Author Archives: EDF Blogs

Three Ways to Boost Energy Efficiency after the “Low-Hanging Fruit” has been Picked

By: Lana Zaman, graduate student at UC Berkeley

2014berkeleyfellowsCompanies today are increasingly investing in energy efficiency upgrades, both to conserve energy and to reduce operating costs. By lowering greenhouse gas emissions and fuel expenses, energy efficiency benefits the economy as well as the environment in the face of climate change. Being from Bangladesh, a country that is on a trajectory to become completely submerged as sea levels rise, climate change is an important issue to me and is largely the reason why I joined EDF Climate Corps.

Before I began my fellowship, I asked myself: When there exists a seemingly obvious solution to current energy challenges, why aren’t more companies investing in these solutions? What is holding the private sector back from pursuing initiatives that not only save the company money, but can also contribute to mitigating climate change? Read More »

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Companies Turn to Technology to Engage Consumers in Smart Energy Management

By: Claire Dooley, student at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

claire_dooley_blog_0Most of us in America would argue that affordable and reliable energy access is a basic life necessity, possibly even a basic human right. However, JD Power & Associates recently reported that only 3% of consumers are actually reviewing their energy usage more than once a month. Interaction with this commodity is almost entirely passive. Utilities do whatever it is they do to keep the electrons flowing, and we pay the bill.

With all of the public attention that energy’s impact on climate change has received in recent months—including IPCC findings that human-induced global warming is unequivocal and a new EPA regulation on coal-fired power plants—consumer awareness and interest in curbing our reliance on dirty energy is on the rise. Concurrently, the massive influx of residential clean energy technologies is providing unprecedented opportunity for the public to participate in climate change solutions. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Storage, Smart Grid| Leave a comment

Clean Energy Conferences Roundup: October 2014

Source National Retail Federation FlickrEach month, the Energy Exchange rounds up a list of top clean energy conferences around the country. Our list includes conferences at which experts from the EDF Clean Energy Program will be speaking, plus additional events that we think our readers may benefit from marking on their calendars.

Top clean energy conferences featuring EDF experts in October:

Oct 2: 2014 Energy Competition Symposium, Columbus, OH
Speaker: Cheryl Roberto, Associate Vice President, Clean Energy

  • The future of competitive retail and wholesale energy markets, product innovations for retail customers, and improving the shopping experience for consumers are among the larger themes to be explored at the Retail Energy Supply Association’s 2014 Energy Competition Symposium, a half-day event exploring the leading issues affecting retail energy competition nationally.

Oct 6-7: 2014 Utility Environmental Benchmarking Forum, Charlotte, NC
Speaker: Cheryl Roberto, Associate Vice President, Clean Energy

  • Since 2010, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has hosted the Forum which has provided a platform for the electric utility industry to benchmark their performance on environmental metrics. Now, TVA and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) are teaming up to ensure the Environmental Benchmarking Forum will continue for years to come. Discussion topics include environmental performance measures and data, lessons learned from leading utility companies and energy providers, and sustainability programs, profitability, and effective implementation. Read More »

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The Business-Policy Nexus: The Next Frontier for Corporate Sustainability Leadership

By: Tom Murray, Vice President, Corporate Partnerships Program

As we approach the 25-year anniversary of EDF’s work with the corporate sector, it’s an opportune time to reflect on our successes and plan for the work ahead.

 

Corporate Leadership graph v3

Over the years we have worked with McDonalds, Walmart, FedEx, KKR and many others to integrate sustainability into their operations, strategy, and supply chain management.  Together, we have kick-started market transformations in sectors including fast food, shipping, retail, private equity and commercial building energy efficiency.  While we’ve made great strides, there remains a huge distance to go in order to fully protect our natural resources, clean up our dirty energy system, and turn the corner on global greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Looking ahead, the opportunity and need for more aggressive private sector leadership has never been greater.  Moving from environmental progress today to full scale solutions tomorrow will require a new type of corporate leadership. This next step will require a willingness to align corporate sustainability operations, strategy AND policy. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Renewable Energy| 1 Response

Changing Light Bulbs Can Mean a Wealth of Energy Savings

By: Karunakaren MH, student at the Thunderbird School of Global Management

edfcc - led light bulbsA few months ago, I traveled halfway across the world from the bright, hot tropical beaches of south-east Asia into a gloomy, chilly Chicago summer to begin my journey as an EDF Climate Corps fellow. A week before I started at Associated Materials, a thunderstorm flooded the entire ground floor of the corporate office, and the place needed to be completely restored. What a cliché! Because of how quickly they recovered, I arrived at the office knowing that its resilience to adversity and commitment to energy efficiency goals would mean I had a great summer ahead of me.

Associated Materials (AMI) is a vertically integrated company in the exterior building products industry with 11 manufacturing locations and over 120 distribution centers catering to the North American market. It spends about $15 million annually on energy utilities and, this summer, hired two EDF Climate Corp fellows to look for opportunities to reduce energy costs. I worked on the manufacturing locations and my colleague, Vinnakota Krishna, looked at the supply centers. Read More »

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Clean Energy Conferences Roundup: September 2014

Source: National Retail Federation Flickr

Source: National Retail Federation Flickr

Each month, the Energy Exchange rounds up a list of top clean energy conferences around the country. Our list includes conferences at which experts from the EDF Clean Energy Program will be speaking, plus additional events that we think our readers may benefit from marking on their calendars.

Top clean energy conferences featuring EDF experts in September:

Sept 4-5: Energy Policy Research Conference, San Francisco, CA
Speaker: Jamie Fine, Senior Economist

  • Energy Policy Institute's (EPI) 4th Annual Energy Policy Research Conference (EPRC) is the premier energy policy research conference held in the Western United States. EPI is thrilled to welcome Dr. Steven Chu as the Keynote Speaker for the event! This conference is for you if you are seeking to present or discuss energy policy research with participants and panelists from academia, think-tanks and research institutes, NGOs, national laboratories, industry, and government. Read More »

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The Solution to Accurate Energy Data May Be Closer Than We Think

By: Karan Gupta, student at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment

karan guptaAs Lord Kelvin famously said, "If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it." Here at 77 West Wacker, despite extensive metering relative to comparable buildings, we have found a lack of visibility into energy consumption data is one of the greatest barriers to implementing energy conservation measures (ECMs).

The need for detailed energy consumption data

Ideally, building equipment and tenants should be sub-metered. It might be overkill to meter every individual piece of equipment, but if all supply fans, or all water pumps, or all chillers were grouped on a single meter, understanding building behavior would be greatly simplified. Tenants, on the other hand, are sub-metered. The issue is that building management and operations do not always have access to that data because tenant consent is required to view tenant usage data. Unfortunately, a consent form does not exist in our service area to allow that. The way tenants are currently billed assumes equal energy use on a square footage basis, and therefore, does nothing to promote energy efficiency. Knowing exactly how many kilowatt-hours are used by each tenant each month would allow building management to accurately bill those tenants, thereby incentivizing conservation on their part to reduce operating costs. As building managers around the country are charged with making their buildings more efficient, they will need the tools to do so. Read More »

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Blown Away by Wind Power in Denmark, a Model for Clean Energy

The view when you fly into Copenhagen, Denmark.

The view when you fly into Copenhagen, Denmark.

By: Sam Parry, director of online membership and activism

I look out the window of the crowded Scandinavian Airlines plane – bleary-eyed after a sleepless, 8-hour flight – as it makes its final approach to the Copenhagen airport one recent morning.

The first thing I see are the wind turbines that hug the coast, spinning steadily like white jewels against the blue water. For a moment I wonder if I’m hallucinating.

What are wind turbines doing so close to civilization and adjacent to Denmark’s main airport?

Back in the United States, I have to travel far beyond my Washington suburb to spot any signs of wind energy. In Denmark, it’s ever-present.

You can’t drive more than a few kilometers on the country’s flat roads without seeing a turbine. They are fully integrated into society and part of the landscape everywhere.

And that’s not by accident. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Renewable Energy| Tagged | 1 Response, comments now closed

Can I Do This Again Next Year Please? My Fellowship at Fort Bragg

fortbragg

By: Farris Galyon, Climate Corps Fellow

I do not want to brag, but the U.S. Army engagement at Fort Bragg is the best in EDF Climate Corps. I apologize for the bombastic tone of this statement; however, when I consider the opportunities afforded to me during my time here, it is hard for me to imagine a comparable experience anywhere else. I base my assertion on three particular characteristics of this engagement: 1) the unlimited learning opportunity, 2) the opportunity to add value in multiple areas and 3) the opportunity to meet high profile and multi-talented individuals.

Unlimited Learning Opportunity

Upon my arrival to the energy office at Fort Bragg, I met a team of nine individuals comprised of several engineers with 25-40 years of experience, a former employee of a private utilities company and a dual master’s degree holder currently pursuing her M.S. in global energy management. Suffice it to say, I was the least experienced person in the room. It did not take long for me to realize that my ability to identify efficiency/conservation opportunities they had not already considered was limited. My first response to this reality was to be disconcerted; how would I fulfill my obligation to EDF and the Army without possessing any experiential or academic advantage over this exceptional team? Fortunately for me, this fact would prove beneficial to me rather than detrimental. While the overview offered during EDF Climate Corps training was informative, my full immersion into this work environment proved to be downright educational. Thanks to the energy team’s expertise, I was presented with superb demonstrations on evaluating energy project viability. It was this team’s willingness and ability to teach that presented me with my chance to add value. Read More »

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Why Support the Clean Power Plan? Testimony from the EPA hearings

Image of the DC rally outside the EPA hearings. Photo by Heather Shelby.

Image of the DC rally outside the EPA hearings. Photo by Heather Shelby.

By: Dan Upham, writer and editor

Across the country this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held public hearings to solicit comments about its Clean Power Plan, which will put the first-ever national limits on the amount of climate pollution that can be emitted by power plants. EDF’s president, a senior attorney, and a clean energy specialist were among the hundreds of Americans who testified in support of the Plan. As these selections from EDF staff testimonies illustrate, the Plan offers moderate, flexible, and necessary measures to address climate change at the federal and state levels.

It’s necessary: The climate is changing across the U.S.

“The stakes are high in Colorado as hotter temperatures, reduced winter snowpacks, and more frequent droughts are expected to decrease Colorado River streamflows.

Our treasured Rocky Mountain ecosystems are especially susceptible to climate change impacts, and high elevations have already experienced temperature increases at rates three times the global average.

Increased warming, drought, and insect outbreaks have increased wildfires and impacts to people and ecosystems throughout the West.” – Graham McCahan, a senior attorney with EDF’s U.S. Climate and Air legal team.

“The Southeast is the region expected to be the most affected by increasing temperatures. Extremely hot days – 95°F or above – could cause a decrease in labor productivity by 3.2% in the construction, mining, utilities, transportation, and agricultural sectors. Extreme heat also is projected to cause 11,000 to 36,000 more deaths each year.” – Greg Andeck, EDF’s North Carolina senior manager, Clean Energy.

“The bottom line is that we cannot continue down the path of unlimited pollution.” – Fred Krupp, EDF’s president. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Climate| Tagged | 3 Responses, comments now closed