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Shining A Light – Illuminating Energy Data to Address Energy Equity, Energy Costs, and Climate Change.

The Need

The state of Ohio is among the highest per capita carbon emitters in the US. Approximately 60% of emissions are from grid energy used to power buildings. In 2020, investor-owned utility energy efficiency and other related programs in Ohio effectively ceased due to Ohio’s scandalized HB6. Serving the vast majority of Ohio customers and businesses, these programs helped reduce energy consumption across the state, even though multi-family residential buildings remained underserved.

Energy burden (the percentage of income spent on utilities) is one of Ohio’s most pressing racial equity issues, and a major driver of evictions in many cities. Low-income households in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus experience some of the highest energy burden rates in the country.

According to representatives of multiple Ohio cities, in the design of policies and programs to address energy efficiency and energy equity, cities have very limited and non-specific data to use in analysis and developing solutions. Often data is anonymized or provided at the ZIP Code or census-block level, which does not provide sufficient granularity to meaningfully inform program design and implementation.

Our Approach

In 2021, after almost a year of discussion and planning, Go began a project, partnering with Green Umbrella, and funded by the Energy Foundation, that has become known as “Shining a Light”. This project allowed Go to apply our deep energy and carbon expertise to perform cutting-edge analysis of residential and small business energy data on behalf of four Ohio governmental entities: Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Lucas County (includes Toledo).

The raw and analyzed utility data allowed us to provide insights and details at scales ranging from the entire Cincinnati region all the way down to the individual home scale.

The Results

We delivered findings to our stakeholder entities to address their needs and data deficiencies, with the ultimate goal of more informed and accurate program design and implementation. For each entity, we also generated infographics for leadership to help understand the challenges and opportunities across some of these categories, as it relates to regional decarbonization. Feedback from stakeholders has been very positive. Multiple entities are taking direct steps to utilize our findings to influence their policies and programs.

Actionable information and key findings ranged across categories such as:

  • Percent of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) Plus
  • Accounts without Access to Air Conditioning
  • Accounts with Electric Heating
  • Electrical Energy Burden
  • Solar Net-Metered Accounts
  • Shopping versus Non-Shopping Customers
  • System Peak Loads & Energy Profiles
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit
  • Potential Programs and Policies

Teaser: A second project phase is being designed for 2022 into 2023.

Our Role

Study Designer, Technical Analyst, Subject Matter Expert

Client

The Energy Foundation, Green Umbrella, and Ohio Governmental Entities: the Cities of Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, and Lucas County (Toledo)

Duration

2021-2022+
  • Shawn Brown, Ph.D., Go Sustainable Energy

    Shawn Brown, Ph.D.

  • Ryan Schuessler

  • Chris Sala

  • Gregory Raffio, PE, LEED AP BD+C

  • John Seryak, PE, CEO

  • Peter Worley

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