2016 Topics and Agenda

Download agenda graphicFor the full agenda and times, please download the agenda on the right.

The SPEER Summit isn’t like most conferences you’ve been to. Rather than the standard format featuring presenters and PowerPoint slides, SPEER breakout sessions are structured as interactive and energetic roundtable discussions, each guided by an industry expert.

We’ll also have a few plenary sessions throughout the two-day event, which will be more traditional in format. With 14 sessions on a wide range of topics, there’s something for everyone. We hope to see you there!


Financing for Residential Retrofits:  To motivate homeowners to invest in energy efficiency requires long-term low-interest financing and the assurance of savings. SPEER is working to make both possible through the WHEEL and Residential PACE programs as well as exploring on-bill and tariff based financing options. These tools are gaining traction and stand poised to tap into the enormous pool of capital available in the private sector. Help us consider how we can encourage adoption to increase investments in energy and water efficiency projects and yield dividends for homeowners for decades to come.

The Future of Distributed Energy Resources:  Distributed resources are having an increasing influence on the built environment and markets as people adopt systems behind the meter—including on-site generation, storage, smart thermostats, and energy management systems. These systems allow for shifting or reducing energy usage at moments of peak usage to reduce cost. How are regulators, utilities and wholesale markets planning to accommodate and compensate the contribution of this new wave of resources?

The Growth of 2030 Districts:  As the 2030 Districts in Dallas and San Antonio enter into their second year, they’re evolving their efforts to achieve their aggressive goal of a 50% energy use reduction by 2030. This session will look at how these districts are linking building owners with services, operational best practices and retrofit strategies that maximize energy and water savings. We will talk with district stakeholders to explore the potential of these new partnerships, and find new ways to expand their reach.

A Year of Changing Energy Codes:  2016 is shaping up to be a year of major change in the SPEER region for energy codes. Jurisdictions in both TX and OK will be adopting code changes, expanding their use of third-party code enforcement, and welcoming new utility programs. Participants will discuss how this creates new challenges and opportunities for the building industry. SPEER will share new data from the Code Compliance Field Study and resources and assistance available for both code adoption and compliance.  Come share your own challenges with evolving codes.

Working with Utilities:  Utility spending on efficiency programs in Texas and Oklahoma is nearly $350 million per year, reporting savings that top 700,000 MWh every year. Given these levels of savings and spending, there is significant opportunity for increased market penetration of energy efficient products, services, and technologies. Attend this session if you’re interested in working with utilities in Texas or Oklahoma, or if you work for a utility which may be looking to increase participation or explore new ideas. 

Financing Commercial Retrofits: Various energy efficiency financing mechanisms have been developed with the goal of supporting cost-effective efficiency projects without competing with capital or operational budgets. Learn about PACE Districts are springing up around the state, with projects now underway.  By creatively incorporating the additional benefits of comprehensive efficiency projects, service providers can expand their offerings, and building owners can significantly improve their bottom line.

PLENARY: Measuring Efficiency Through Advanced Meters: Monitoring and evaluation of energy retrofits required to qualify for utility rebates, or project financing, can add significant cost to a project, making contractors and building owners reluctant to participate. And Engineering calculations, models and stipulated savings may not actually yield estimated savings. There is a opportunity to use advanced meters to cheaply determine energy savings, and help facilitate secondary market development, where aggregators such as ESCOs, contractors, finance companies, and utility program implementers, can procure savings simply, based on metered results not predictions. Projects that deliver verified energy savings become more profitable and efficiency  can become a new securitized cash flow that will enhance competitive business models.

PLENARY: Energy Efficiency Opportunities in the Clean Power Plan: The Clean Power Plan has been temporarily stayed by the courts, but still promises significant opportunities for the energy efficiency industry.  While efficiency was removed as one of the four building blocks used to compute state goals, EPA and the White House insist that states can earn “Emissions Reduction Credits” (ERCs) or “Allowances” with efficiency.  Energy efficiency could be the most cost-effective strategy for compliance available to states, particularly in Oklahoma and Texas.  We will discuss several avenues to include energy efficiency in a state plan.  How does this inclusion benefit businesses and the energy efficiency industry?  Explore these and other questions with our panel of experts: Ted Michaels, Partner at AJW and co-author of Simplifying Energy Efficiency for States; Kelly Speakes-Backman, Senior Vice President for Policy and Research at the Alliance to Save Energy; and Sarah Adair, Senior Policy Associate at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Achieving Deep Retrofits in Multifamily Buildings:  Multifamily facilities have unique energy efficiency challenges resulting from the nature of their ownership structure and occupant type.  In order to overcome the split-benefit barrier and motivate this market segment, holistic project valuation models need to be developed, unique metering strategies may need to be adopted, new tenant lease agreements can be initiated.  Incorporating water and energy savings into long-term financing models can compound savings. We seek collaboration with industry stakeholders in this session to explore these and other solutions.

Driving Efficiency with Data:  Data is used by businesses in nearly every field to drive decision-making and efficiency: Energy usage is no different. Texas and Oklahoma have nearly universal smart meter deployment but we are still learning how to use energy data to drive utility programs, customer behavior, efficiency retrofits, and demand response. Data from smart meters provide massive opportunities for consumers and the companies who serve them, but challenges remain. How can we make energy data access easier and safer, while we empower customers to save?

CPP Action Agenda:  The rule is final – energy efficiency can be used by states for meeting Clean Power Plan goals. However, the recent court decision to “stay” the deadline will likely delay state planning in our region.  Efficiency could also help meet more stringent ozone, mercury, and regional haze standards, but are we taking the credit available?  Will Texas and Oklahoma use energy efficiency and will they take advantage of matching credits for low income energy efficiency provided in the Clean Energy Incentive Program?  What can industry do to ensure efficiency is part of the states’ responses?

PLENARY: City Efficiency Leadership Council Best Practices: The City Efficiency Leadership Council was created in 2013, facilitated by SPEER in coordination with Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) and the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC). The council, which consists of representatives of the six largest Texas cities, has collaborated to create 10 “City Best Practices” to document energy efficiency initiatives and projects which can be implemented by cities. This panel will discuss with attendees some highlights and insights into some of these best practices.

Motivating Efficiency in Mid-Sized Cities: Local governments have many opportunities to implement energy and water efficiency projects, and lead by example, while saving tax payers money.  SPEER has hosted meetings to expand the City Efficiency Leadership Council to include mid-sized cities — with a goal to promote “City Best Practices” including LED street lighting retrofits, municipal pool energy efficiency, adopting PACE Districts, and city-wide energy management. Stakeholders will discuss local government projects, overcoming local government barriers, and explore lessons learned.

Community Strategies for Resource Efficiency: Industry is now looking beyond building efficiency and achieving new levels of savings. We are seeing solar and geothermal partnerships pooling resources to provide significant efficiency in multi-family developments, neighborhoods, and communities.  We will explore the concept, design, and implementation of neighborhood projects, discuss opportunities to reduce consumption, and barriers in the current market.

Learn more about the SPEER Summit and register today to take advantage of early-bird pricing!