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Building Performance

Blog Post | October 24, 2018

Zero energy buildings on the rise but barriers remain

Zero energy building codes are making inroads in Oregon, California, British Columbia, and other places, but a new ACEEE white paper reveals that they still face barriers to nationwide success, including a “solar-only” mentality.

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Blog Post | October 16, 2018

How can blockchain save energy? Here are three possible ways.

Blockchain is generating a lot of buzz as a promising system to verify and track peer-to-peer transactions in the energy sector. It could have multiple applications although there is still debate about which, if any, will work well. What’s clear, however, is that companies are already exploring uses of blockchain to save energy. Let me tell you about three applications that show promise.

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Blog Post | February 7, 2018

Going for green with energy efficiency at this year's Olympics

Later this week, athletes proudly wearing their countries’ colors will fill the winter sports arenas of PyeongChang, South Korea, as they compete in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. But one color — green — will be present throughout the games, thanks to the PyeongChang Organizing Committee’s (POCOG) sustainability and energy efficiency efforts.

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Blog Post | April 21, 2015

Congress just passed an energy efficiency bill

Today, the House of Representatives passed S. 535, a modest energy efficiency bill sponsored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). This follows Senate passage a few weeks ago. The bill now heads to the president’s desk for his approval, which is highly likely.

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Blog Post | 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 Post | 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 Post | July 7, 2014

So you think you can aggregate data: The reality show of energy usage

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.

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Blog Post | June 24, 2014

Tracking a home's energy fitness

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.

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Blog Post | May 14, 2014

The “whole elephant” method for commercial building retrofits

Commercial buildings consume 20% of the total energy used in the United States---more than the energy consumed by all the nation’s cars, trains, and airplanes put together. A significant portion of this energy can be saved through efficiency in design, systems, and operation. Utilities and other efficiency program administrators have long been incentivizing energy efficiency measures that target various energy end uses such as lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

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Blog Post | March 12, 2014

50% Energy Savings in the Residential Sector? Deep Energy Retrofits Are Making it Possible

The need for innovative ways to reduce residential energy use is growing. States are setting increasingly aggressive energy savings targets for utilities and program administrators, as well as longer-term energy reduction goals that call for even greater savings. In California, for example, their goal calls for a 40% reduction in existing homes’ energy use by 2020.

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