RTF Quarterly Newsletter: Quarter No. 31, January - March 2018

  • April 18, 2018
2018 is well underway for the Regional Technical Forum. The start of the new year was met with a hum of activity, four days of full RTF meetings, and a number of analytically intense dialogues. Already the RTF had covered a lot of ground by the end of the first quarter. Below is a review of some of what occurred in the first three months of 2018. For a full review of RTF decisions, click here.

The RTF and Whole Building Approaches to Energy Savings

At the January RTF meeting the RTF heard a presentation from RTF Manager/Chair Jennifer Light and Faith DeBolt of SBW Consulting, showcasing the results of a scoping exercise on the potential role of the RTF with regards to whole building energy savings efforts. Previously, the RTF membership had indicated a need for increased consideration and discussion of commercial whole building performance and strategic energy management programs. This resulted in the RTF contracting with SBW Consulting to conduct stakeholder interviews, a literature review, and a gap analysis, to determine what role the RTF might play in this area that would be helpful to the region. Ultimately, based on the findings from this process, the RTF staff recommended that the RTF engage in the upcoming BPA M&V Protocol Update, conduct a deeper dive on already existing national guidance, and couple that piece with a meta-analysis to determine the size of the issue around guidance gaps. All of this work then would lead to refining the RTF Guidelines and/or developing protocol documents for specific measures.

Guidelines Updates Approved

Since 2010, RTF analysis has been conducted in accordance with a set of formally approved Operative Guidelines. These guidelines dictate the course of RTF decision making and have evolved over the years as new topics and questions have come under RTF consideration. In January, RTF staff brought forward a series of recommended updates and changes to these guidelines, developed through discussion with the Guidelines Subcommittee. Members of this subcommittee generally have a strong grasp on historical context around the RTF and the process through which its work products are developed.

The RTF voted to approve the changes recommended by staff, which included a myriad of adjustments for clarity, as well as the removal of outdated concepts and language. A complete record of these changes can be found in the January meeting materials. Currently, a third-party technical editor is reviewing the newest guidelines edition, with an expected completion date in early Q2 of 2018.

RBSA High-Level Results

In March, representatives from NEEA attended the RTF meeting to present the findings of the latest Residential Building Stock Assessment (RBSA). The presentation offered to the RTF focused on the characteristics of existing single-family homes in the northwest. The data collected in this effort is extensive, and invaluable to the future work of the RTF. Preliminary results show an increased proliferation of LED lighting from the previous RBSA, as well as an increase of installed cooling equipment in the region. In the coming months RTF staff will be working to dig into this data to determine how it will affect the RTF’s measure portfolio, and inform a better understanding of the Northwest’s existing housing stock.

New Meeting Format Starts Strong

The first quarter of 2018 marked the first foray of the RTF into a new meeting format. For the year, the RTF will be holding six two-day meetings, taking place every-other month. The January RTF Meeting was held from Tuesday, January 30, to Wednesday, January 31. The March meeting spanned Tuesday, March 27, to Wednesday, March 28. Regular two-hour check-in webinars will be held in off months to keep RTF members appraised of the progress the Contract Analyst Team is making on next month’s items. The first call of this type was held February 22. Thus far, the RTF has approved of the new meeting format.

Subcommittee Roundup

The RTF relies on its subcommittees to review and provide oversight or guidance on projects, provide feedback to the RTF on specific issues, and help develop and update sector-specific measure savings assumptions. The following subcommittees convened during the first quarter of 2018.

Connected Thermostats: This subcommittee was convened once in March of 2018 to discuss the development of a new measure for commercial connected thermostats. The resulting measure was approved by the RTF at the March 2018 meeting.

Guidelines: The RTF Guidelines Subcommittee meets on a need basis to discuss updates and additions to the RTF’s Operative Guidelines, which dictate the course of RTF decision making. In the first quarter of 2018, the subcommittee met once to review staff recommended changes to the Guidelines and get subcommittee agreement on what changes to bring forward at the January RTF meeting, and those changes to be tabled for a future round of discussion.

Implementers Group: The Implementers Group meets every month after the monthly RTF meeting to discuss the outcome of the RTF meeting, upcoming RTF meeting topics, and other topics that affect program implementers in the region.

Market Analysis: This subcommittee was created to discuss ongoing market analysis being conducted in the region, as well as to provide review of said research. The RTF’s Market Analysis Subcommittee met once in the first quarter of 2018 to discuss the development of Bonneville’s Outdoor Lighting Stock Assessment.

Non-Res LightingThe RTF Contract Analyst Team turned to the expert this subcommittee in the first quarter of 2018 for assistance in developing standard protocols for Non-Residential Lighting Retrofits and Non-Residential Code-Compliant buildings. Both standard protocols were approved by the RTF at their January meeting. 

Operations: The RTF Operations subcommittee meets monthly to review and discuss the RTF meeting agendas, decisions, and contracts.

Research and Evaluation: The Research and Evaluation Subcommittee convenes on a need basis to discuss the development of RTF Research Strategies and the framing and utility of ongoing research in the region. In Q1 of 2018, the subcommittee met once in March to discuss two developing research strategies for the Agricultural Irrigation Hardware UES and the Commercial Connected Thermostats UES.


Approved Measure Changes

In addition to the items highlighted above, the first quarter of 2018 the RTF voted to approve the following changes to UES measures and Standard Protocols: