Blog to Save Energy

New investments and innovations were announced at the White House Clean Energy Summit.
In what Vice President Joe Biden is calling a “once in a generation energy transformation,” the Obama administration recently announced the Clean Energy Investment Initiative, a public private partnership that commits over $4 billion for clean energy innovation. As the result of an unprecedented collaboration between major philanthropic organizations, family offices, venture capitalists, universities and institutional investors, early stage clean energy technology will be better supported through the new initiative. An integrated investment ecosystem aims to turn the “valley of death” — the gap between initial capital investment and revenues from commercialization — into a valley of opportunity.
Weatherized homes are more efficient and save homeowners money on energy bills.
A report issued last week by a faculty research collaborative from the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley strongly criticized the cost-effectiveness of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). WAP is a government-funded program that retrofits homes to improve occupant health and safety and lower energy costs for limited-income populations. Basing their conclusions on statistical analysis of a sample of WAP’s efforts in Michigan, the report’s authors conclude that the program fails the most basic economic test: return on investment. The authors extrapolated their regression analyses to a broader questioning of the value of the WAP program nationwide. Only slightly more subtly, they suggested that energy efficiency investments as a whole, even those made without any connection to WAP or other government subsidies, often lack compelling economics.
The VCEP tour traveled across the U.S. to learn about energy efficiency practices that can be implemented in Vietnam.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Vietnam Clean Energy Program (VCEP) recently concluded another successful tour as part of its five-year initiative to reduce energy consumption in Vietnam through improved energy efficiency in the building sector. Initiated in 2012, the program has been implemented by Winrock International with support from the Alliance to Save Energy. Successfully building upon the first study tour in fall 2014, the main objectives in this year’s study tour included promoting the implementation of Vietnam’s new building energy code and highlighting green building technologies.
Country delegates and observers gathered in Bonn, Germany June 1-11 to debate and discuss next steps in global climate policy. The goal? To put together a post 2020 roadmap to succeed the Kyoto protocol. The mandate for a post 2020 plan within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was put in place in the 2011 Durban, South Africa negotiations, and the negotiating body has until the end of 2015 to arrive at an official agreement.
Internet of things provides energy efficiency innovation opportunities
The future of energy efficiency technology often seems more like science fiction than reality, but according to energy thought leaders at last week’s 26th Annual Energy Efficiency Forum, cutting-edge efficiency advancements are already practical and implementable. At this year’s Forum, Johnson Controls and the United States Energy Association (USEA) convened energy thought leaders and experts to discuss not only the innovations we’ll see in coming years, but how they will help make the United States a global leader in energy efficiency.
Every year since 1997, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released its Annual Energy Outlook, with projections about the main factors impacting the future of energy markets. The forecasts are meant to provide a basis for examination and discussion, and serve as a starting point for analyzing potential changes in U.S. energy policies, rules and regulations.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2016 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill on May 21. This comes after the full House passed its own version of the spending bill on May 1. These appropriations bills cover, among other focus areas, funding for the Department of Energy (DOE), which includes the majority of the provisions relating to energy efficiency through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
Energy demand and utility costs in laboratory buildings are very high — they can require 5-10 times more energy per square foot than a typical commercial office building. Given all the scientific equipment and technology found in modern research labs, this isn’t hard to imagine. Laboratories are so energy intensive for a number of reasons, spanning far beyond lab equipment, each with a variety of energy savings opportunities. We’re taking a look at a few of the reasons why labs require so much energy to operate and what is being done to advance laboratory energy efficiency.
Energy and environment communities have remained engaged with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other stakeholders ever since the release of its proposed rule to limit emissions from existing power plants. There have been countless studies on potential impacts of the rule — referred to as 111(d) or the Clean Power Plan (CPP) — along with hearings, events, planning guides and official comment submission.
Researchers have found that device-level efficiency has begun to result in diminishing returns. Instead, focus is now on systems level efficiency, and the high levels efficiency that stems from how devices and users interact with the overall system. The Systems Efficiency Initiative (SEI) — holding its second official meeting today — aims to close the gaps in whole system building energy efficiency to meet our future energy challenges.

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