Elisa Wood's Blog (69)

'Oh Wow' Tech and Trends from Energy Efficiency Insiders at Washington, D.C. Gathering

Brainy light bulbs. Refrigerators that heat dishwasher water. Elevators that use no more energy than toasters. These are just a few of the “Oh Wow’ topics last week at the annual EE Global conference.

But it was growth in cities – and their buildings – that was clearly on the minds of industry leaders, 500 in total who gathered at the Washington, D.C. event, sponsored by the Alliance to Save Energy.

The US spends $432 billion per year on energy for buildings –…

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Added by Elisa Wood on May 27, 2014 at 3:39pm — No Comments

Everyone Knows You Except for Your Electric Utility

Netflix, you were right. I liked Downton Abbey. And thanks, Amazon I do want to read Michael Lewis’ new book. I still can’t figure out how Google knows I have a new dog.

Even if at times it feels a bit eerie, such ‘consumer-of-one’ marketing is a convenience many of us have come to appreciate. And it’s an approach now embraced by most major retailers.

The exception? You’ve guessed it: the ever-old fashioned electric utility.

But…

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Added by Elisa Wood on May 10, 2014 at 1:19am — 3 Comments

Microgrid for Neighborhoods: How Soon?

Microgrids may be the future of the North American electric grid, but when will that future arrive – especially for the homeowner? A team led by Ontario utility PowerStream is trying to find out with a new test project.

“A lot of the microgrid projects that you read about are typically large projects, hundreds of kilowatts, megawatts, running a whole university, a whole hospital, a whole military base,” said Mario Bottero, co-founder and president…

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Added by Elisa Wood on March 29, 2014 at 6:30pm — 1 Comment

Momentum builds for energy efficiency...but is the wolf at the door?

It says something that Ernest Moniz chose to deliver his first public talk as US energy secretary to an energy efficiency crowd.

His appearance last week at EE Global in Washington, D.C. was a surprise of sorts. And the timing was significant. Moniz had only been confirmed as energy secretary three hours before taking the podium at the Alliance to Save Energy’s annual conference.

Why did he make the stop?

Probably not because of the size of the crowd. About 550 people…

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Added by Elisa Wood on May 30, 2013 at 9:04am — 25 Comments

Energy efficiency and a cold marriage

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…

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Added by Elisa Wood on December 1, 2012 at 3:30am — 1 Comment

'Energy democracy' becomes more real

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 …

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Added by Elisa Wood on October 25, 2012 at 9:10am — 4 Comments

How we use and save energy

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…

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Added by Elisa Wood on September 28, 2012 at 12:24am — 1 Comment

Why Isn't the South Green? Or is it?

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…

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Added by Elisa Wood on August 31, 2012 at 8:44pm — 9 Comments

Where do the presidential candidates stand on energy efficiency?

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…

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Added by Elisa Wood on August 21, 2012 at 7:55pm — 1 Comment

Book Review: Would Gordon Gekko Go Green?

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…

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Added by Elisa Wood on July 23, 2012 at 11:33pm — 1 Comment

Desert Year: Why Is It So Hard to Care?

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…

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Added by Elisa Wood on March 23, 2012 at 9:22am — No Comments

All sustainability is local

“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…

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Added by Elisa Wood on March 16, 2012 at 9:01am — No Comments

Trillion dollar answer to Bachmann's light bulb question

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…

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Added by Elisa Wood on March 9, 2012 at 8:43am — No Comments

Will cyber-sensitives reveal the future of energy efficiency?

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 …

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Added by Elisa Wood on March 2, 2012 at 8:18am — 2 Comments

Energy Efficiency: A way for colleges to save and make money?

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 …

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Added by Elisa Wood on February 24, 2012 at 10:11am — No Comments

Obama's budget good for energy efficiency

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…

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Added by Elisa Wood on February 17, 2012 at 10:21am — 5 Comments

Opportunities for energy innovators

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…

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Added by Elisa Wood on February 10, 2012 at 4:08pm — No Comments

Clean energy: How much hot air?

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…

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Added by Elisa Wood on February 3, 2012 at 8:40am — No Comments

Much light, little heat efficiency

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…

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Added by Elisa Wood on January 27, 2012 at 4:30am — No Comments

Three jokers in the energy deck

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…

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Added by Elisa Wood on January 20, 2012 at 9:50am — 8 Comments

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