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CEEA Policy Committee or Energy Efficiency Think Tank?

Rejuvenation is the buzz word at CEEA right now and that means our minds are turning to our policy priorities. Early this month we established CEEA’s first policy research committee, which will be advising our board of directors on what our policy priorities should be on an annual basis. I like to think of it as our own energy efficiency think tank. Aside from identifying and prioritizing policy opportunities the committee will lay out a road map, establishing strategies, implementing tactics, identifying resources and setting up project teams. It’s a lot of work, but we have an incredible team.

An energy-efficient mindset that crosses sectors and regions

Andrew Pape Salmon 2013

Andrew-Pape Salmon of RDH Engineering in BC is chairing CEEA’s new policy committee.

The group is being chaired by BC-based Andrew Pape-Salmon of RDH Building Engineering. He’s also CEEA’s vice chair. He’ll be joined by members from utilities, NAIMA, and other industry-related associations. It’s important to note that this group represents regions across Canada and as well as a variety of sectors – everything from efficiency product manufacturers to utilities to professional consultants.

Federal energy efficiency initiatives are a priority

Here’s a sneak-peek at some of the opportunities the committee will be exploring in 2014. Not surprisingly one of the things the committee will be focused on is the renewal of Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE). Established in 1998, the OEE was given a mandate to strengthen and expand Canada’s commitment to energy efficiency and help address the Government of Canada’s policy objectives. It leads energy efficiency programs for all sectors, administers the ENERGY STAR® and EnerGuide consumer information programs, offers grants and incentives, workshops and important statistical analysis and implements cost-effective equipment standards. We need to support its renewal in the 2015 federal budget and ensure we continue to have a great national partner for the energy efficiency sector. Its efforts, in coordination with provinces, territories and cities, are forecasted to save Canadians $12 billion in energy costs between 2012 and 2020.

Another key priority will be laying the foundation for proposing a federal tax incentive that would accept the expensing or accelerated depreciation of energy efficiency investments. This important work will be done by the tax committee, which is a subset of the policy committee.

National building code adoption is critical

Given buildings account for over 50 per cent of CO2 emissions in large Canadian cities, building codes and energy benchmarking are critical for our sector. That’s why our policy committee wants to see the adoption of the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2011 (NECB) by provinces, territories and cities. We’ll begin by publishing an inventory of NECB adoption in building codes and will support stakeholders in several provinces and territories that haven’t yet referenced the NECB. By ensuring the code is adopted in a timely fashion, we expect it will save consumers millions of dollars over the life of those buildings.

The committee will also be considering how to promote municipal regulations for the building energy benchmarking of commercial buildings. CEEA’s role in public outreach and education on the implementation of new energy efficiency lighting is also on the to-do list. Given their strategic mindset the policy committee will also be involved in developing CEEA’s messaging for events and members will take turns representing the alliance on government committees.

Meeting about six times a year, the policy committee will truly be a working committee. Aside from three ambitious priorities already mentioned, they’ll also be considering how to promote energy benchmarking of existing commercial, institutional and multi-unit residential buildings. Also on the “to do list” is CEEA’s role in public outreach and education on the implementation of new energy efficiency standards for light bulbs. And given their strategic mindset the policy committee will be involved in developing CEEA’s messaging for events and members will take turns representing the alliance on government committees.

Posted April 18, 2014

Elizabeth McDonald  is the president of CEEA.