Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Energy Efficiency

Comments

Road to recovery act

The Recovery Act: the most important energy bill in American history

If the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) had been an energy bill, it would arguably have been the single-most important piece of clean energy legislation in our nation's history. It drove unprecedented new investments -- both public and private -- into modernizing America's clean energy infrastructure. And its clean energy provisions alone have already saved or created 63,000 jobs and are expected to create more than 700,000 jobs by 2012. Now that ARRA has run its course, we need to stay committed to these investments to keep building the U.S. clean energy industry and remain globally competitive. Newly elected …

Comments

Paint it black

Ask Umbra Book Club: How coal lit a fire under human society

Bring in the chimney sweep!Photo: Thiophene GuyDearest readers, In our last book club conversation about Bill Bryson’s At Home: A Short History of Private Life, we discussed some of the sordid history of the food we eat. Now let's turn our attention to the way we heat. Back in the Middle Ages, people were in desperate need of heat sources. In those days, houses were typically warmed in winter via an "open hearth" in the middle of the house’s main and only room. Bryson compares it to "having a permanent bonfire in the middle of the living room." Chimneys were …

Comments

Greener by design

Peter Calthorpe on why urbanism is the cheapest, smartest way to fight climate change

Peter Calthorpe.Cities may be the trendy topic du jour, but Peter Calthorpe has been talking about the benefits of urbanism since the 1970s. In 1993, he was one of the founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism, an influential national organization that promotes walkable, mixed-use, transit-rich development. Now Calthorpe has come out with a new book, Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change. In it, he argues that sustainable urban development must play a key role in the fight to reduce carbon emissions and counter climate change. He writes: Confronting climate change is a little like the war on …

Comments

Batteries included

California to green its grid with energy storage

With intermittent sources like wind and solar becoming more common, energy storage is increasingly seen as crucial for greening the grid.Photo: mike_tnIn just about every story on renewable energy, there's a familiar cast of characters: green power developers, utilities, and sundry state and federal regulators. But there's one key player that often lurks in the background -- the grid operator. In the Golden State, most of the power grid is controlled by the California Independent System Operator. Based in a suburb of Sacramento, Cal ISO, as it's known, essentially ensures that electricity supply and demand stay in balance to prevent …

Comments

Holes in our pockets

House Republican budget cuts would strangle innovation

This article was cross-posted from the Center for American Progress. President Barack Obama's State of the Union on Jan. 25, 2011, waved the green flag for innovation and competition in the cleantech sector. He proposed a number of programs to speed the development and manufacturing of domestic energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors to help American businesses race with their Chinese, German, and other competitors. But before the president's proposals had completed their initial laps in Congress, the Republicans' proposed House "continuing resolution" (or spending bill) for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 (FY 2011) waves the yellow caution flag …

Comments

New Contest for Exposing Polluter Lobbyists’ Influence

Are you a lobbyist for the coal industry, looking for the best way to meet members of Congress who will put your dirty energy money ahead of modern environmental standards and their constituents' health? Maybe the chairman of a powerful congressional committee, seeking yet another industry lobbyist to join your staff and help roll back the Clean Air Act, choosing polluters over children's health? Or a giant oil company who wants everyone to forget about that devastating oil spill and need some insiders to pull the strings in the halls of power? If so, then you need to check out Polluterharmony.com …

Comments

regulate my greenhouse-gas emissions, please!

Industry voices support EPA action on Clean Air Act

EPA standards can help business and drive innovation.Cross-posted from the World Resources Institute. This piece is written by senior associate James Bradbury. In the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, I moderated a panel featuring representatives from businesses and public interest organizations: Paul Allen, senior vice president for corporate affairs and chief environmental officer at Constellation Energy, Dan Greenbaum, president of the Health Effects Institute, Franz Litz, senior fellow at WRI, and Dick Munson, senior vice president of public affairs at Recycled Energy Development. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) opened the discussion. This group of "strange bedfellows" had one thing in common: a …

Comments

ray of hope

Keep the Solar Decathlon on the National Mall!

The Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in 2009.Photo: NREL Solar DecathlonThe National Mall has long served as the nation's front yard, a place where citizens can gather and display what's important to them -- whether it's a protest to end wars, a rally to restore sanity, or even a celebration of mid-Atlantic maritime communities. Every other year since 2002, the National Mall has played host to the Solar Decathlon, a building competition sponsored by the Department of Energy that puts 20 solar-powered homes designed by college students from around the globe on display for a two week long design …