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

January 26, 2012 • Perspectives

We’re not in Kansas anymore

by Allie Heiniger

"I've got to go, Julie. We've got cows." from the movie Twister

Tornadoes have long held the public captive with their ability to destroy all things in their path (I know for

a fact that any energy consultant worth a dime has memorized at least one line from Twister). So I can’t say that I was altogether surprised to hear that tornadoes have the highest energy density of any storm in nature. Despite many claims of harnessing the energy of a tornado (I’m looking at you, Pecos Bill), Mother Nature’s fury has had a mind of its own. That is until Louis Michaud came around.

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December 27, 2011 • Electricity, Perspectives

Energy and the ease of doing business

by Jackie Cobb

Whether you’re a retailer needing to keep the lights on at hundreds of stores nationwide or an industrial company running intense machinery, energy is a mandatory resource for business. The fact that energy management companies like Summit Energy exist is, in and of itself, a testament to the basic, but important, role of energy. For nearly every business, keeping operations running requires electricity and/or natural gas.

The World Bank itself recently came to the same conclusion in its annual report, “Doing Business.” 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

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
Ricardo_And_Cordoba

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 25, 2011 • Emerging Technology, Energy Innovation, Green Buildings

SEEing is believing: Utility shows off recent innovations

by Emily Tewell

Everyone has different learning styles; some people are very hands-on, including me. For instance, the in-store displays where someone is showing you how “this cleaning agent will be the last one you ever have to buy,” always have crowds of people swarming around. There are people who just want to hear their message, but many want to try it first-hand for themselves. What better way to put yourself out there? When it comes to having a product that you want to introduce to a broad spectrum of customers, so they not only hear about your offerings but experience them first hand, making customers active participants seems like the best idea. According to an article in the marketing magazine BtoB, this is exactly what Southern California Edison realized when they were looking for ways to show off their energy efficiency projects. 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 30, 2011 • Emerging Technology, Energy Innovation, Energy's Lighter Side

Residential Demand Response is Gathering Momentum

by Chad Holder

Twiggy, the Water-Skiing Squirrel

Like a squirrel on water skis, technology never ceases to amaze me. The fact that I can program my DVR from my smart phone or track my pizza preparation online really brings out my inner geek. For my latest blog post, I decided to research the effect of technology on Demand Response (DR). From a discussion standpoint, DR has raised its redheaded stepchild status to Sustainability Servicesgolden child. As it happens, Demand Response is steadily moving from being a lucrative initiative for select companies to becoming an increasingly important cost-saving concept for residences. continue

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