Our corporate energy efficiency conference opened by answering the big question: What actions should businesses take to reduce energy use?
So how do you do all this? The solutions-oriented conference provided answers through panels covering the various components of corporate energy efficiency.
The conference marked the launch of our recent report, "From Shop Floor to Top Floor: Best Business Practices in Energy Efficiency"  authored by William Prindle, Vice President of ICF International. Held April 6-7 in Chicago, the two-day conference  brought together a diverse audience, including representatives of numerous companies with products ranging from software to soft drinks.
The conference was kicked off with presentations from six companies whose best practices in energy efficiency were highlighted in the report's case studies (Best Buy , Dow Chemical , IBM , PepsiCo , Toyota , and UTC ). Subsequent panels examined issues such as overcoming financial barriers  in pursuing energy efficiency projects, gaining senior level support  for energy efficiency, engaging employees , suppliers and customers  in energy efficiency efforts, and the challenges of gathering and reporting energy efficiency data .
In every panel session there was an abundance of questions, and lively discussions spilled out into the hallways during breaks. Panelists discussing financial barriers  to energy efficiency were asked about building a financial case for employee engagement programs, PACE financing, and tradable energy efficiency certificates. Attendees had panelists pondering the idea of a best-of-the-best list within the joint U.S. DOE/U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR program and how to include supply chain efficiency metrics in labeling. How to keep employees engaged  in energy efficiency measures and bringing suppliers into the fold  were other key questions asked of conference panelists.
While the discussions mostly focused on what companies can do to be more energy efficient, the broader issue of climate change was not far from everyone's minds. Former Senator John Warner , a keynote speaker, was asked about the right message that would get Congress moving on climate change legislation. And keynotes John Rowe, CEO and Chairman of Exelon, and our President Eileen Claussen  both noted that policy that puts a price on greenhouse gas emissions is essential to moving the United States to a low-carbon economy and addressing climate change.
Videos and presentations from the conference are available on our Web site .
Aisha Husain is an Energy Efficiency Fellow.