Stone bridge connecting two cliffsIt was a year ago that we wrote in this column about the stifling effect of operating in silos.  Our particular focus was (and still is) on the unfortunate split between the renewable energy and energy efficiency options which crops up in all sorts of ways – as separate organizations, government project and policy programs, conferences and consumer marketing campaigns.

Through national efforts, good work has been accomplished by moving away from the “either or” approach.  We thought that now would be a good time to take a look at how IREC is doing in closing the divide between renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Perhaps the most dramatic gain has been the growth of energy efficiency training programs that have been credentialed through IREC’s assessment program.  Just a year ago, IREC had awarded just 9 percent of the credentialing pool to energy efficiency training programs and instructors.  Today, 47 percent of the pool holds energy efficiency credentials.  Balance has been reached.

As an American Standards Developer, IREC develops and cares for three training standards.  In the past year, we have moved these standards to cover “clean energy” training rather than focusing just on renewable energy or energy efficiency.  Seemingly a minor adjustment, this change is more than semantics.   By recasting the scope of these standards, we are encouraging a broader reach than previously defined.  Our goal is to widen the types of training programs that are eligible to go through assessment within the clean energy fields.

This year’s IREC 3iAwards – for Innovation, Ingenuity and Inspiration – includes a special category for Closing the Divide projects.  We’re looking for inventive projects and programs that bridge renewable energy and energy efficiency.  Nominate projects that can serve as models for others.  Applications are available and due online by July 7.

Help us do more to realize the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy working hand-in-hand – and to expand awareness that a combined approach is the better one.

Before I sign off, here are a number of things to watch for on the immediate horizon.

Larry Sherwood’s U.S. Solar Markets Trends report will be out later this month and available at  Also watch for Larry’s article in the July/August Solar Today magazine.

We’ll be exhibiting at the PV America Conference in Boston.  If you’ll be in Bean Town, do stop by our booth #631.

And, due to be published soon is ANSI’s Energy Efficiency Standardization Coordination Collaborative’s Roadmap.  IREC co-chaired the working group that wrote the chapter on workforce credentials.  There are important recommendations that we’ll highlight once the roadmap is released.

Talk with you soon.


Image: © James Steidl –