Category: Energy Efficiency

February 2, 2012 • Emerging Technology, Energy Efficiency, Green Buildings, Sustainability

Here comes $4 billion in energy efficiency projects

by Jackie Cobb

Recently, President Obama announced a $4 billion effort to improve the energy efficiency of both government and private-sector buildings here in the U.S. The investment of $4 billion, to be spent on energy-efficiency projects over the next two years, intends to “save billions in energy costs, promote energy independence and, according to independent estimates, create tens of thousands of jobs in the hard-hit construction sector.” continue

September 12, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Efficiency, Green Buildings

A look at government spending

by Jackie Cobb

Given the recent debt crisis and the ensuing focus on government spending, I figured it would only be appropriate for the Summit Energy Watercooler blog to chime in on the topic as well.

While the debt ceiling debate finally yielded a compromise at the 11th hour, it has become clear that it certainly didn’t provide us with an end-all-be-all solution for the issue of US financial stability. (I’d argue there can’t be just one solution, but that’s for another post.) continue

August 17, 2011 • Energy Efficiency, Sustainability, Travel & Leisure

Happy “low carbon” summer holidays!

by Sara Hoefkens

About two weeks ago, as I was sipping from a cocktail on a white-pebbled beach in a Greek bay with crystal blue clear water, I started thinking about the enormous amount of energy that is used every year in making people’s summer holidays happen. Holidays account for a surprising amount of the energy we use each year, with flights, driving, hotel stays and added extras like boat trips all contributing to our carbon footprint. continue

August 12, 2011 • Electricity, Emerging Technology, Energy Efficiency, Energy Innovation, Perspectives, Sustainability

Charge it up! Battery power of the future

by AmyHiggs

When I was but a wee tot, I really, really wanted a pink, battery-powered Barbie car. I coveted. Oh, yes. My parents, however, had sense enough not to shell out $400 for a piece of plastic that zipped along at 0.2 miles an hour and that I likely would have plowed into the family dog as soon as I took the wheel. I had to settle for a “manual” toy car that I powered myself through a hole in the floorboard — a la “The Flintstones.” I probably got going faster in that thing than I would have in the Barbie-mobile. I definitely got more exercise!

I hadn’t thought about those childhood toys in years, until I listened to an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air back in June. The host talked to the senior editor for Popular Science magazine, Seth Fletcher, about his new book, “Bottled Lightning: Superbatteries, Electric Cars and the New Lithium Economy.” Fletcher believes that “advanced lithium batteries could hold the key to an environmentally sustainable, oil-independent future.” Read more here. continue

August 8, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Efficiency, Sustainability

The Summer of Policy – Fuel Economy Standards

by Eric Bickel

The third and final part of the “Summer of Policy” series takes a look at the new fuel economy standards goal released on July 29th from the Obama administration. This is the lightest of the three in terms of content, so it’s sort of like dessert. However, there’s more math involved in this one (so the dessert metaphor kind of breaks down). continue

August 5, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Efficiency, Energy Generation, Natural Gas, Sustainability

The Summer of Policy – Oil and Natural Gas Air Pollution Standards

by Eric Bickel

Welcome back to the “Summer of Policy” series! In the first post we discussed CSAPR, and its potential impact on you and me. This time around, we’ll talk about ONGAP…and…its potential impact on you and me. continue

July 12, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Efficiency, Sustainability

Google invests in residential solar projects

by Rich Wilson

For a few years now, clean energy and sustainable business practices have been driving large-scale efforts inside companies of all sizes. Whether the end goal was cheap energy, response to impending government regulation or even a little positive media exposure, evidence of the new green corporate landscape is everywhere. The green movement is gaining a substantial amount of momentum with little evidence of slowing down, due to large-scale implementation of energy efficiency projects. I recently stumbled on an article that discussed how Google has invested $280 million through a partnership with SolarCity, a California-based solar design and installation company. continue

June 27, 2011 • Electricity, Energy Efficiency, Energy Innovation, Natural Gas, Perspectives, Sustainability

Look who’s talking: Experts on the speaking circuit

by AmyHiggs

June has been a whirlwind of activity at Summit, and I’ve had trouble keeping up with everything going on. (Not that this is different than any other month, but I digress.) In the midst of all the standard nuttiness were some speaking gigs by Summit folks who are pretty well known as experts in their fields. continue

June 8, 2011 • Energy Efficiency, Perspectives, Travel & Leisure

Strawberries and Solar Panels

by AmyHiggs

This is the time of year when my family takes our annual strawberry pickin’ jaunt up to Huber’s Orchard & Winery in Starlight, Ind. Up at the crack o’ dawn, riding the tractor-pulled wagon out to the lush (and often dewy) fields to “u-pick” a gallon or so of those succulent berries –  I’ve gleefully made this trip every year since I was 4 years old. A wonderful bonus to the bounty that will become preserves, pies and shortcake topping is the scenic 50-mile round-trip drive to the orchard.

On a stretch of Scottsville Road sits a house that has always fascinated me. Why, you ask? It’s underground. All that passersby can see of it is the roof, which is covered in – drum roll please – solar panels. continue

June 2, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Efficiency, Energy Innovation, Perspectives, Sustainability

Speeding up

by Eric Bickel

In California, interest in high-speed rail systems is gathering speed. The push toward high-speed rail systems that largely replicate those in Europe has created quite a debate in the political world, as well as the blogosphere (both against high speed rail and for it). continue

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