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    More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives
  • EPA must look at human health and the environment in updating ozone standards

    Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 4.26.52 PM

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency might be preparing to unveil a major air pollution rule change shortly after midterm elections. The new standards would reflect the latest science relating to the health and ecosystem impacts of ground-level ozone and could have significant impacts on infrastructure projects across the nation. Ground-level ozone (a.k.a. tropospheric ozone or (O3) [...]

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    Self driving vehicles are great – but we might not be ready to hand over the wheel (yet)


    The promise of self-driving vehicles has brought with it high expectations and enthusiasm. But, we might not be quite ready to hand over the wheel. Today, the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute released the results of a study on public opinion related to self-driving vehicles. According to its authors – Brandon Schoettle and Dr. [...]

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    Corporations Should Mean What They Say on Sustainability


    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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    When It Comes To How We Vote on Energy Issues, Age Matters

    Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 3.21.50 PM

    A new poll from The University of Texas at Austin reveals markedly different perspectives on energy issues based on the age of voters, a finding that could help determine the outcome of next week’s elections. The latest UT Energy Poll, conducted Sept. 4 -16, shows contrasting views and preferences among consumers in numerous areas, including [...]

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    Could lightning keep the lights on?


    Could lightning be used as an energy resource? The answer is “yes” – but you probably don’t want it to. A single bolt of lightning contains approximately 1 billion joules of energy, or about 300 kilowatt-hours (300 kWh). The average American home uses around 900 kWh (more than 3 billion joules of energy) each month. [...]

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    So What Direction Should Solar Panels Face?


    The following is a guest post by Dr. Joshua Rhodes, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in The Webber Energy Group and the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. There has recently been a lot of buzz about which direction solar panels should face. It seems the initial conversation was prompted by a Pecan [...]

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    Is NYC poised to become an energy storage leader?


    The recently announced Demand Management Program by ConEd includes significant incentives for both thermal and electricity storage technologies. If the plan moves ahead, the NYC area could be home to more energy storage than almost any other state by summer 2016. The Consolidated Edison Company of New York (ConEd) provides electric service in New York [...]

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


    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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    Map Monday: Global Pesticide Scorecard Launched

    Levels of pesticide regulation by country/toxin. Image courtesy: Yale EPI.

    The prevalence of pesticides and other chemicals may seem like something of a bygone era, one marked by Silent Spring and the Bhopal Disaster, but the grim reality is that they are unfortunately very much around. Whether it is BPA in your water bottle or neonicotinoids decimating bee populations, action has not been uniform. To [...]

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    I Have Seen the Future of Transit and It Is in Raleigh

    We long ago lost the skill of paying for the things we need: I won’t bore you with the statistics of how far we are behind in our infrastructure investments. You’ve heard them from me dozens of times. I just want a solution. Regarding transit, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and the [...]

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