The extreme weather events sweeping the United States, from wildfires in the West to hurricanes in the South, are causing untold personal suffering and damaging US infrastructure. We want to help residents and businesses get back on their feet, and we see a smart use of energy as integral for long-term recovery.
Here’s why: These events can disrupt energy production and distribution, spiking prices and making it costlier for businesses to rebuild. Hurricane Harvey, for example, temporarily shuttered oil and gas refineries in Texas, a hub of fossil fuel production. We’ll need to do better with existing resources. An energy-efficient community is more resilient, less affected by supply swings, and more financially able to invest in recovery.
The good news is that technology is spurring innovative ways to do more with less. We’d like to share some of what we’re learning.
On Tuesday, Sept. 19, ACEEE is hosting three half-day “tutorial” workshops at VERGE, the premier US conference where technology meets sustainability. We have an amazing lineup of speakers who are leaders in government, business, academia, and utilities.
We’re exploring how smart devices, sensors, real-time data, and data analytics can help save energy—something ACEEE has dubbed “intelligent efficiency.” These tools can put fewer demands on US energy production and make better use of the nation’s power grid, power plants, utilities, roads, buildings, and other infrastructure.
Consider, for example, smart meters, learning thermostats such as Nest, or connected appliances such as Wi-Fi-enabled refrigerators. New software enables smoother integration of these devices so they can automatically adjust to changes in temperature, power prices, or energy demand.
In the “Yes, You Can!” workshop, business leaders will discuss the latest data analytic techniques for mining information from smart devices, as well as ways to target, track, and measure energy use.
Our “Smart Logistics” workshop will explore how the latest energy-saving tech tools can reduce emissions, in a time of rising freight volumes and demand, for quicker delivery. These tools allow shippers to share networks, consolidate loads, and assign route/mode in real time. We’ll get updates from leading shippers and fleets, including Walmart and Home Depot. An MIT expert will discuss how companies can reduce emissions through high-resolution, fuel-based routing.
The “Understanding People” workshop will focus on customer behavior and engagement. It’ll look at how better data and new tracking tools give businesses a clearer view of the energy-efficient products or services their customers will use. We’ll hear case studies of successful partnerships with startups like ecobee, which has granular data on building conditions, and Enervee, which tracks consumer shopping habits, as well as established businesses such as Sears. Federal and state officials will discuss effective public policies.
As US communities rebuild, we hope you’ll join us in exploring energy-efficient, resilient solutions. Our best wishes go to those families and businesses struggling to recover from the recent and ongoing extreme weather events.