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The second annual Maryland Clean Energy Awards are accepting nominations through July 30.
Nominate a clean energy leader in the following categories:
|Home performance professionals exhibit infrared devises that pinpoint sources of heat loss in homes. Photo compliments of ACI.|
Gather hands-on knowledge of how clean energy and energy efficiency systems can save you money and improve the efficiency – and value – of your home at the Maryland Clean Energy Summit's first ever Consumer Trade Show.
Slated for Saturday, August 27 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, this free, one-day show will give consumers opportunities to talk first-hand with experts in home energy audits, energy efficiency remodeling, energy-saving products, solar systems, geothermal systems and other clean energy options and green products. Exhibitors will provide information about incentives and low-interest loan programs that are available to consumers for energy efficiency and clean energy improvements, as well as options to purchase clean power for homes and businesses.
The spacious conference center will give visitors to the Consumer Trade Show ample opportunities to inspect clean energy and energy efficiency products hands-on. Visitors will even have an opportunity to test drive a Chevrolet Volt.
Consumers may also sit in on free talks by industry experts during the day. Find out how the sun can save you money by heating water for your household, and just how affordable it can be to install a system.
Debbie Siebert, coordinator of exhibitors for the Maryland Clean Energy Summit Consumer Trade Show, said the show will give consumers opportunities to gather vital information so that they can use clean energy and energy efficiency systems to generate the greatest benefits for their homes, their businesses and their lifestyles.
"This is a great place to put your foot in the water and start the process of learning about products and services so you can decide what works for you," Siebert said. "You will also get to know the Maryland Clean Energy Center as a treasure trove of information through this summit, through its web site and through its people."
The Consumer Trade Show of the 2011 Maryland Clean Energy Summit runs 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, August 27 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. Admission is free. For a speakers' agenda and additional information about the Consumer Trade Show, please visit our web site.
To reserve space as an exhibitor, please go to our exhibitor information web site or contact the Maryland Clean Energy Center at email@example.com.
Amy Fazio is focused on two big goals: convince all building trades to become energy efficiency professionals and convince the American public to expect their homes to run on 80 percent less energy.
|Compliments of ACI|
Fazio is executive director of Affordable Comfort, Inc. (ACI), a national nonprofit that delivers information, education and best practices in home performance and weatherization. Since its creation in 1986, ACI has advanced the whole-house approach to creating homes that are highly efficient, healthy, comfortable and durable.
Fazio will participate in a panel discussion at the Maryland Clean Energy Summit, August 26. The "Growing Business by Building the Energy Efficiency Industry" panel will explore ways of growing the sector and boosting consumer interest by establishing industry standards, providing sustainable incentives and delivering predicted performance improvements.
"The biggest progress this industry has made in its evolution is to take industry standards much more seriously and move much more quickly to adopt them," Fazio said.
|Compliments of ACI|
Developing worker certifications, trainer certifications and minimum standards for job tasks can ensure high-quality work through the energy efficiency industry and boost consumer confidence in the industry, she said.
ACI which delivered training to more than 5,000 home performance professionals in 2010, is working on convincing all building professionals – including HVAC companies, remodelers and realtors – to embrace its whole-house approach to efficiency.
"A main focus for ACI is always how do we get the workforce excited about doing the extra work that is necessary to do efficiency right," she said. "This requires a change in the business model of contractors and it requires training which the traditional trades haven't employed, in methods and tools that help everybody understand how a whole house is working. But we want every plumber to view himself as a home performance professional. That is how we are going to drive significant change and attract consumers."
And ACI is aiming to trigger dramatic change in the level of residential energy efficiency.
Through its 1,000 House Challenge, ACI is currently working to document 1,000 homes across America that have achieved deep energy-use reductions through a variety of measures. The organization plans to work those case studies into its education programs and outreach efforts.
"There are people in this industry who say we need to really start selling a culture where Americans expect homes to use 80 percent less energy, not 20 percent less energy," Fazio said. "The 1,000 Home Challenge is about driving that concept into our vernacular so that achieving a 90 percent reduction isn't a foreign or uncomfortable or impossibly expensive idea. This is about triggering a paradigm shift."
The shift, Fazio said, could do much more than create more efficient, more comfortable, more healthy homes.
"What excites me is [the home performance industry] is our solution to much of what ails us," Fazio said. "It creates jobs. It creates energy independence. It affects national security and jumpstarts our economy. If you ever wanted to change the world, holy cow, here is the topic that hits a lot of the social justice and environmental justice issues."
The Maryland-Virginia-District of Columbia region is home to more than 235,000 green jobs and that employment base is projected to grow 12 percent over the next two years.
That's one of the findings of "Green Data for a Growing Green Economy" – a report released this month by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Collaborative (MARC) Green Consortium, a coalition of workforce and education leaders from Maryland, Virginia and D.C.
"There has been good, steady growth in this sector," said Andrew Moser, president and chief executive officer of Maryland Workforce Corp., a nonprofit created by the General Assembly and Maryland's agency in MARC. "It's not a tidal wave, but it's gentle growth and that's understandable because it's a new industry sector."
Yet that new sector is having a significant impact on the region's economy, according to the "Green Data" report.
Two key factors have driven – and could continue to drive – expansion of jobs in clean energy and energy efficiency, Moser said.
The first is the affordability of products and services. Demonstrating a healthy, quick return on investment (ROI) is critical to driving market demand and job growth, he said. Energy efficiency and geothermal systems, in particular, have benefited from those economics while technological and product developments have improved ROI and market demand for solar systems.
The second is technological development. Research and development has spurring clean energy manufacturing jobs, including the creation of some solar manufacturing jobs in Maryland. Approval of an offshore wind project could trigger substantial manufacturing job growth in the state, he said.
Moser – a former assistant secretary of Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation – will address the 2011 Maryland Clean Energy Summit during a panel discussion entitled "Measuring ROI: Success as Job Growth." Panel speakers will address current and future employment levels in the clean energy economy, industry developments and government incentives that could drive job growth, and options to train a workforce for clean energy jobs.
Looking for a job in clean energy, energy efficiency or another green sector?
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Collaborative (MARC) Green Consortium has launched MARC Green Works, a regional green jobs portal.
The site provides up-to-the-minute green job postings for Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. It enables job-seekers to identify green employers, find training programs and learn about industry trends.
In addition, MARC Green Works helps employers locate qualified candidates and provides policy-makers with precise, timely information about employment levels and trends in clean energy and other green economy sectors.
Sponsors of the 2011 Maryland Clean Energy Summit range from solar installers, green developers, home performance experts and smart grid innovators to energy utilities, finance companies and leaders of community greening efforts. They see exciting things happening in Maryland's clean energy sector, and potential for professionals and consumers alike to benefit from the Maryland Clean Energy Summit.
It may come as a surprise to many people but the leading source of renewable energy for American homes is wood.
"According to the Department of Energy, 80 percent of residential renewable energy comes from wood and pellet heating, so we may be a little-known sector but we have incredible market penetration," said John Ackerly, president of the Alliance for Green Heat, a national wood-heat industry association that is headquartered in Maryland.
The alliance is sponsoring a seminar on "Affordable Biomass Heating" during the summit's Consumer Trade Show.
Wood- and pellet-stoves, Ackerly said, have evolved into technically advanced, high-efficiency and extremely clean sources of heat. Those advances have made wood heat nearly carbon neutral, carrying a carbon footprint comparable to solar and wind power. They have also ensured that wood is an extremely affordable form of clean energy.
"We feel we are an incredibly cost-effective solution because you can get a new wood stove for about $1,500 and it will offset the same amount of energy use as a $30,000 solar panel installation, and they both will reduce a home's carbon footprint by about 3 tons," he said.
Installations of wood- and pellet-stoves in Maryland have increased in recent years, he said. This year, the Maryland Clean Energy Center and the Maryland Energy Administration supported the alliance's efforts to convince the General Assembly to pass legislation adding wood head to the state's renewable energy portfolio. Ackerly said he hopes to see that bill pass next year.
A supplier of integrated solar photo voltaic and solar thermal solutions, Amidus has also seen an upturn in business within the state and installed some of the largest solar thermal systems in the Mid-Atlantic.
Pranay Kohli, chief executive officer, said Maryland has become a progressive state in the clean energy sector due to its Renewable Portfolio Standard, its political leadership, the work of the Maryland Energy Administration and the creation of the Maryland Clean Energy Center.
"As a result of the excellent outreach efforts, for example by MCEC, residents and business owners are much more aware about the environmental, financial and national interest benefits offered by clean energy. That helps us significantly when we go out and talk to our prospects," Kohli said.
The Maryland Clean Energy Summit, he added, "is an excellent opportunity to meet with our peer professionals; understand new and innovative technologies; interact with lawmakers and administrators; and come in touch with potential customers."
From her position at SRA-Sentech, Hannah Wood has overseen possibly the largest growth spurt in Maryland's clean energy sector. Wood is project manager for the Maryland Home Performance with Energy Star program.
Home energy audits and energy efficiency improvements had been experiencing impressive growth. Then in January, the Maryland Energy Administration announced a $1.5-million Home Performance rebate program.
"We went through that money very quickly. We had to pull in two other staff to help on the project to process all the rebates," Wood said.
To date, Maryland homeowners have reserved more than $1.3 million to improve air sealing and insulation on 857 homes. That, in turn, has generated business for home performance companies and even prompted more contractors to join the Maryland Home Performance with Energy Star program.
Attendees at the Maryland Clean Energy Summit and Consumer Trade Show will have ample opportunities to Maryland Home Performance services and financing options.
"I think the summit is fantastic because it brings together people who may not work together on a daily basis. I think it is fantastic for networking, for developing new ways to do things that you may not think about otherwise because you are in your own little silo," Wood said. "I think the Maryland Clean Energy Summit is really the who's who of energy professionals in the state so I can't think of a better event for people who want to continue in this industry, grow this industry and develop new ways to do things."
Maryland has ranked as a "Rising Star" in the fuel cells industry.
In a recently released report entitled "State of the States: Fuel Cells in America," the industry group Fuel Cells 2000 notes that Maryland has recently embraced several developments and policies that recognize the value of fuel cells and hydrogen.
Chris Rice, a clean energy program manager with the Maryland Energy Administration, said he has been receiving growing numbers of calls about fuel cells, mostly from private companies interested in securing their energy supply with fuel cells powered by natural gas.
The Fuel Cells 2000 report states that U.S. companies and utilities are increasingly installing fuel cell backups for telecommunications, radio and utility substations. The country has witnessed an increase in the number of fuel-cell-powered buses and light-duty vehicles on the roads. And the United States has become the world leader in the deployment of fuel-cell-powered forklifts with more than 1,500 deployed or ordered in a dozen states, including Maryland.
The fuel cell sector, according to the report, now employs 3,600 people across the country and supports another 7,000 supply chain jobs.
The Maryland Clean Energy Center's Board of Directors has a new member – Michele Peterson, a business development manager in the Energy Business Development Division of Honeywell.
Peterson – whose professional expertise includes deep knowledge of energy options and how customers can use them to reduce costs, usage and greenhouse gas emissions – said she is excited to join the board of such a unique center.
"I think MCEC has a unique opportunity to impact the energy sector and do some unique things, like bringing new financing vehicles for projects and fostering new technologies," Peterson said. "MCEC can be a great resource in helping residents and commercial entities to be sustainable and to implement those technologies that will help them reduce costs as well as usage."
Peterson added, "The thing I really bring to the Maryland Clean Energy Center is the ability to help us develop some analytics, some metrics to make sure that the programs and energy resources we are supporting are actually taking hold so that people are adopting them and utilizing them. We want to make sure our efforts and our message are having real impact."
Peterson replaces departing board member Isaac Opalinsky, a technical trainer with SunPower Corp.
Opalinsky praised MCEC for its accomplishments over the last two years.
"The MCEC has already moved the needle on clean energy adoption in Maryland," he said. "Our accomplishments include the big and obvious successes like becoming one of the first jurisdictions in the United States to put forth a Clean Energy Loan Program, despite numerous roadblocks as we attempted to put together a PACE (property assessed clean energy) program. We have also made less obvious accomplishments by working in the background to support our clean energy industries, like the Solar Training Workshop for inspectors that has helped nearly 100 electrical and building inspectors in Maryland become more fluent in the technology of photovoltaic systems.
"By continuing to serve as a clearinghouse for information, a resource for policy makers, and a nexus for clean energy supporters in Maryland, MCEC will be able to make continual improvements that pave the way for the transition to clean energy. An important lesson of the last decade is that the transition to clean energy will not happen simply by providing financial incentives for the adoption of new technology. We are building an entire industry, which entails growth in training, policy and regulation, financing and entrepreneurship. The small businesses that are making this transition actually happen will be more successful with an organization like MCEC advocating for their needs and supporting the infrastructure that they need."
MCEC Executive Director Katherine Magruder thanked Opalinsky for his years of energetic service to the organization, and praised both Opalinsky and Peterson for their dedication to building Maryland's clean energy economy.
Maryland is building a cleaner energy future, and the Maryland Clean Energy Summit 2011 will offer strategic insight on this emerging economic engine. Whether your role is in research and development, financing and marketing, deployment of new technologies or personal adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency systems, this year's Summit will deliver insights and benefits to you.
Set for August 25-27 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, the summit is sponsored by the Maryland Clean Energy Center.
Join us Friday, August 26 for an expert, thought-provoking examination of Maryland's clean energy economy. Topics on the agenda include:
Then on Saturday, August 27, we open up the summit to the public for free. The day's events are specially designed to serve consumers, homeowners and green job seekers. Seminar topics will include:
The Maryland Clean Energy Summit 2011 will also feature an expanded clean energy and energy efficiency trade show. If your company has a product or service that is of interest to clean energy stakeholders, exhibiting at the Summit is for you. It's your best opportunity for direct access to key decision makers in energy technology and jobs. The Summit offers you the opportunity to make a very effective sales call to the clean energy market here in Maryland. For more information about exhibiting at the trade show, contact Ellen Clarke at 301-738-6280 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Register today to sponsor, exhibit and attend the 2011 Summit at preferred rates.
We look forward to seeing you starting on Thursday night for the opening reception, all day Friday and then at the consumer events on Saturday.