Energy efficiency and community resilience: making the connection to keep the lights on and our homes warm
Communities face a growing number of stresses that pose risks to their energy systems and economies. These include aging infrastructure in need of costly maintenance upgrades and severe weather events. Energy efficiency is a strategy—albeit not a broadly recognized one—to enhance the resilience of energy systems and the communities they serve.
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.
Let’s have a conversation about water and energy. We know that the two resources are connected: We need water to produce electricity, mostly for thermal power plants (though we are going to put that aside today). We need energy to pump water out of the ground, treat it so it is potable, and then re-treat it after we use it to shower or wash clothes. We also need energy to heat water in our homes, businesses, and industrial facilities.
Efficiency has become intelligent. We’ve always known that waste is stupid and that efficiency is smart, but now, many energy measures can learn, adapt, and self-optimize. It’s called “intelligent efficiency,” and it’s going to transform how energy efficiency is provided, achieved, and measured. We’re so excited about its potential that we are hosting an entirely new conference on the subject in November.
When ACEEE launched the Multifamily Energy Savings Project two years ago, we offered one of the first estimates of potential energy savings – $3.4 billion – for multifamily buildings, a traditionally underserved market. Since then, we continue to report on opportunities and challenges for achieving these savings.
Whenever I go to trivia night, I am amazed by the little factoids I know nothing about. Baseball or Seinfeld trivia, I have that down. Knowing the name of the township in New Jersey, of Algonquian language origin, where Aaron Burr mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a duel? Not so much. (It’s Weehawken, by the way.) Even for those of us in the energy efficiency world, there’s always more to learn about efficiency-related programs and policies that have been implemented by states and cities.
ACEEE Executive Director Testifying Before House Energy and Power Subcommittee Today on “The Economic Impacts of State Energy Policies”
Washington D.C.—At a congressional hearing today, Steven Nadel, executive director of ACEEE, said that “states are stepping out and leading energy efficiency efforts in the United States as a way to save energy, lower consumer bills, and promote economic development.”
In his testimony, Nadel noted that there are large opportunities for cost-effective energy efficiency investments, investments that can aid economic development by:
After work, to unwind, I like to turn on the TV. There is just something about watching people escape from zombies or write 1960s advertising slogans that takes my mind off my day’s work. After I’m all caught up on the soapy cable dramas, though, I get myself into trouble. That’s when I inevitably wind up on reality TV. When I watch a sea of fawning bachelors courting a lone bachelorette, or a young heiress making her way in the business world, it bothers me that these shows fail to truly portray reality. And then I start thinking about work again.
If you’ve gone for a jog or visited your neighborhood gym recently, you may have noticed new accessories popping up amid the sea of iPhones and earbuds. There’s a good chance that some of your fellow runners or gym goers have been using wearable performance monitors—like the Fitbit Flex or Jawbone UP—to track their physical activity. Or perhaps you’ve seen a post from a friend on Facebook bragging about their new personal record for fastest mile. The idea behind these devices and apps is simple: the better you track performance, the more knowledge you have to improve your routine.
New Survey Finds Many Cities Already Responding to Record High Heat and Extreme Weather Events
Washington, D.C.—A survey of North American cities by the ACEEE and the Global Cool Cities Alliance (GCCA) finds that confronting the challenges of extreme weather, adapting to a changing climate, and improving the health and resiliency of urban populations are driving cities to develop and implement strategies to reduce excess urban heat.