Archive

December 2014

Blog | December 19, 2014

My New Year’s resolutions: get SMART, travel more, use less energy

I start thinking about my New Year’s resolution earlier than most. I like to think ahead and know what I’m getting into before committing. This year I could go to the gym more, eat fewer hamburgers, or do more traveling. OK, let’s start with just one thing. Maybe I’ll try to travel more. But how do I set the perfect goal for me? Where do I even start?

Thanks to my organization’s work on community energy planning, I know I can use the SMART goal-setting framework to wrap my head around my plans.

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Blog | December 17, 2014

Are building codes the key to unlocking zero net energy buildings?

A zero net energy (ZNE) building is a home or commercial building that on average produces as much energy as it uses, achieved through energy efficiency and renewable technologies. The ZNE concept has captured the imagination of the building design and clean energy communities. Now, policymakers, businesses, and a broader segment of the general public are showing an increased interest in ZNE as a means to reduce building operating costs and environmental impact while addressing energy supply challenges.

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Blog | December 16, 2014

IRP vs. EERS: There’s one clear winner among state energy efficiency policies

With Ohio and Indiana having recently made major changes to their utility energy efficiency policy, and other states like Florida and Arizona considering it, this is an important time to review the evidence about the relative effectiveness of state poli

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Blog | December 15, 2014

Congress wraps up with a flurry of activity affecting energy efficiency

Over the weekend the 113th Congress largely wrapped up its work. It looks like this Congress will pass just over 200 bills, the lowest number since World War II. However, before leaving home for the holidays, Congress took action on several bills that will affect energy efficiency:

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Blog | December 10, 2014

How information and communication technologies can transform personal transportation

Chances are you’ve seen examples of intelligent efficiency in action in the transportation sector, whether you realize it or not. If you rely on a smart phone app to tell you when your train or bus is arriving for your daily commute, that’s an example of intelligent efficiency at work. If you happen to own a vehicle with a dashboard that provides you instant fuel economy readouts, manufacturers are using intelligent systems to help you maximize the efficiency of your vehicle.

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Blog | December 4, 2014

Some utilities are rushing to raise fixed charges. That would be bad for the economy and your utility bill

Slow growth in electricity demand (or, in some places, flat or declining sales) and growing numbers of customer photovoltaic systems are creating concern among utilities about their ability to adequately recover the costs associated with producing electricity. In response, there has been a disturbing trend around the country of utilities proposing to simply raise monthly “fixed charges,” or the charges we pay to the utility just for being a customer.

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