Archive

Public Access and Participation Plans: A Starter Kit for State Agencies

Comments Off on Public Access and Participation Plans: A Starter Kit for State Agencies

State government agencies are becoming aware that there is more that they can do to reach communities that may be underserved by agency programs — communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-and moderate-income communities. This policy brief describes steps that agencies can take to engage these communities more meaningfully as partners and stakeholders in government decision-making.

This “starter kit” looks at the typical aspects of government agency contact with the public and provides suggestions for how agencies can take simple steps to improve their engagement. Specifically, it discusses ways to improve public meetings, how to make agency websites more accessible, elements of staff training, and the importance of ongoing improvement. Two appendices look at mission statements and equity statements. In each section, a summary and notes on the topic are followed by model language an agency’s public access and participation plan might include, along with useful resources.

Standards for EV smart charging: A guide for local authorities

Comments Off on Standards for EV smart charging: A guide for local authorities

The electrification of road transport is happening – and it is already having a profound impact on the energy system and our cities. As more and more people drive electric, smart charging can ease the integration of the newcomers into the grid.

Smart charging enables charging to automatically happen at times when electricity costs are lowest – without compromising the needs of vehicle owners. As a result, smart charging creates a powerful opportunity to use more renewable energy and better utilise existing grids, accelerating the energy transition while reducing costs for all.

Cities are essential actors in making smart charging happen at a large scale. Every time they publish a public procurement procedure and every time they issue permits for EV infrastructure, it is in their hands to make smart charging work better — now and in the years to come.

But how can local authorities deploy a future-proof, robust smart charging network, with technology rapidly evolving?

Important standards supporting smart charging – such as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) – are not yet available for charging stations built today. To avoid becoming obsolete before the end of its expected lifetime, infrastructure must be ready for future upgrades.

Authors Luka De Bruyckere of ECOS and Jaap Burger from RAP offer a guide for local authorities to help ensure that cities can take these standardisation developments into account when procuring charging infrastructure.

Pump up the volume: Heat pumps for a decarbonised future

Comments Off on Pump up the volume: Heat pumps for a decarbonised future

If the video is not visible, please accept all cookies to enable the player.

The most powerful tool for rapidly decarbonising heating in buildings and homes is the humble heat pump. How powerful? The International Energy Agency’s recently released analysis estimates that potential global carbon dioxide emissions reductions from heat pumps can reach at least 500 million tonnes in 2030. This would be akin to eliminating the annual CO2 emissions from all of the cars in Europe today.

Evidence from the IEA underscores the ‘why’ of switching to heat pumps while the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), CLASP and the Global Buildings Performance Network offer further insights on the ‘how.’ The three organisations collaborated to create a toolkit to help policymakers develop packages to drive the heat pump market and deployment of the technology at scale.

On 15 December 2022, the Electrification Academy welcomed the lead author of the IEA report, Yannick Monschauer, and two of the heat pump toolkit authors, Richard Lowes of RAP and Matt Malinowski from CLASP. They shared:

We were delighted to have Caroline Haglund Stignor from RISE moderate the session.

Good COP/Bad COP: Balancing fabric efficiency, flow temperatures and heat pumps

Comments Off on Good COP/Bad COP: Balancing fabric efficiency, flow temperatures and heat pumps

Heat pumps are widely recognised as the key technology to decarbonise building heat demand in Ireland. To receive grants for heat pumps, homeowners in Ireland are required to have a heat demand per unit of floor area, known as a ‘heat loss indicator’ (HLI), below a certain level. The HLI requirement was designed to protect households from high bills if they switched to a heat pump.  

There is a concern that the HLI is limiting heat pump deployment, thereby hindering Ireland’s goal of net zero in 2050. This review of the HLI policy and associated rules was undertaken alongside a discussion of heat pumping technologies and their operation, optimal performance and innovation. While there is still a major role for building fabric energy efficiency upgrades, innovation in heat pumping technologies means they may be able to more easily replace combustion-based technologies than has been previously assumed due to better performance and higher output temperatures.

To achieve more rapid and potentially smoother deployment of heat pumps, current HLI grant requirements should be reevaluated. Initially, the HLI requirements could be loosened, subject to relevant consumer advice and protections. In the longer term, a focus on flow temperatures and in-situ performance may be more appropriate. Building fabric efficiency requirements could be maintained but simplified. Finally, trials and programmes to evaluate heat pump performance in Irish buildings should be expanded and expedited in order to provide accurate and local data on this strategically important technology.

A policy toolkit for global mass heat pump deployment

Comments Off on A policy toolkit for global mass heat pump deployment

Heat pumps, a critical technology for clean energy systems, are poised to become the most important technology for heating decarbonisation. Currently, the vast majority of heat is provided by fossil fuels. In order to promote and encourage heat pump installations across the globe, the Regulatory Assistance Project, CLASP and the Global Buildings Performance Network have developed this heat pump policy toolkit, which provides a suite of tools, and advice on how to use them, for policymakers interested in promoting this critical technology.

The structure of the toolkit is loosely based on that of a Greek temple, with foundations and pillars, supporting a rapidly growing heat pump market. The interactive toolkit (which includes clickable links throughout) also features short videos that give an overview of each relevant element of the toolkit. These videos make up a short series which complements this document.

This toolkit works as a synthesis of policy approaches to heat pump deployment and a guide to designing the best packages of policies. As you’ll see in the toolkit (and in the graphic below), a complete policy package needs to consider foundational elements and must also take account of each pillar. We provide details, examples and potential issues, and solutions within the various policy elements discussed.

Heat Pump Toolkit temple

Foundational elements of this toolkit recognise the need for coordination and communication around heat pump policy efforts and strategies.

Pillar 1 considers economic and market-based instruments. These instruments are fundamentally associated with balancing the economics of heat use towards clean options, such as heat pumps, so that their lifetime costs are cheaper than fossil-based alternatives.

Pillar 2 considers financial support. Within this pillar, we identify three key elements of financial support for heat pumps — grants and tax rebates, loans and heat-as-a-service packages.

Pillar 3 considers regulations and standards. We look at buildings codes and standards, appliance standards and heat planning and zoning.

To build an effective heat pump policy package, policymakers must consider foundational elements as well as each of the pillars. And even within each pillar, combinations of elements may be appropriate.

Collaborating for Gas Utility Decarbonization

Comments Off on Collaborating for Gas Utility Decarbonization

Beginning in late 2021, RMI and National Grid jointly convened a series of facilitated collaborative workshops with stakeholders from the nonprofit and utility sectors across several regions, including RAP. This roundtable group explored what it may take to decarbonize the gas distribution system in the United States and the customer end uses it serves today, with a focus on the nation’s residential and commercial buildings.

This report, the roundtable’s final product, describes how the process was designed and conducted and lays out a set of guiding principles and strategies to inform decarbonization of the gas utility and corresponding end uses. Because participants had widely divergent perspectives on an array of issues, the report seeks to reflect initial areas of consensus and does not necessarily reflect the specific policy positions of any individual participating organization. This report is meant as a first step to inform further discussion and action for policymakers and regulators, primarily at the state level.

NOx, NOx — Who’s There? Decarbonizing Buildings Through Nitrogen Oxides Emissions Standards

Comments Off on NOx, NOx — Who’s There? Decarbonizing Buildings Through Nitrogen Oxides Emissions Standards

This fact sheet, prepared as a poster for presentation at the ACEEE 2022 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, describes the concept of a model rule to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from fossil fuel-fired water heaters, an opportunity to transform the market for these appliances by driving the adoption of cleaner, more energy-efficient electric heat pump models.