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Energy Efficiency

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Energy Efficiency is the practice of using less energy to perform a task. An energy efficient product or action reduces the amount of energy wasted during the process.

  • Reduces demand for energy.
  • Slows down the need to build more infrastructure to supply energy to a growing population and economy.
  • Saves consumers and businesses money.
  • Lessens the impact on the environment with the reduced need for power plants, transmission infrastructure and development of energy resources.
  • Install devices that are more energy efficient. (See resource section for lists of types of energy efficient devices)
  • Review company or individual practices that could encourage a reduction in energy use. For example:
    • Turn down or reschedule thermostats when a space is not in use or windows are left open.
    • Regularly clean and check company or home equipment/ systems for leaks, damage or other issues that would cause the device to slow down or need more power to run properly.
    • Shut down and/or unplug devices that are not in regular use, are seasonally used or will not be used for several hours.


The links to energy efficiency lists that are displayed below provide information on the type of specifications for devices that would currently make that item more energy efficient. Technology is constantly changing; it is recommended that any consumer or business review their options for possible technology updates and talk to their local utility for possible incentives to install energy efficient systems.

The Idaho Governor’s Office of Energy and Mineral Resources (OEMR) promotes cost-effective energy conservation programs and services for Idaho’s agricultural community. Agriculture is one of the largest industries in Idaho and a major portion of the state’s economy. OEMR assists in locating industrial energy efficient resources available to agricultural groups. Low interest energy loans from OEMR are also available for qualifying projects.



The Idaho Governor’s Office of Energy and Mineral Resources (OEMR) works with regional and national programs to provide information about energy conservation and efficiency for new construction, as well as retrofit and remodel of existing buildings. OEMR promotes energy efficiency in commercial buildings through private-public partnerships created at the community level. Some programs OEMR administers in support of commercial building energy efficiency include:

Communities that are renovating and revitalizing their schools, commercial buildings, colleges, universities and municipal buildings find that energy efficiency enhances economic development, promotes community livability and protects the environment. Some organizations, like universities, have targeted the most inefficient systems first, and then used the savings to fund additional capital improvements. Many community and commercial entities are not only renovating existing buildings, but many are addressing new construction as well.


The following resources provide useful information to improve the efficiency of community and commercial buildings:
  • Better Bricks, an initiative of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, that helps organizations benefit from smart energy management
    • Click here to view Better Brick’s case study on Idaho’s first commercial Net Zero Building, the Twenty Mile South Farm.
    • Click here to view Better Brick’s case study on Idaho’s energy efficient emergency service buildings in Ada County and the City of Meridian.
  • Energy Star Buildings and Plants, which contains information about improving the efficiency of the places we work, play and learn
  • The Integrated Design Laboratory of the University of Idaho, which focuses on designing high performance buildings in Idaho and Eastern Oregon
  • Energy Smart Schools is a web-based training on developing and implementing an energy management plan for your school
  • Better Building COVID-19 Resource Center, COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge for state and local governments, building owners, plant managers, and employees. To help address this challenge, the Better Buildings Initiative has compiled resources from Better Buildings partners, affiliates, and other organizations that may prove useful in managing building operations and energy use during this time.


“Commissioning” refers to a project-specific, holistic, systematic process of constructing or retrofitting buildings to assure they perform in accordance with the design intent and owner’s operational needs. Today’s complex buildings comprise a variety of systems and must function in an integrated manner to meet owner and occupant needs. Commissioning offers a comprehensive approach to building construction or retrofit and is rapidly becoming the norm in the U.S.[1]


Commissioning benefits include higher employee productivity and lower rates for: absenteeism, tenant vacancy, construction delay and overall operating cost. Proper training, which is part of the Commissioning plan from the outset, ensures that the staff understand and properly use operational features and settings.


Commissioning existing buildings can be as productive as commissioning news ones. Referred to as retrocommissioning, this process can address existing problems in control, ventilation or heating and cooling that can cause major indoor air quality problems. A retrocommissioning differs from an energy audit because it focuses on identifying low-cost changes, rather than technology-intensive capital improvement to enhance efficiency. If major energy-using systems need replacement, energy performance contracting may be a better choice.

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The Building Commissioning Association, which supports diverse and creative approaches to achieving high professional standards, provides additional information about building commissioning.

The Idaho Governor’s Office of Energy and Mineral Resources (OEMR) supports improvements in industrial energy efficiency to help Idaho industries gain a competitive advantage. OEMR promotes energy efficiency in industrial buildings through private-public partnerships created at the community level. Some programs OEMR administers in support of industrial energy efficiency include:


  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) lists several resources specifically for manufacturers.
  • The Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs), is a program sponsored by DOE’s Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, that provides eligible small- and medium-sized manufacturers with energy assessments at no direct cost to the client.
  • TechHelp helps Idaho manufacturers improve profitability by producing more efficiently with less energy and environmental impact.


The OEMR cooperates with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Northwest CHP Technical Assistance Partnership to provide informational resources about Combined Heat and Power, District Energy and Waste Heat Recovery to Idaho customers. Combined heat and power (CHP) is the technological opportunity in which a single fuel source is used to simultaneously produce useful heat and electricity. The fuel sources vary by site, and may include natural gas, biomass, biogas, coal, waste heat, or oil. CHP provides a much greater overall efficiency than if heat and power were produced separately, with fuel efficiency rates typically  between 65-75%, as opposed to approximately 50% efficiency average when heat and electricity is produced separately.[1] District energy is a form of CHP where central heating, and/or central cooling is applied to an entire system or district like a university, office park, medical campus, mixed use sustainable development, or city’s downtown area.  District energy uses economies of scale to consolidate space and expenses by avoiding individual insulation and maintenance of single building systems. Many district energy systems use thermally generated heat.[2] Waste Heat recovery is capturing waste heat that an industrial site or combustion process is already emitting and using it to provide useful thermal energy elsewhere in the facility or turning it into clean electricity or mechanical power. Waste heat recovery for power generation is also known as bottoming cycle CHP or waste-heat-to power.



The Idaho Governor’s Office of Energy and Mineral Resources (OEMR) works with regional and national programs to provide information about energy conservation and efficiency for Idaho residences. OEMR also provides Low-Interest Energy Loans for residential energy efficiency improvements.




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