Energy Efficiency



Add Your Name
Sign up to receive regular updates on renewable energy news in Montana. Just add your name and e-mail address to our list of News & Notes subscribers.

Hosted at NCAT

Powered by the Sun

Solar PowerEnergy Efficiency Links

2010-2020: The Decade of Energy Efficiency

From policymakers to appliance manufactures to utility heads, it’s clear that the next decade will bring with it a host of new technologies, legislation and changes in energy delivery that will impact everyone. Learn why this is the decade of energy efficiency in this new video from the Alliance to Save Energy.

Air Sealing: A Guide for Contractors to Share with Homeowners

Produced by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory & Oak Ridge National Laboratory, this useful publication will help homeowners identify ways to make their homes more comfortable, more energy-efficient, and healthier to live in. It also identifies the steps to take, with the help of a qualified home performance contractor, to seal unwanted air leaks while ensuring healthy levels of ventilation and avoiding
sources of indoor air pollution. Contractors can use this document to explain the value of these air sealing measures to their customers. The references in this document provide further explanation of air sealing techniques and technologies.

Alliance to Save Energy

A nonprofit organization that promotes the efficient use of energy to strengthen America's economy, improve the environment, make housing more affordable, and move the country toward energy independence. Its website offers a variety of useful information, including information on the Alliance's programs, energy-saving tips, publications, and a list of links related to energy efficiency.

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)

A nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting both economic prosperity and environmental protection. Produces a number of publications, including Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings , which discusses the entire spectrum of home energy savings and residential appliances, including a list of the most energy-efficient equipment and appliances available.

Appliance Calculator

Use this handy online calculator from NorthWestern Energy to find out how much your appliances are costing you each month.

Building America Performance Analysis Procedures for Existing Homes

This report provides a proposed set of guidelines for estimating the energy savings achieved by a package of retrofits or an extensive rehabilitation of an existing home.


Use this handy interactive tool from NorthWestern Energy to get estimates of energy use costs based on your inputs.

Commercial Energy Calculator

This tool from NorthWestern Energy can help you understand where and how energy is used in your facility, find out more about demand charges, and to access the commercial energy systems library.

Commercial Energy Systems Library

This valuable resource from NorthWestern Energy includes thousands of pages on commercial energy systems. Information is categorized under Business Types, Technologies, and Building Design.

Commercial Real Estate Energy Alliance

DOE launched on April 9, 2009, the Commercial Real Estate Energy Alliance (CREEA), a partnership of commercial real estate owners and operators that have volunteered to work with DOE to drastically reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of commercial buildings. Commercial buildings currently account for 18% of the nation's energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. CREEA will provide a link between commercial building owners and operators and DOE's research and technologies and will act as national forum to share best practices and practical experiences in energy efficiency.

Dairy Farm Energy Efficiency

Rising energy costs and environmental concerns are causing dairy farmers to alter their management
practices. Dairy farmers are analyzing their energy inputs and investing in cost-effective energy
conservation and energy effi ciency measures. This publication provides an overview of how dairy
farms can implement efficiency improvements and energy-saving technologies that can reduce energy
consumption and energy-related costs.

E+® Business Partners Program

NorthWestern Energy's E+ Business Partners Program offers funding for local energy conservation and load management projects in new and retrofit applications including commercial, institutional, industrial, agricultural, and multi-family residential facilities/systems. NorthWestern Energy solicits proposals for this program through customers, architects, engineers and other energy efficiency trade allies

E+® Energy Appraisal for Small Businesses

NorthWestern Energy can help businesses use energy more efficiently. With an E+® Commercial Energy Appraisal, NWE says it can help business customers learn how they use energy and where their energy dollars are going. When its appropriate, the utility offers recommendations on energy efficiency opportunities for business including managing a facility for energy efficiency and choosing energy efficient products and equipment.

EERE Information Center

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy offers this information center where you can access consumer fact sheets, tools, and other resources on energy topics.

Efficiency Works: Creating Good Jobs and New Markets Through Energy Efficiency

In this paper, the Center for American Progress and Energy Resource Management look at state regulations and incentives for energy efficiency that are working today in leading states to accelerate demand for energy efficiency services, businesses, and ultimately jobs. As this market rapidly grows in coming years, states that have put in place strong policies for energy efficiency will be best positioned to capture these new employment opportunities for construction workers in clean energy. Despite the growing state leadership documented here, however, more must be done to capture the full potential of energy efficiency to serve as a national engine of reinvestment and job creation.

Energy Basics Website

For those who want to know what something is in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies or how things such as a wind turbine or solar panel work, DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewal Energy (EERE) has launched the new Energy Basics website. The fresh destination explains the concepts behind everything from hybrid electric vehicles to ocean wave energy. It also gives overviews of home, building, and industrial energy efficiency, telling how various components and approaches can be used to make daily life better. The site features videos, highlighting wind energy and solar power among other renewable sources, and includes an energy term glossary. Be sure to check back often, because Energy Basics will be expanding and adding new information over time.

Energy Calculators and Software: Buildings

DOE offers a host of tools and calculators that can help building managers make educated decisions about using energy-efficient technologies in their buildings.

Energy Calculators and Software: Homes

DOE offers a number of useful calculators to help you evaluate your home's energy use and need for energy-efficiency improvements.

Energy Efficiency Program Options for Local Governments under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

This December 2009 report from ACEEE presents profiles of over 40 municipal energy efficiency programs as a guide for cities and counties preparing to implement federally-funded energy efficiency and conservation plans.

Energy Library

Check out this extensive library from NorthWestern Energy, which provides tons of useful information about how energy is used in your home.

Energy Management Solutions

NorthWestern Energy has launched its new  Energy Management Solutionsa free technical assistance service that provides technical, business, research and information assistance quickly and easilyto the utility's commercial and industrial customers. The Energy Management Solutions service includes an online library of information with a database of technical business and engineering documents and resources. You can browse through the library topics or use the powerful keyword search engine to find the information you need. The online portal also includes targeted research tools (for patent searches, MSDS documents, company profile information, workplace posters, and more) and benchmark industry data.

If you can't find exactly what you need in the library, Energy Management Solutions includes a technical, marketing and problem-solving hotline service that NorthWestern Energy also provides free to the utility's customers. There is no usage limit, all questions and answers are held in strict confidence, and answers are typically issued within 24-48 hours.

Montanans who want to learn about ways to cut energy expenses in their homes, businesses, government buildings and schools will find lots of helpful information on the Energize Montana website maintained by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

Energy Connections Newsletter

A monthly newsletter from NorthWestern Energy that will help you conserve energy around your home and business.

Energy Savers

Did you know that the typical U.S. family spends close to $1,300 a year on their home's utility bills? Unfortunately, a large portion of that energy is wasted. The amount of energy wasted just through poorly insulated windows and doors is about as much energy as the United States gets from the Alaskan pipeline each year. And electricity generated by fossil fuels for a single home puts more carbon dioxide into the air than two average cars. By using a few inexpensive energy-efficient measures, you can reduce your energy bills by 10% to 50% and, at the same time, help reduce air pollution. Visit Energy Savers to learn more about energy-efficient insulation and weatherization, heating and cooling your home, water heating, windows, landscaping, lighting and appliances. You'll also find a Major Appliance Shopping Guide.

Energy Saving Tips

A NorthWestern Energy publcation that provides useful tips for conserving energy used for clothes drying, lighting, space heating, water heating, and more.

Energy Star

A government-backed program that helps businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. Energy Star certifies products in a variety of categories that achieve high levels of energy efficiency, including appliances , lighting , windows and doors , heating and cooling , exit signs , office equipment , and electronics . Products meeting Energy Star standard are identified on the website, along with other sources of information, savings calculators, and more. As well, the Energy Star New Homes program certifies homes that meet strict energy-efficiency guidelines set forth by EPA. The website also identifies ways to make your home or business more energy-efficient and, thus, less costly to operate.

Energy Usage

Ravalli Electric Coop in Corvallis, Montana, has assembled an "Energy Usage" page on its website. The page lists average monthly kilowatt-hour figures for various appliances.

Farm Energy Calculators

Agricultural producers depend on energy, an important input to production. Direct costs of energy, such as fuel and electricity, paired with indirect energy costs in the form of fertilizers and chemicals, can significantly affect farm net revenues, especially as the price of energy continues to rise. Minimizing direct and indirect energy consumption on farms in the United States can lead to considerable savings. This publication introduces and provides links to a variety of farm energy calculator tools.

Fuel Heating Cost Comparison

Have you ever wondered if it made sense to switch to another heating fuel? Find out with NorthWestern's cost comparison.

Home Energy Library

This vast resource from NorthWestern Energy provides useful information on how energy is used in new construction, existing homes, and outdoor living.

Home Energy Saver

Sponsored by DOE and EPA, this resource serves as an Internet-based tool for calculating energy use in residential buildings. Helps identify best ways to conserve energy in the home, estimates how much energy and money can be saved by implementing energy-efficiency improvements, and connects users to "how-to" information resources to help capitalize on the energy savings opportunities identified by the module.

Hospital Energy Alliance

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) invites health care organizations to join the Hospital Energy Alliance (HEA). HEA brings together leading hospitals and national associations in a strategic alliance designed to promote evidence-based information on successful strategies for integrating advanced technologies or processes that will reduce the energy consumption and operating costs of healthcare facilities. HEA — launched April 29, 2009 with an Executive Roundtable at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. — also serves as a compelling voice on the collective demand for highly efficient products and services.


Provides useful information on making a home more energy-efficient. Covers topics such as greenhouses, windows, insulation, solar energy, and more.

You can take simple steps on your own to reduce your home's energy use and your energy bills. You can also make sure that you use your home appliances efficiently and buy new ones that are energy savers. The Oregon State University Extension Energy Program has published a series of pamphlets on simple steps to reduce home energy use and cut energy bills, buying and using efficient appliances, appliances in general, clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators/freezers and water heaters.

Mountain States Appliance Report 2001

Households in the Mountain States consumed 0.58 quadrillion Btu of energy in 1997 (the most recent year for which data are available), according to an Energy Information Administration regional energy profile. That consumption accounted for about 6 percent of the nationwide total of 10.2 quadrillion Btu. About 30 percent of Mountain household energy was used to operate appliances (including refrigerators) and to run electric air-conditioning. That share is about the same as share for the United States as a whole (31 percent).

National Best Practices Manual for Building High Performance Schools

The Best Practices Manual was written as a part of the promotional effort for EnergySmart Schools, provided by the US Department of Energy, to educate school districts around the country about energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

NRDC is an environmental action group that provides a host of information on conserving energy and other green living issues. See, for example, Efficient Appliances Save Energy -- and Money and How to Reduce Your Energy Consumption.

Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance

A non-profit group of electric utilities, state governments, public interest groups and industry representatives working to bring affordable, energy-efficient products and services to the marketplace.

Rate Comparison Tool

If you are planning to relocate your family or business, this NorthWestern Energy tool can help you estimate the cost difference of your monthly electricity bill.

reHABITAT Guide: For Energy- and Resource-Efficient Retrofit Strategies

This guide seeks to advance the goal of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Existing Residential Buildings Program (ERBP): to develop approaches that will enable the housing retrofit industry to deliver energy-efficient housing improvements.

Repowering Montana: A Blueprint for Homegrown Energy Self-Reliance

This publication from AERO details strategies for investing in energy efficiency,
in sustainable production of biofuels (both biodiesel and ethanol), and in dispersed wind,
small hydro, and solar power systems, and also advocates localizing ownership and control
of these energy systems as much as possible. Doing so, says its authors, will keep dollars circulating in our
communities (instead of exporting them elsewhere) and will create useful and fulfilling work for our citizens, in both the countryside and in cities.

Residential Energy Efficiency Toolbox

The Center for Housing Policy has launched a new online toolkit that highlights strategies for improving the energy performance of existing single-family and multifamily homes, with a special focus on tools targeted on low- and moderate-income households. Developed with support from Wells Fargo, this toolkit represents an expansion of, the Center’s online guide to state and local housing policy, and includes information on a broad spectrum of components in a comprehensive energy-efficiency program, including policies to spur investment in residential energy efficiency, low-cost financing tools to help families better afford the costs of energy-efficiency upgrades, and more.

Residential Energy Factsheets

These are downloadable factsheets (Adobe Acrobat .pdf files) are designed for Western Area Power Administration customers. These factsheets provide basic information on how to "think" about energy efficient appliances and what questions to ask when making purchasing decisions. The factsheets are optimized for printing in color and black and white.

Retailer Energy Alliance

To help retailers address these issues, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has created the REA—one of several alliances organized under the Commercial Building Energy Alliances which aim to improve the energy performance of commercial buildings.

Solving the Energy Efficiency Puzzle: Achieving Bigger Savings in the Pacific Northwest

Produced by the Northwest Energy Coalition, this paper represents part one of a seven-part series titled Achieving Bigger Savings in the Pacific Northwest. We all have a stake in making our region even more energy-efficient than it is. Energy efficiency is the cleanest and cheapest way to meet most of our region’s new energy needs and our goals to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Many organizations throughout the Northwest are already hard at work saving energy. But more can be done. That’s what this paper is about: getting over the hurdles to increased energy efficiency and getting to solutions. We have a lot to lose if we wait and a lot to gain if we act. The paper addresses six keys to increasing energy savings and creating a cleaner, more prosperous future for the Pacific Northwest.

Technical Support Document: Large Hospital 50% Energy Savings

This new (September 2010) report from DOE/NREL details the technical analysis performed and the resulting design guidance that will enable large hospitals to achieve whole-building energy savings of at least 50% over the above standard. The large hospitals report also documents the modeling methods used to demonstrate how the design recommendations will help institutions meet or exceed the 50% energy-savings goal. This report found 50% energy savings can be achieved in large hospitals across all eight U.S. climate zones. Energy savings range from 50.6% to 61.3%, with the smallest savings in humid climates and extremely cold climates. The highest energy savings were achieved in marine climates, with relatively high energy savings achieved in dry climates. In general, for each climate type (humid, marine, and arid), savings were seen to decrease as the climate became progressively colder.

Technical Support Document: Strategies for 50% Energy Savings in Large Office Buildings

This new (September 2010) DOE/NREL pub evaluates the potential for new large office buildings to achieve a 50% net onsite energy savings compared to a baseline standard (as defined by ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2004). The report found 50% energy savings can be achieved in both low-rise and high-rise office buildings in a broad range of U.S. climates. The analysis was conducted in 16 cities that represented different climate zones, such as hot and humid, hot and dry, marine, cold and humid, and cold and dry. The following energy-efficiency measures helped researchers reach the 50% energy-savings target:

  • Lighting power density was reduced in office spaces and occupancy sensors were used in infrequently occupied spaces.
  • High-efficiency boilers, chillers, air distribution units, and service water heating equipment were installed.
  • Plug loads were reduced by purchasing high-efficiency electronic equipment and using special controls that shut off equipment when not in use.

Back to TopBack to Top