Category: cost reduction

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

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 28, 2011 • Current Events, Electricity, Energy's Lighter Side

The early ’70s: OPEC, AAA, SPR and Corinthian leather

by Chad Holder

Recently, Summit Energy commodity analyst Matt Smith appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box to field questions on how the release of 30 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) affects the crude oil market. Matt’s appearance led me to do a little digging on the history of the SPR, which uncovered five fascinating historical footnotes, some awesome ’70s-era YouTube video clips and 62 underground salt caverns that hold more than 700 million barrels of crude oil. continue

May 16, 2011 • Emerging Technology, Energy's Lighter Side, Natural Gas, Perspectives

Old man embraces new fuel technology

by Chad Holder

Get off my lawn!

Another birthday and a drawer full of v-neck undershirts signal I’m ready to embrace my inner “old man.” These days I spend a lot of time complaining and talking about the way things were “back in my day,” back before gasoline was $4.07 a gallon. One day last week unleaded gas shot up 37 cents a gallon. Summit Energy commodity analyst, Matt Smith, attributed the meteoric rise to “flooding on the Mississippi, which is impacting both production and transportation of the fuel.” Matt’s right, of course, but the grumpy old man in me would rather blame it on “kids these days” or Communism. continue

April 12, 2011 • Perspectives

Energy and the Cloud

by Roger Durham

Do you have any idea how much energy is consumed by the cloud? No, not that cumulus cloud outside

Data Center

your window. I’m talking about the cloud that hosts a growing majority of the world’s electronic data. I’m talking about the cloud that makes Facebook and Google and Amazon and iTunes possible. According to a report from EnergyStar, EPA estimates place the 2006 electricity consumption level of all U.S. servers and data centers at something close to 61 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh). That consumption number is projected to climb closer to 100 billion kWh in 2011. And that growth will only continue as cloud computing proliferates.  continue

March 7, 2011 • Electricity, Emerging Technology, Energy Efficiency, Perspectives

What are Smart Meters?

by Brandon Dickerson

With the recent event on Jeopardy in which Watson the computer decimated its human competitors, I thought it would be fun to start today’s post with a Jeopardy question:

Answer: This rhyming term refers to a utility employee who looks at electric, gas, or water consumption and records the volume used. continue

March 1, 2011 • Energy's Lighter Side, Sustainability, Travel & Leisure

Sustainable Tourism: Why It Pays to Bet on Green

by Chad Holder

Winning with sustainability

On March 16, I will be visiting Las Vegas. In an effort to encourage corporate sustainability, specifically sustainable tourism, I’ve taken it upon myself to support companies that exhibit environmental stewardship and energy efficiency. That’s why I just might seek out and congratulate a Caesars Entertainment Corporation representative for the company’s very successful corporate sustainability strategy.

At this point, it bears mentioning that the timing of my visit to Las Vegas, the location of Caesars’ Nevada headquarters and a certain college basketball tournament are all purely coincidental. Also coincidental: that I planned this trip with seven other Murray State alumni last June. continue

February 16, 2011 • Travel & Leisure

About sailing and energy management

by Sara Hoefkens

My favourite sport is sailing. They always say that when you go sailing for the first time, you either hate it or you love it. Well, I’ve definitely fallen into that last category. Since I set foot aboard a sailing yacht about 10 years ago, I must have sailed more than 80,000 nautical miles, including 9 transatlantic crossings, on big yachts, on dinghies, in the Caribbean, in the Med, on the North Sea, you name it. I’m seriously hooked!

And come to think of it, I must have been hooked on energy management without ever even realizing it since the day I took on sailing!

Now, what on earth does sailing have to do with energy management? Well, everything. Think about it. Sailing requires energy to make your yacht sail forward. This energy is delivered in the form of wind (and to some extent waves and current), gets transferred to your sailing yacht, and with the right on-board energy management programme (right choice of sails and surface, trim of sails, steering at the right wind angle, tacking, gibing, navigating charts… ) your yacht starts to sail! continue

January 10, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Efficiency, Green Buildings, Perspectives

Living Green in Gotham

by Rich Wilson

Here is a simple question for everyone out there: Do you like money? Now, the response to such a question will be wide and probably very interesting, but I would suppose that the inner-capitalist in most of us would answer with a profound, “Of course I do.” Money buys the goods that keep our economy turning; when money is tight, it usually means conversations go from, “Nice weather today” to a glummer “bah humbug” type of response. Due to government policies of the 1980s, we witnessed a jolt to the U.S. economy, prompting a robust recovery and an infusion of capital through tax cuts, spurring the yuppie stereotype. Overall, most of us think of the 80s as the time when greed was the word de jour and the capital flowed, at least until the market crashed. We can go on and on about how cool money, taxes and the 1980s are, but I want to shift gears and transition to the ongoing developments at the Empire State Building. Don’t worry; we will still talk about money. continue

January 6, 2011 • Perspectives

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

by Hannah Miller

Perhaps that sounds like a killjoy title, but you know what I’m going to say next: If you try sometimes, you just might find that you get what you need. [Thank you, Rolling Stones.]

Besides the catchy tune and the almost irresistible urge to play air guitar, I find this song wandering around in my head for another reason. I often feel caught between being an idealist and a pragmatist. I love to dream about what’s possible and figure out a plan to get there. I believe that, with a little determination and creativity, there’s almost always a way to get what you want. But then there’s the pragmatist in me. If the idea isn’t going to work in reality, then it’s time to move on and find something that will.

It’s pretty easy to be caught in this same tension when considering energy management. continue

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