We know energy efficiency can save the world, but can it save a marriage?
Leave it to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to take on that question. The agency is known for its vanguard energy research. But it is one thing to produce papers on topics like ‘Air Bypass in Vertical Stack Water Source Heat Pumps’ and another to delve into what a cold room can do to a new marriage.
That’s the premise behind Irreconcilable Temperatures, a…Continue
Will new technologies democratize energy much the way the Internet did information?
Industry movement seems to point in that direction with the rise of the smart grid, time-of-day pricing, distributed solar, and the electric vehicle. Together these technologies offer a vision of a less centralized energy system, one where communities and households ‘vote in’ or shape the electric grid by how they decide to consume energy, a phenomenon also called the …Continue
When I picked up a gallon of milk at the store today, I looked at it in a new way. I was buying energy.
This insight came courtesy of the US Energy Information Administration‘s recent ‘Today in Energy’ article about industrial energy consumption.
It turns out that we use about 30 percent of our energy for industrial processes, according to the federal agency. But it’s hard for most of us to grasp…Continue
Everyone is seeking the elusive killer app that will revolutionize energy. Most expect it to be a high tech gadget, or new form of generation or a way to finally store mass quantities of electricity.
Not anthropologist Susan Mazur-Stommen. She’s looking in a completely different place: inside our heads, or more specifically inside the heads of those who live in the Deep South.
Mazur-Stommen, who is the director of behavior and human dimensions for the American Council for an…Continue
We know that what a political candidate says during a campaign often differs from what the eventual office-holder does. We also know that candidates choose their words carefully to give themselves wiggle room for modifications in course.
So we listen for innuendo and subtleties when candidates talk about our special interests. What kind of qualifying language do they use? Are they truly against X, Y and Z, or only under special circumstances?
Below are some quotes on energy…Continue
By Elisa Wood
July 17, 2012
Energy books tend to be either jargon-filled tomes or hand-wringing, end-of-the-world, please-just-shoot-me-now reprimands. So it was a relief to see that Brian Keane avoids both of these worn-out roads in his new book, “Green is Good: Save Money, Make Money, and Help Your Community Profit from Clean Energy.”
Keane expertly tells the clean energy story…Continue
By Skip Laitner
Guest blogger, Energy Efficiency Markets
Why is it so hard to care about snakes? Or the desert? The climate? And especially the environment more generally?
This time the snake was real. Right there on the side of the road. Some evenings ago, however, in the waning hours of twilight, it turned out to be just a short length of black rubber hose that was also laying…Continue
Added by Elisa Wood on March 23, 2012 at 9:22am — No Comments
“All politics is local.” This quote from the late US Congressman Tip O’Neill continues to frame political strategies today. It turns out his premise also applies to environmentalism. All sustainability is local, as a Massachusetts software company reveals in a new application that takes on the complicated task of quantifying the green efforts of corporations.
Massachusetts-based Energy Points has devised a…Continue
Added by Elisa Wood on March 16, 2012 at 9:01am — No Comments
US Congresswoman Michele Bachmann often asks why government should tell us which kind of light bulb to choose. Turns out it’s a question with a trillion dollar answer.
We will save $1.1 trillion through 2035 because of existing energy efficiency mandates for light bulbs and appliances, according to a report issued this week by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient…Continue
Added by Elisa Wood on March 9, 2012 at 8:43am — No Comments
The US economy is three times larger than China’s, yet when it comes to developing a clean energy industry, China keeps besting us. The US came in second – again – to China this quarter in Ernst & Young’s much-watched …Continue
The Obama administration – and every parent with a child in college – is concerned about the ever-escalating cost of higher education. And for good reason. Tuition, room and board rose 37 percent for undergraduates at public colleges and 25 percent at private colleges (adjusted for inflation) from 2000 to 2010, according to the …Continue
Added by Elisa Wood on February 24, 2012 at 10:11am — No Comments
President Obama’s 2013 budget caused a lot of smiles this week among energy efficiency advocates – even if it is more of a wish list than anything else. Obama calls for about $1.2 billion in spending for energy efficiency.
What’s this mean to the energy efficiency industry?
Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, says that…Continue
For a long time ‘clean’ and ‘green’ marked the forward trend in the energy industry. Then came the quest for ‘smart’ energy. And now ‘innovation’ is the buzzword.
It’s easy to see why. As Americans, we believe our ability to innovate sets us apart in today’s international market. Sure China can manufacture computers and cell phones more quickly and cheaply, but we came up with Google and IPhones in the first place.
The energy industry offers a lot of…Continue
Added by Elisa Wood on February 10, 2012 at 4:08pm — No Comments
NewScientist’s January 28 issue is likely to unsettle clean energy advocates – but it is worth the read.
The cover article, “Power paradox: Clean might not be green forever,” posits that even renewable energy can warm the planet, and eventually change climate, if we continue to ratchet up power production to serve our ever increasing…Continue
Added by Elisa Wood on February 3, 2012 at 8:40am — No Comments
Energy efficiency in the US is much light and little heat – literally. Government policy pays a great deal of attention to saving electricity, but focuses little on the thermal energy we waste.
“Policy is electricity-centric in the US. Unless you are making kilowatts, the most efficient investments are off the radar,” said Rob Thornton, president of the International District Energy Association (IDEA), who I recently interviewed while writing this year’s…Continue
Added by Elisa Wood on January 27, 2012 at 4:30am — No Comments
This is the era of Big Oil. Could the next be the era of Big Efficiency?
A new report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy suggests the possibility. Re-invented with today’s smart energy technologies, energy efficiency could displace 40 to 60 percent of our total energy needs by the year 2050, according to The Long-Term Energy Efficiency Potential: What the Evidence Suggests.
Sound far-fetched? ACEEE says history backs its…Continue
Utilities worry about a lot of things, such as keeping the lights on, earning a return for investors, and making regulators and customers happy with their service.
Now there is a new worry: How can they protect customers from what one utility refers to as “mental fatigue?”
In this particular case, the utility raises the issue as it prepares to invite homeowners and small businesses to select from among new and possibly complicated rate options made available because of smart…Continue
Added by Elisa Wood on January 13, 2012 at 1:00pm — No Comments
Americans tend to beat themselves up over their imperfections. We eat too much, watch too much TV and owe China too much money. Despite all of our sloth, we can feel good about one area: our progress saving energy.
A report issued this week by the Institute for Electric Efficiency found that we saved enough electricity to power almost 10 million homes in 2010 (about 112 MWh). That’s 21…Continue
If someone told me they could improve the efficiency of my computer so that it operates quicker, at no extra cost to me, I can’t imagine I’d turn them away. Yet, the energy efficiency industry offers a similar option for homes and businesses and at least so far, consumers aren’t flocking to the programs.
On-bill financing gives customers the ability to finance energy efficiency improvements made to their homes and businesses at no upfront cost. Customers pay for the insulation,…Continue
Electric utilities operated under a rarified business model for decades. Their customers were captive so they rarely had to think about what motivated them to buy. New government energy efficiency mandates have changed that, and done so with an ironic twist. Now utilities must figure how to get their customers to refrain from buying.
It’s not easy persuading people to stop using something they like as much as electricity. But behavioral science is coming to the rescue – or at least…Continue