12 July 2012

Green News: Energy

This week's Green News focus is on energy and energy-efficiency. Enjoy!

Groundbreaking home energy research right here in Austin. This great video summarizes Pecan Street Inc.'s research into areas including distributed (rooftop) solar, electric vehicle use, and home energy management. Based at the Mueller airport redevelopment site, Pecan Street's research is giving us a first glimpse into the impact of smart meters and how widespread adoption of electric vehicles might change our energy use habits.

Renewable energy credits for geothermal systems. Forty states have implemented renewable energy requirements for utility companies, and Maryland has just become the first to allow utilities to count geothermal systems toward these requirements.

60% of homes will have smart energy management systems by 2020? A consumer research study says so (even though less than 1% had such systems by the end of 2011).

The ins and outs of solar net metering. This New York Times article does a great job explaining the considerations surrounding the different methods of charging solar customers for their usage and reimbursing them for electricity they put back into the grid, and whether these systems are fair to regular customers.

Austin's streetlights undergoing energy-efficiency and "dark sky" upgrades. With a goal of 2015, Austin's city-owned utility has begun the process of replacing its 70,000 streetlights with flat LED light fixtures that will not only save money but also help combat urban light pollution. Although the retrofits are costing $15 million, this project will pay for itself in energy savings in three years thanks to the efficiency of LED bulbs and automation upgrades that are being implemented at the same time.

Is solar energy finally on the verge of going mainstream? Pretty detailed analysis of the cost of solar power and why it may finally be at a point of widespread adoption (including long system life, low maintenance, and minimal degradation loss). But some of the commenters question the authors' assumptions, so you'll have to draw your own conclusions.

Water is energy-intensive.
Like everyone else, water and wastewater facilities are trying to reduce their energy bills, and you can help by conserving water. (Energy is water-intensive, too, but that's another topic for another time.)

1 comment:

  1. I was just contemplating potential light pollution from our outdoor on-the-garage lights. They be polluting...