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Our Thinking

3 ways a new law in Delaware will bring big benefits to the First State’s energy consumers

  • By Harry Godfrey and Ricky Gratz
  • September 17, 2014

Energy efficiency just received a tremendous boost in Delaware.

Last month, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed Senate Bill 150 — which will deepen and broaden Delaware’s commitment to saving energy — into law.

The new law will give First State residents the opportunity to participate in an expanded suite of efficiency initiatives, such as behavioral programs, lighting programs, and appliance rebates. These new programs will help reduce customer utility bills, create local jobs by driving investments in energy efficiency, and lead to substantial environmental and health benefits.

Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Markell, the strong bi-partisan support provided by the Delaware General Assembly, and the vision of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), the expansion of such cost-effective energy efficiency programs will soon become a reality. Here are three things the new law will do for Delaware:

1. It will drive customer bill savings

In the past, Delaware trailed its neighbors in efficiency investments, ranking 22nd on the ACEEE State Efficiency Scorecard. Now, the First State aims to surge ahead by making energy efficiency its first fuel.

Indeed, there is huge potential for electricity savings and bill savings in the state. Through behavioral energy efficiency alone — which includes giving people personalized, timely feedback on their energy usage, sharing easy-to-understand savings advice, and offering targeted incentives — Delawareans could save more than $8.2 million on their electric bills every year.

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Our Thinking

Opower joins Maryland Governor O’Malley and Baltimore Gas & Electric to celebrate state’s energy innovation

  • By Jake Levine
  • September 15, 2014

Today, Opower joined an action-packed event with Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, as part of the Governor’s “Governing for Results” tour in Maryland.

It was an honor for Opower to participate, not only because we had the opportunity to celebrate the $2 billion in savings catalyzed by BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program, but also because we were able to help share an important story with the people of Maryland: that they’ve played a central role in moving the state toward a more sustainable and secure energy future.

Maryland Event

Opower President Alex Laskey speaks alongside Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and BGE CEO Calvin Butler at an event in Baltimore

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Our Thinking

U.S. homes consume more than 20% of the nation’s energy — but how efficiently are they using it?

  • By Aaron Tinjum
  • September 15, 2014

U.S. homes consume more than 20 percent of the country’s energy and account for more than 50 percent of energy used in the buildings sector.

With such a large portion of the nation’s energy resources — especially electricity and natural gas — devoted to the residential sector, one has to ask: how efficiently are those energy resources being put to use?

This question was recently tackled in two separate reports by the U.S. Department of Energy and Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), which were presented at ACEEE’s biannual conference last month in Pacific Grove, California.

The two reports specifically examined a metric known as the “Home Energy Score,” which was developed to provide both homeowners and prospective homebuyers with a credible, standardized, and affordable way to understand a home’s energy performance.

Across the country, Home Energy Scores — which have been likened to miles-per-gallon ratings for vehicles — have emerged as an important reference point in the housing market, especially during the time of sale. At that moment, both sellers and buyers are inclined to make financial and property-related investments — and among those, energy efficiency upgrades have become increasingly salient.

In fact, Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies has found that sellers and buyers spend 2.5 times more money on renovations within two years of sale than at any other time in a home’s life cycle. Since efficiency upgrades often play an important role in those renovations, home energy scores can have a huge bearing on the overall efficiency of a home — and a nation.

The U.S. DOE’s Home Energy Score rates homes’ efficiency performance and potential on a scale from 1-to-10  (Source: U.S. Department of Energy).

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