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ACEEE Releases 2017 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

The 11th Annual 2017 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard from the American Council for and Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) was just released, highlighting which states are doing the best on energy efficiency. The 2017 Scorecard assesses state policies and programs that improve energy efficiency in our homes, businesses, industries, and transportation systems. It examines the six policy areas in which states typically pursue energy efficiency: utility and public benefits programs and policies; transportation policies; building energy codes and compliance; Combined Heat and Power policies; state government-led energy efficiency initiatives; and appliance and equipment standards. Massachusetts broke its 2016 tie with California by holding on to the No. 1 ranking, while the Golden State slipped to No. 2. Rhode Island, Vermont, and Oregon round out the top five. Idaho posted the most gains by far in 2017, surging past several mid-ranked states in ACEEE’s comparative index of efficiency policies, best practices, and other metrics. Idaho advanced seven spots, from 33rd to 26th place. The balance of the 10 most-improved states are Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida, Utah, Nevada, Louisiana, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Kentucky. While they show promise, all states have room for improvement. According to Steven Nadel, executive director, ACEEE, “By pursuing energy efficiency policies, states can save . . . Read More

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California is Home to Over 519,000 Clean Energy Jobs

“In every corner of the state, California’s climate action has proven to be a job creator and a big economic boon,” - Bob Keefe, Executive Director at E2  According to a recent study of every legislative district in the State of California by E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), more than 519,000 Californians now work in clean energy industries, and more than $45 billion in public and private investments have been injected into the state’s economy by California’s climate policies, including its landmark cap-and-trade legislation that reduces pollution while increasing clean energy and energy efficiency. The analysis is derived from data by both the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as a comprehensive survey of thousands of businesses across California. It includes jobs in industries like energy efficiency, wind and solar. The analysis also details expenditures from the state’s cap-and-trade program, as well as other investments stemming from other California climate policies. “With $45.5 billion being invested into California, we’ve shown that climate policies strengthen our communities – both environmentally and economically.” - Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, District 56 The E2 analysis provides an excellent snapshot of California’s thriving clean energy economy, which includes the top counties for clean energy jobs. The top . . . Read More

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Prepare for 2017’s new Title 24 regulations

Approximately, every three years, the California Energy Commission (CEC) revisits its energy efficiency  standards, augmenting the building code to align with recent technological advancements and the state's new efficiency goals. The commission underwent this process again this year, identifying areas for improvement in both new construction and retrofits for residential and nonresidential properties. With this most recent set of revisions, the commission is striving toward a pair of new state efficiency targets: achieving net zero energy for new residential construction by 2020 and for new commercial construction by 2030. Referred to as the 2016 version, these standards will go into effect January 1, 2017, which gives contractors just a few months with which to become familiar with the new building requirements. Before we dive into what's new for the 2016 Standards, let's take a step back and review the overall goal of these standards. What is Title 24, Part 6? Title 24, Part 6, is the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards which exists to conserve electricity and natural gas consumption throughout the state. Among the many benefits of reduced consumption, Title 24, Part 6 specifically seeks to prevent the state from having to build additional power plants to supply unchecked demand, according to the CEC. To manage consumption, Title 24, Part . . . Read More

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On-Demand Efficiency (ODE) Program

Many multifamily buildings rely on central hot water systems serviced by inefficient, continuously running pumps, wasting gas, increasing electrical usage and reducing the life of the entire water distribution system.  Recognizing the significant savings opportunity, Benningfield Group designed a program for the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) called On-Demand Efficiency (ODE) that is FREE to qualifying SoCalGas customers. The program provides a free on-demand recirculation pump control for the building’s water heating system, as well as free installation. After the pump control is installed, recirculation is controlled based on demand in the building, rather than continuous recirculation. Residents can access hot water just as easily as if the system were running all day, every day. Depending upon the size of the building and the number of units, the gas and electrical savings can be considerable. Use of the controller also helps reduce greenhouse gases. So far, the ODE program has served over 3,200 apartment complexes with more than 104,000 individual units. The Benningfield Group works with manufacturers, distributors and contractors throughout the SoCalGas territory to administer the program. We also created a custom, online tracking database that allows us to track status, create reports, monitor inspections and store data relating to program . . . Read More

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BayREN Codes and Standards Program

The BayREN Codes and Standards program helps Bay Area counties reduce their energy usage through improved building design and construction. The collaborative program supplies local governments with the resources they need to achieve full compliance with and enforce the California Energy Code, including best practice guides, checklists, policy support, targeted training and on-site support. Benningfield Group supports the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and consulting firm BKI as a subcontractor on the project, implementing in-field and technical support. At the start of the project, our team focused on finding ways to help jurisdictions ensure compliance. We spent hours conducting interviews, participating in ride-alongs and reviewing project plans in an effort to determine both the key challenges to enforcing the energy code training, tools and guides that would benefit each county, then tracked their effectiveness as they were implemented. To ensure the performance of the program’s training offerings, we also conducted a region-wide survey, looking for gaps in understanding of the energy code and its enforcement. From this information, we worked with BayREN to develop several training programs that would address these specific issue areas. Our current focus is on the development and delivery of BayREN’s extensive building department training program, with a focus on . . . Read More

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AmericasMart Atlanta

AmericasMart Atlanta is a large merchandise mart in Atlanta. This is a wholesale marketplace that retailers attend in order to select what merchandise they want to sell. We maintain and enhance the AmericasMart website using the Joomla framework with custom modules and templates. We also create and maintain all related database-driven applications including the company's mobile app. These applications include dynamically created exhibitor lists, dynamic building floor plans of showrooms, invoicing, payment processing and online exhibitor data. Read More

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Bobby Phan

As a Developer/Analyst, Bobby supports the company through software development, assisting clients, and developing/implementing programs, products, and processes. His primary passion as a developer lies with the front-end. Although he enjoys using multiple front-end and back-end technologies, he appreciates the additional challenge of making things appear nice rather than just creating the logic for it. Previously, Bobby worked at the programming school Hack Reactor as a software engineering instructor. It was something that he greatly enjoyed, and it allowed him to further his software engineering skills, since the best way to learn is by teaching others. Outside of work, Bobby enjoys spending time with his girlfriend and new Labrador Retriever puppy. He also enjoys playing football, basketball, and frequenting his local 24-Hour Fitness. Read More

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Robin Wells

For Robin, the Software Program Manager position is all about connecting with clients on a one-on-one level, getting to know their needs and ensuring they receive the highest-quality support and products. She puts that client focus to action in the many technical, lead and support roles she handles here at Benningfield Group, including project development and management, primary and secondary research and technical writing. She also manages multiple software projects, for which she schedules software work and provides support to users and clients. Robin has been with Benningfield Group since 2011, when she was inspired to put her people skills to work and add to our lively, client-centric culture. Besides her work at Benningfield Group, Robin has earned a bachelor of arts in philosophy from UC Santa Cruz, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential as well as a master of arts in education from UC Davis. It should come as no surprise, then, that she loves to drink coffee! Robin's greatest passions are her two sons, who inspire her to live by one of her favorite Greek proverbs: "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in." Read More

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Lynn Benningfield

As CEO of Benningfield Group, Lynn's direction and support play a critical role in assisting our staff as it leverages specialized knowledge to help clients. A logical thinker with an entrepreneurial spirit, Lynn relishes in the challenges and adventure that arise on the job every day as they afford her the opportunity to solve problems and drive growth. Lynn brings to Benningfield Group a wealth of experience including growing and selling another firm, working with policy makers to assist in designing energy efficient buildings and in researching, developing, advocating and applying energy codes to all types of buildings. As her husband Bruce was building a software consultancy company of his own, Lynn saw an opportunity to put their two specialties together, collaborating to form Benningfield Group. Lynn works closely with the energy industry to create software products and tools that help make acquiring and displaying data simple and clear. Lynn's passion for helping small things flourish extends outside of her professional life as well -- Lynn also loves trying to grow succulents. Her other passions include bicycle riding, travel and keeping up with her wonderful grandchildren. Lynn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from San Diego State University. Read More