Projects: Decarbonization and Efficient Building
Future of Gas
Apex is working with several gas utilities to respond to regulatory directives for reducing natural gas use and support climate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our work has involved assessing the greenhouse gas savings of alternatives such as building energy efficiency, hybrid heating, gas heat pumps, geothermal district heating, hydrogen gas, renewable gas, methane recovery, certified natural gas, and tire pyrolysis. We have used the analysis to prepare forecasts and scenarios and support utilities with their regulatory filings.
Massachusetts Refrigerant Study
Apex conducted an analysis of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with cooling, heat pumps, and commercial refrigeration systems using different types of refrigerants. As electrification may increase the number of systems in the field using refrigerants, the objectives of the study were to assess how electrification and upcoming changes in refrigerant regulation may impact total greenhouse gas emissions.
Fort Collins Electrification
In support of the City’s revision of building electrification offerings, Apex conducted interviews and focus groups with contractors and surveys with customers. Then we worked with stakeholders to develop a new community test for cost-effectiveness, following the National Standard Practice Manual for developing Jurisdiction-Specific Tests. Apex modeled heat pump performance with load shapes to estimate savings impacts before doing cost-effectiveness testing of a comprehensive list of measures. Also, Apex used a combination of tax and AMI data to estimate winter and summer peak loads for transformers with electric heat vs. without electric heat and for a high efficiency all-electric new construction development. The conclusions of this work were distilled into a strategic roadmap for deploying building electrification.
ComEd 4-year Plan
Apex conducts portfolio planning for Commonwealth Edison’s energy efficiency portfolio, which spends over $400M per year. We conduct planning for over 40 individual program components at the measure level, tracking and forecasting achievements, spending (incentives, administrative costs, etc.), and savings. We track the portfolio and programs against regulated metrics for topics such as income-eligible programs, whole home building programs, public sector programs, electrification, and fuel conversion. We conduct multi-year and mid-year planning to support the short-term and long-term balancing of the portfolio. Additionally, we provide strategic support in analyzing potential future regulatory policies and assessing risks to the portfolio such as changes in standards and market changes.
Apex developed an approach and Excel-based tool and analysis to value building resiliency -- the ability for buildings to prepare for, mitigate, and recover from the negative occupant and/or physical impacts of infrequent but extreme events such as extreme weather and/or electricity grid outages. We investigated different methods for assessing the value including
1) value to building occupant to avoid impacts;
2) value of the direct and indirect event impacts (e.g. broken pipes, injury); and
3) value to provide the same "service" with a backup generator.
Apex has conducted numerous studies to track the progress of market transformation initiatives. The list includes Retail Products Platform, Commercial HVAC technologies, manufactured homes, and motors. In each of these studies, we review logic models and develop or review natural market baseline assumptions, and then use various research techniques including gathering sales data or building characteristic data, surveying customers or market actors, and other qualitative research approaches.