“Free Energy Life” Offered in Sustainable, Luxury Tower

by Mary-Catherine Riley

Would you like to live in the lap of luxury in a flat northwest of London that provides excellent amenities and still feel like you are living sustainably? Excellent, so would I! For a starting price of £200,000, you too can live in the Beacon, “the world’s most sustainable luxury tower.”

The vision of the Beacon is to reinvent the modern lifestyle while incorporating the most technologically advanced sustainability practices. The Beacon integrates a multitude of renewable energy sources to offer a “free energy life” (http://www.edie.net/news/6/Hemel-Hempstead-set-to-welcome–world-s-most-sustainable-residential-tower-/). The Beacon incorporates underfloor heating, heat recovery ventilation and geothermal heating to regulate the temperature of the building as well as smart thermostats to use that energy efficiently. The windows are three glazed and provide the best noise and heat insulation. The Beacon lowers the energy bill by using the power created by their 0.8 MW solar array. Furthermore, they have adapted motion sensitive LED light to provide the most efficient lighting. Continue reading

Call for a Holistic Understanding of Energy Consumption in Urban Cities

by Alejandra Chávez

The article begins by explaining that 80 percent of the world’s total energy production is consumed by urban areas, which are expanding and becoming increasingly complex. The largest energy-consuming areas are residential and commercial buildings, which are plentiful in urban areas and account for about one-third of the world’s total energy consumption. Although energy efficiency initiatives and renewable energy investments are often common in residential and urban buildings —mainly for economic reasons— the authors stress that a “holistic” understanding of all the factors that influence consumption rates must be developed. Continue reading

Companies Commit to Clean Energy

by Sharon Ha

Companies are beginning to show increased interest in investment and implementation of clean energy. The RE100 initiative, which encourages companies to go 100% renewable, currently has 56 businesses signed up and continues to grow. Many of these companies are influential and established brands, such as Ikea, Adobe, and Coca- Cola Enterprises. Furthermore, Intel recently constructed the largest corporate solar carport in the US at its Folsom, California campus. The solar carport will be able to meet over 50% of the campus’s energy needs. Additionally, Google, Apple, and more than 20 other companies have signed contracts to supply their respective headquarters with clean energy. However, there is still a long way to go to ensure that clean energy is sustainable and profitable for businesses. In this GreenBiz article, reporter Heather Clancy outlines three different ways that companies can best utilize renewable energy. Continue reading

The Jagpod: A Solar Powered Shipping Container Home

by Dion Boyd

An interesting article on the Clean Technica website posted by Jake Richardson on March 15th, discusses the Jagpod, the World’s first energy-efficient tiny home that uses recycled shipping containers and solar panels to provide affordable and sustainable housing. [https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-jagpod-solar-powered-shipping-container-home–2#/] The Jagpod was created by founder of Jaguar Containers, William Coit, who after spending three months in West Ghana realized that many villages do not have sustainable housing. As of now, the Jagpod comes in two standard types, a 20 ft. and a 40 ft. unit. The 20 ft. unit has 144 square feet of living space and starts at a price around $30,000 whereas the 40 ft. unit has 300 square feet and starts at about $60,000. Because of smaller size, the 20-foot pods are much easier to transport but the larger unit satisfies the needs of people who would prefer more space over ease of transportation. William Coit was not the first person to create a home out of a shipping container, but what he is a front runner for is providing energy for these homes through solar power. Each type of container includes 2 to 4 235 Watt solar panels with a 27-volt battery tank to diminish the unpredictability of off the grid energy. Continue reading

New MIT Database Aims to Impact City of Boston’s Energy Policy

by Kevin Tidmarsh

A new project created by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology might just put Boston on the way to becoming a more energy-efficient city. The tool, which can estimate the gas and electricity demand of each of the roughly 100,000 buildings in the city for every hour of every day of the year, was developed by researchers at MIT’s Sustainable Design Lab and Lincoln Laboratory, along with members of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and aims to provide a comprehensive database of the city’s buildings and their energy and heat usage that can be provided to energy policy makers. Continue reading

Cities and District Energy

by Judy Li

As part of a special National Geographic series on energy issues, Christina Nunez published an interesting piece about district energy, the distribution of thermal energy through a network of underground pipes to heat and cool a group of buildings, and how it is being harnessed for sustainable energy development. District energy is widely used and has a long history; many cities around the world have extensive subterranean systems built decades ago. Continue reading

Berkeley National Laboratory Scientists Inventing Paint-on Retrofit for Energy Efficient Windows

by Erin Larsen

The US Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers are in the process of developing a paint-on coating for windows to increase energy efficiency. It is estimated that 10 percent of aggregate energy consumption in buildings in the US is due to window performance. Warm and southern climates are particularly impacted because a significant fraction of energy usage goes to air conditioning. This inefficiency costs building owners about $50 billion annually. While window replacement or other commercially available retrofits would resolve this problem, the high cost of these options is prohibiting. Berkeley Lab’s polymer heat-reflective coating that can be painted on would be $1.50 per square foot, one-tenth the current market for commercially installed energy efficient retrofit window coatings. Continue reading

The role of the Indian Government in increasing the country’s energy efficiency

by Tashi Mitra

India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and its cities are extremely polluted. While the energy consumption is lower than the global per capita norms, it is increasing rapidly. The Indian Government has a complex problem to solve – how does it fuel economic growth, which will consume much more energy whilst driving energy efficiency and sustainability. This post primarily focuses on the Indian Government’s approach towards increasing energy efficiency and its initiatives addressing climate change. The Indian Government has put together various nodal agencies: National Mission for Enhancing Energy Efficiency. Continue reading

Justice Scalia’s Death May Have Implications on US Clean Energy Plan

by Max Breitbarth

The Supreme Court lost its longest-tenured justice this February as Antonin Scalia, one of the most conservative justices in recent memory and a jurist best known for his engaging originalist decisions and dissents, passed away at the age of 79 at a West Texas Ranch. His passing may have huge ramifications for President Obama’s proposed Clean Power Plan, writes Eric Wolff in a February 2016 Politico article. Continue reading

M&V 2.0 is Enabling a Negawatt Market

by Woodson Powell

California’s Senate Bill 350 (SB-350), passed in 2015, sets state targets of a 50% increase in building energy efficiency and 50% of electricity generated by renewables, both by 2030 [http://www.efficiency.org/negawatt-blog/new-california-laws-are-a-needed-paradigm-shift-for-energy-efficiency]. Most interestingly though, SB-350 proposes tracking efficiency by meter-based savings and authorizing pay-for-performance programs that are coupled with incentives for those savings. These changes are known as Measurement and Verification (M&V) 2.0, as first noted in 2014 [http://www.elp.com/Electric-Light-Power-Newsletter/articles/2014/02/em-v-2-0-new-tools-for-measuring-energy-efficiency-program-savings.html]. Using interval data, project savings determined from measured performance provide the ability to accurately value the benefits of energy efficiency, as opposed to the previous practice of using monthly utility data, which make it less clear to do a cause and effect analysis. For example, hour-to-hour measurements are much more informative, because it is easier to deduce what factors impacted energy savings during that interval. This change has created what is called a “Negawatt” market. Continue reading