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Posts Tagged "energy efficiency"

Observations

Does Increased Energy Efficiency Just Spark Us to Use More?

chevy-volt-fuel-economy-sticker

Last year, the U.S. raised its fuel economy standards for cars and trucks for the first time in decades. By 2025, the fuel efficiency of vehicles will be required to double. As a result, oil consumption is predicted to fall and—given that the U.S. remains the world’s largest consumer of oil—global crude prices might fall [...]

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Observations

Are Chevy Volts Really Cheaper and Cleaner? A Case Study

Whenever Scientific American posts an article about electric cars, we see comments along the lines of “electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, so electric cars don’t really reduce your carbon footprint, and the electricity is more expensive than gas anyway,” possibly with more expletives. Ignoring issues of civility, it’s a good question. There’s no such [...]

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Observations

Can a California Start-Up Change the Way We Think about Lightbulbs? [Video]

What would it take to convince you to spend $45 on a 100-watt lightbulb? A Silicon Valley company called Switch Lighting is banking that it has the answer. Switch is a start-up that plans to roll out a replacement for wasteful incandescent lightbulbs that is efficient, long-lived and attractive—whether lit or unlit. Switch makes LED [...]

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Observations

What Questions Do You Have about Energy Efficiency?

On Tuesday, September 20, I’m set to moderate a panel on energy efficiency, specifically as it applies in New York City. As part of Climate Week NYC, the panelists will explore what the local utility Consolidated Edison—and some of its partners—are doing to manage electricity use in the city that never sleeps (which means we [...]

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Observations

Why Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Cleaner Alternatives Will Require Fossil Fuels

The world is waiting for a clean revolution, a shift away from the greenhouse gas-emitting, mountain-leveling, air-polluting, fossil-fuel burning way of life. The world may have to wait a long time if past energy transitions are anything to go by, according to environmental scientist Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba—especially since fossil fuel energy [...]

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Plugged In

Does Uber Make Cities More Energy Efficient?

Morning traffic in Paris. Photo by Tali Trigg.

It seems you can’t read an article about new mobility or the sharing economy without stumbling across Uber; the mobility service that sprung up in 2009 to only five years later become valued at more than Avis, Hertz, or Sony. Yes, Sony. Two weeks ago, I found myself using the service for the first time, [...]

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Plugged In

Corporations Should Mean What They Say on Sustainability

EcoNoticeSmall

Nowadays, it seems like every big company promotes an image of sustainability. A common example is the now-ubiquitous hotel-bathroom notice invoking images of ocean animals or pastoral scenery in an effort to convince guests to reuse their towels for the sake of the environment. While notices of this kind do have the potential to save [...]

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Plugged In

Energy Transition: Two Energy Lessons for Germany from the United States

SmartMeterInstallSmall

As I introduced in my last post, I recently traveled to Germany as a member of a transatlantic delegation of young American energy professionals and academics working in the areas of smart grids and energy storage. The purpose of the visit was to share ideas with our German counterparts and build lasting relationships that will [...]

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Plugged In

Energy efficiency can negatively impact public health

health

Some energy efficiency improvements could cost lives by increasing indoor radon exposure and the resulting risk of developing lung cancer. According to an article in the British Medical Journal, energy efficiency improvements could reduce home energy use and greenhouse gas emissions (which could lead to many health benefits). But, improvements that decrease air exchange rates [...]

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Plugged In

The Most Important Energy Source for the Future is…

544px-Compact-Fluorescent-Bulb

For months I’ve been writing about how hydraulic fracturing is shifting our energy mix from oil to natural gas. From environmental impacts to geopolitics, new horizontal drilling technologies are transforming the 21st century energy landscape. But the most important energy source for the future isn’t oil or gas – at least, according to Exxon. It’s [...]

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Plugged In

Liberals May be More Morally Invested on Climate, but Conservatives Are More Likely to be Energy Efficient at Home

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 12.10.57 PM

Over at Mother Jones, Chris has a piece about the moral motivations of liberals and conservatives. He points to a new political psychology study led by Linda Skitka of the University of Illinois-Chicago considering the differing moral investments of individuals at both ends of the political spectrum. Skitka and her team report that conservatives feel [...]

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Plugged In

Guest Post: A sexy smart grid vs. humble energy audits and efficiency retrofits

Gimme Power

By Joshua D. Rhodes [1] and Charles R. Upshaw The smart grid is here in some places, and coming in others. But, the smart grid by itself is not enough to solve all the energy problems in the built environment. The smart grid monitors, collects, and stores information on how and when resources [2] are generated, [...]

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Plugged In

Photo Friday: Efficiency saves big $$ in Walmart Distribution Center

walmart_balzac

This photo was taken in Balzac at Walmart’s fresh food distribution center. The engineers and construction workers who designed and built this facility – located in the southern portion of the Canadian province of Alberta – used infrared camera to identify energy waste points throughout the center, including at all of the loading docks. Today, this [...]

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Plugged In

How to be 20% more efficient for just $50

freezer

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), for a price premium of $350, U.S. consumers can buy a refrigerator or freezer that will use 35% less energy over its lifetime (compared to a base model). But, the relationship between incremental cost increase and energy savings is not a linear one. What does this mean? [...]

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Plugged In

Secretary of Energy sees a critical role for energy efficiency

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This month, CNBC released a list of energy sector “Disruptors” – five energy companies that they believe “are uniquely positioned to influence the future of the energy market and climate policy.” Their list shed light on a strengthening energy sector trend toward increasing emphasis on energy efficiency. This topic was also the focus of Dr. Ernest [...]

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Symbiartic

The Three Little Pigs Never Thought of This Building Material

13-018FEATURE

Bricks, sticks, and hay are decidedly pedestrian building materials in comparison to a new building that just opened to the public last Thursday in Hamburg, Germany. Ambitious architects have built an apartment covered in a thin layer of living, breathing algae. The building, known as BIQ (for Bio Intelligent Quotient), meets the extremely stringent passive-house [...]

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