid by a monthly charge on the individual customer's utility bill.  The repayment would stay with the electric meter, regardless of who occupies the building.  This would be one way to get major efficiency improvements on rental properties where the owner has no incentive to make the improvements because they don't pay the electric bills, and the renters have no incentive to make the improvements because they are not there long enough to recover their investment.  If utilities don't offer on-bill financing, the electric utilities will eventually end up paying all of the costs and recovering these costs across all the ratepayers.
David Moody on 02/22/13 on 08:35 AM (Pacific Time)
Hi All,

Huge thank you for all the great suggestions!  Also, in case you didn't see it in the Conduit Weekly Update this week, this thread is currently the number one most viewed on Conduit.  In any case, NEEA and BPA are working to compile a final list for our management and advisory groups to comment on and this feedback has been invaluable in getting that list fleshed out.  We expect a preliminary agenda in the coming weeks so stay tuned, and again, thank you.


Paul Birkeland on 02/28/13 on 10:20 AM (Pacific Time)
David - I just saw this thread, and hope it isn't too late.

I would like to see some discussion on how to apply strategic energy management to medium sized operations in the region. ISO 50001 is great, but WAY too onerous for medium sized businesses. What can we do to get them the benefits without the ISO overhead?

Timothy O'Leary on 03/07/13 on 01:18 PM (Pacific Time)

Probably too late to make suggestions but I would like to see

Residential Direct Digital Control technology strategies
Small Scale Distributed Generation Strategies for Rural and near Isolated Communities
Marketing Energy Efficiency in Natural Gas and Propane heating dominated areas
Successful Rural Energy Efficiency Programs

Not all of the Northwest is along a major population corridor.

Tim O'Leary
Michael Murray on 03/08/13 on 09:54 AM (Pacific Time)
What are the dates for this conference?
David Christie on 03/15/13 on 08:51 AM (Pacific Time)
I would like a session on the "pilot" Ductless Heat Pump Program.  We are starting to see problems cropping up after about 4 years running this program.
David Shepherd-Gaw on 03/15/13 on 09:57 AM (Pacific Time)
Commercial Audit Programs that are not expensive. Tool ideas, concepts for easier decision-making, especially for the mid-to-small commercial building segment.
JP Batmale on 04/02/13 on 08:42 AM (Pacific Time)
Too late to assemble a conference panel that discusses the implications of EWEB's recent moves regarding their lighting incentives and their residential EE program? Is it a canary in a coal mine? How does such a move impact broader state and/or regional policies?
Stephen Butterworth on 04/03/13 on 10:40 AM (Pacific Time)
In addition to working on the topics, I hope the organizers are working on enhancing the remote participant's experience through more broadcast time and session coverage. 
Ken Baker on 04/04/13 on 01:51 PM (Pacific Time)
I would like to see some serious discussions on program development and on the ground implementation in both the Res and Com, existing and new building sector.  
Bonnie Meyer on 04/04/13 on 02:51 PM (Pacific Time)
I agree with Geert that Resource Conservation Management is a good topic. We do behavior change and loads of M & V. The combination is unbeatable.
Ben Fowler on 04/18/13 on 10:49 AM (Pacific Time)
@ Stephen Butterwoth - yes, we will have more virtual sessions this year!

@ Michael Murray - May 14 - 16 in PDX. More info on the EENW site.
Nani Chesire on 05/14/13 on 08:02 AM (Pacific Time)
I would like to see more small to mid size commercial energy efficiency topics.
Boyd Wilson on 05/16/13 on 07:45 AM (Pacific Time)
Hello David,  I think that this conference hit the most important issues in today's EE environment.  I appreciate all the work that NEEA and BPA staff put into this conference.  The speakers and panels were great and very informative.  I am excited to see what the conference will look like for next year!