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Dr. Austin Brown is the Executive Director of the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy – and an expert on the intersection of transportation and energy policy. He’s been an integral advisor to the work of the Alliance’s 50x50 Commission. The Blog to Save Energy caught up with him recently to hear his outlook on coming changes in American transportation.
Although there are multiple initiatives underway to establish a definition of zero energy buildings, there is no recognized consensus standard that determines if a building is a zero energy building. A new ASHRAE standard could help resolve this issue and bring the industry into agreement.
Less than a week after the first round of hearings on hundreds of proposals to develop the 2021 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) wrapped up, there is reason for optimism that we may get a model energy code that will help make buildings more efficient. But the code development process has months and months to go, so there are big challenges ahead.
High-profile stories about Congress today frequently focus on the fights over big legislation and the gridlock that results. But beyond the headlines we are seeing quiet, steady progress on energy efficiency policy.
To assist local municipalities affected by gas constraints, New York State developed a Clean Energy Action Plan – a $250 million investment in clean energy technologies and energy efficiency measures for residents and businesses.
It takes energy to get water, and it takes water to get most energy. We ought to consider them together, because policies that encourage us to use one more efficiently often reduce our need for the other. A bill advancing in the U.S. House of Representatives would ensure the Department of Energy considers water intensity within its research on energy and water distribution systems.
The market is ready, and investments in energy efficiency continue to grow, but the current labor force cannot meet the demand largely due to a lack of experience, training, and technical skills across applicants.
The Park Service has countless projects to improve and protect its parks – but we’re particularly keen on its energy efficiency measures, which not only reduce pollution but have the benefit of reducing daily energy costs. Here are just a few examples of recent or ongoing projects to trim the parks’ energy use.
The Climate Mobilization Act is one of the most ambitious actions any city in the world has taken to reduce carbon emissions. Now, the hard work of implementation begins.
Using energy more effectively has myriad benefits, but reducing air pollution -- by demanding less electricity from polluting power plants -- can literally prevent illnesses and even deaths. How many? A new study gives us some compelling answers.

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