Homebuilders moving beyond Energy Star; Illinois gets its first net-zero energy ready ‘Challenge Home’

Ever thought about building a very energy-efficient custom home? What if this home would be one of the greenest homes of its kind in the country? Weiss Building & Development LLC and Tom Bassett Dilley Architects in the Chicago area have accomplished just that in completing the first home in Illinois meeting the U.S. Department […]

Southern California Edison’s smart grid progress provides valuable lessons for utilities

With more U.S. homes receiving smart meters and more utilities deploying their smart grid infrastructures, there are handful of utilities that have made notable progress with valuable lessons to share for the rest of the industry. I’m talking primarily about CenterPoint Energy in Houston, Oklahoma Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern […]

FAST FIX: How the Smart Grid can save households almost $600 per year

If you need to quickly grasp the potential and benefits of the emerging smart grid in the U.S., this infographic is the best effort yet.  It comes courtesy of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative and its 90+ member utilities, technology companies, non-profits, regulators and consumers advocates. Increasing the power grid’s efficiency by 9% equates to […]

Energy ‘datapalooza’ draws more apps; know the cost of that old refrigerator?

The Obama administration threw a its third datathon (my word) this week dubbed the  “Energy Datapalooza.” It featured about 150 entrepreneurs, policymakers and software developers, among others, and aspired to offer ways to learn new ways to save energy and lower bills from what is supposed to be free and secure data. Government and private […]

Green Button approaching critical mass – 27 million households now getting access to their energy data

NOW, we’re getting somewhere with the Green Button Initiative. Nine investor-owned utilities from across the country have jumped on board enabling an updated total of about 27 million households to access their electricity usage data. This is a huge step forward for motivated consumers to better understand how they can save on their energy bills […]

Communicating the energy efficiency and $ savings of Philips’ L-Prize award-winning LED light bulb: electricity prices and rebates matter

Even before a major push to mass market LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs can be found on retailers’ shelves in U.S. markets in April, there is confusion over their purported $50 price tag and what consumers ultimately will pay. Judging by one attempt, even the newspaper of record in the U.S. capital — The Washington Post […]

EDF’s on-bill repayment utility proposal could scale up distributed solar AND energy efficiency

The California Public Utility Commission is accepting comments through January 25 and holding workshops February 8-10 on a proposal by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to create the nation’s first statewide on-bill repayment (OBR) program for energy efficiency and solar energy upgrades to be financed entirely by third parties. The  “OBR” program as it’s becoming known […]

Fresh messages, new language needed to achieve sustainable energy future; when’s the inflection point?

Advocates of a more sustainable energy future can blame Solyndra, Al Gore, President Obama, James Hansen, Bill McKibben or environmental interests groups such as the 350.org, Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club. The fact is a growing number of, if not most, “green” initiatives are not likely to achieve their missions of […]

Intellectural property protection for U.S. cleantech entrepreneurs in China – waning hopes

From this week’s RETECH conference and expo in Washington, DC, there seem few realistic aspirations for energy, clean tech and other entrepreneurs to protect their intellectual property if manufacturing in China or selling to Chinese markets. It is the 600-pound gorilla at just about every conference gathering with an Chinese dimension to it. While moderating […]

FAST FIX: Cialdini’s 6 Rules of Influence — Smart Grid marketers take note

One of the most widely respected researchers of human behavior,Robert Cialdini, asserts there are six rules of influence when reaching out to the public.  They may have a lot to contribute to effectively engaging utility ratepayers and consumers about using energy more wisely through smart grid applications. Cialdini serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of […]