The ENVIRONMENTAL AND ENERGY STUDY INSTITUTE (eesi) was formed in 1984 as a not-for-profit organization by a bipartisan group of members of congress, including founder and board member, former representative richard ottinger (d), who identified a need for policymakers to have greater access to fact-based information on energy and environmental issues. Eesi has been working with experts on the leading edge of science, technology and policy to help share their knowledge with policymakers in congress. As an independent and trusted nonpartisan policy institution, eesi has more than 35 years of experience turning complex concepts into understandable information, inviting decision-makers from both sides of the aisle to ask questions and find solutions to climate change, one of the greatest challenges in human history. As part of its work, eesi conducts congressional briefings, produces fact sheets, and publishes web articles, videos and newsletters.
Energy and Climate Change Program
$782k annual program spend • The energy and climate change (ecc) program works to curb climate change by advancing all forms of renewable energy and energy efficiency, r&d, innovation and to increase resilience to current and future climate impacts.in 2018, eesi continued its keystone series of briefings on adaptation and building resilient and secure infrastructure - which highlighted both the problems as well as existing place-based solutions to create a more resilient, secure, and climate-adapted infrastructure system. We also highlighted relevant federal programs and policies, such as funding for state energy offices, which have extraordinary responsibility for ensuring the resilience of energy delivery systems.eesi's newsletter, "climate change news," reached more than 7,730 subscribers in the policy community every week. In 2018, eesi organized 15 congressional briefings for more than 2,116 members of the policy community. Eesi's briefings are a critical resource to inform and educate congress, the executive branch, policymakers, media, and the public about the latest science, technology, and policy developments in energy and environment.all congressional offices are invited to our briefings; staff from 217 congressional offices-from both sides of the aisle-attended them in 2018. Our public briefings are livecast and recorded for online distribution, which further extends their reach and impact (our youtube channel has more than 305,800 cumulative views). In addition, more than 815 individuals from government, academia, industry, media outlets and the greater policy community participated in our daylong bipartisan congressional renewable energy and energy efficiency expo and policy forum, featuring 35 clean energy exhibitors. Eesi has issue experts available to speak and advise on sustainable policy options in the climate, energy, agriculture, buildings, health, and transportation sectors, and our staffers are often called upon by the media for insights, quotes, and background information, as well as to speak at a variety of workshops and conferences. Eesi staffers regularly pen articles and op-eds for publications, further extending the reach of our sustainability message.in 2018, eesi played an active role in helping to make it easier for communities to prepare for disasters, and to rebuild better after they have been struck. Thanks to the new disaster recovery reform act (drra), the federal emergency management agency (fema) can now shift more investment into pre- disaster mitigation and allow communities to use post-disaster assistance to "build back better," by enforcing modern building codes, for example. Eesi also engaged with policymakers about how coordinating for extreme weather preparedness across the federal government and supporting regional, state, and local action can help assess vulnerabilities and implement cost-effective resilience strategies. Taking action before disasters hit, to ensure that buildings and other infrastructure can better withstand them, will save lives and money.eesi continued to emphasize the national security impacts of climate change: rising sea levels and more extreme weather are already affecting our military preparedness. Eesi engaged regularly with policymakers and hosted a half-day forum with retired generals, admirals and other top-level military officials to discuss the risks that climate change presents to national security on an operational and strategic level, and what steps must be taken by policymakers to counter and manage those risks.as part of its on-bill financing project, eesi continues to develop clean energy opportunities for rural communities. "on-bill financing" gives utility customers, including rural electric cooperative members, the ability to finance energy improvements that are then repaid over time on their energy bills. The goal is to reduce energy costs, improve reliability and comfort, and increase efficiency in rural households across the country while also reducing fossil fuel use. Eesi has supported the development and/or improvement of on-bill financing programs in twelve states: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington. We were especially gratified that South Carolina's co-ops, the first state where eesi helped set up an on-bill financing program, were awarded a $13 million no-interest federal loan to help scale-up their on-bill financing programs across the state.as part of our technical assistance to utilities, eesi is also promoting electrification that is both economically and environmentally beneficial. Electrification means switching to electricity and away from fossil fuels for space heating, water heating, or powering of vehicles-this can financially benefit both the electric utility and customer, while also reducing overall emissions. As the grid is powered more and more by renewable energy over time, the emissions savings grow larger. In 2018, interest in the benefits of electrification grew tremendously.
High Performance Green Buildings Program
$144k annual program spend • The goal of the high performance green buildings (hpgb) program is to promote policies that dramatically reduce building energy use, since buildings use more than 40 percent of the nation's energy. Increasing energy efficiency in buildings is one of the best ways to address climate change and lower electricity consumption and energy bills for space heating and cooling and water heating. Indeed, beyond climate mitigation, high performance green buildings can provide improved resilience to extreme weather, affordability, health, safety, and resale value.eesi showcased the importance of federal energy and housing programs for low-income families. In collaboration with energy efficiency for all (eefa), eesi held a congressional briefing, federal programs for energy and housing: a lifeline for America's low-income families, to help protect and strengthen federal programs like the weatherization assistance program (for energy efficiency retrofits), the low-income housing tax credit (to build and preserve energy efficient, multi-family affordable housing), and the low income home energy assistance program. Energy efficiency saves households money, and is good for the environment. Low-income households that share a disproportionate energy burden, especially in rural areas, could benefit from assistance to finance the larger scale investments needed to make their homes significantly more efficient.eesi also collaborated with the U.S. forest service to organize a congressional briefing about mass- timber building products and their increasing role in assisting forest management, carbon sequestration, resilient construction, and rural economic development. The briefing highlighted innovative products such as cross-laminated timber (dubbed "plywood on steroids") as a strong, safe, and sustainable building material, which also sequesters carbon.
Sustainable Biomass and Energy Program
$163k annual program spend • The sustainable biomass and energy (sbe) program seeks to advance sustainable bioenergy (biofuels and biomass) as one component of our country's climate change mitigation strategy, and as a way to reduce its dependence on oil. The program also promotes sustainability in our farms and forests, including building of healthy soils and carbon sequestration, and moving away from fossil fuels to a more bio-based economy. In 2018, eesi's weekly newsletter, "sustainable bioenergy, farms, and forests," reached more than 4,927 subscribers to keep them informed about critical policy issues.in 2018, the farm bill was up for renewal in a polarized congress. Eesi helped advocate for the farm bill's renewable energy, energy efficiency, and environmental conservation provisions, which were all successfully maintained. Eesi staffers met in coalition with partners and with policymakers. One provision particularly important to eesi was the rural energy savings program (resp), which helps rural communities reduce their energy usage, thereby cutting costs and emissions (resp was reauthorized). Eesi also highlighted the importance of the farm bill's environmental conservation programs, which help farmers work their lands more sustainably. Our efforts were successful: the 2018 farm bill continues mandatory funding for a number of important programs that help diversify the agricultural and forestry economies. New areas included in the 2018 farm bill, such as industrial hemp cultivation and soil health pilot programs, are also welcome inclusions. All these farm bill programs create economic opportunities for rural communities and are helping rural America become more resilient to a changing climate.eesi reminded policymakers that waste can be an important resource. The united states produces more than 70 million tons of organic waste per year (food waste, manure, agricultural waste, biosolids, etc.), which can pose significant risks to air and water quality as well as to human health. These organic materials can be converted into usable products, including biogas and renewable natural gas, as well as valuable organic fertilizer and compost, making wastes a revenue opportunity for America's farms, dairies, food processing, landfills, and wastewater treatment industries.