Archive for the ‘News’ Category

How “Picking Low Hanging Fruit” Can Hurt Energy Efficiency

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

In this article Joe Romm makes a counter-intuitive argument against easy energy savings such as lighting upgrades. Although he clearly agrees with the consensus that they are needed, his concern is that they often are the end of the story rather than the beginning of a process of increasing energy efficiency. He explains how energy efficiency Return On Investment (ROI) targets are often too high, leading to lost savings after energy users take their first step.

The article also delves into policy issues. It supports the carbon tax as an effective means to promote energy savings. It also explains the benefits of Energy Service Companies (ESCOs), Managed Energy Services Agreements (MESAs), and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs.

Read the whole article here:

Green homes sell for 9% more

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

The LA Times reports that a new study by UCLA of 1.6 million home sales found that green homes have a 9% premium on their price. The study compared homes with Energy Star, LEED or GreenPoint Rated labels with other homes, and normalized for typical factors such as location and view. The results are consistent with European studies that found a 10% premium for green homes. The premium was higher in hotter inland areas than more moderate coastal areas, providing further confirmation that people understand the value of green homes (for example lower air conditioning bills). It is nice to see that people who invest in making their homes more efficient are rewarded for their efforts again when it is time to sell.

Read the whole article here:,0,7849454.story

The Democratization of Energy

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Traditionally individuals have been at the mercy of broader forces when it comes to energy use. The struggle between nations over energy supplies has even been called “the Great Game” in a comparison to the struggles between the English and Russian empires over Central Asia a hundred years ago. However, new technologies which allow individuals to understand and manage their electricity consumption are enabling them to become players in the game.

Although it is easy to view the new technologies as just more gadgets, they in fact are creating a transformation in the energy industry that will cause fundamental changes. As the hardware and software become less expensive and easier to use, they will become more and more common. The users will be able to control their energy use with minimal effort, and will be able to cut energy use in predictable ways. Most energy users today only know how much electricity they use by the month, which is like a car that has a dashboard with an odometer and nothing else. New energy efficiency technologies allow energy consumption to be a conscious act, and as a result individuals will begin to take control and democratize energy.

Read the whole article here:

Residential Energy Efficiency Progress

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

A survey by Shelton Group concluded that Americans are lagging in energy efficiency due to reasons including tight funds, denial about their energy usage, and lack of knowledge about how to act effectively. They found that a typical homeowner would need to see an increase in their monthly electricity bill of about $100 to motivate them to make further investments in energy efficiency. The study seems to focus on construction upgrades such as windows and water heaters, even though similar efficiency gains can be made with inexpensive approaches such as putting energy vampires like electronics on power strips to cut their power draw to zero when they are not in use.

Read more about it here:

California to reduce total electricity demand

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

The California Public Utilities Commission has produced new analysis that shows that the growth in demand for electricity in the state has declined to 1% per year. They expect total demand to begin falling due to continuing efforts in energy efficiency, which will be a historic event.

Californians today consume the same amount of electricity per capita that they consumed in 1975, while the rest of the country has increased its consumption over 50%. Some caution should be used in reading the statistics, however, because some of the reduction may be due to de-industrialization (essentially outsourcing electricity use). The state’s total energy use has continued increasing due to the increasing population, but continuing efforts in efficiency are expected to outpace population growth and lead to reduced total use.

Read the whole article at Natural Resources Defense Council: