Posts Tagged ‘Rocky Mountain Institute’

Speaking of natural gas, the “fracking” debate heats up. Where is efficiency in the conversation?

September 14, 2010

As reported in the Christian Science Monitor, the debate over hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”, is a hot one, coming to a head at EPA hearings in New York.  The article is worth a read, and points again to a broarder issue.  There is no free lunch when it comes to energy.  And generating electricity or heating our homes come at a real cost.  Some we pay directly on our utility bills.  Others we pay indirectly, on on tax bill, with government subsidies, tax breaks and such, and with increased costs in other arenas such as reduced water quality and other environmental damage that we wind up footing the bill for later.

And yet our energy policy and our energy practices pay way too little attention to energy efficiency.  The McKinsey report indicated that investing in efficiency could SAVE the country half a trillion dollars.  Amory Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute have been banging the drum for years (and saving some of their corporate clients millions in energy costs).  Linc Services is saving Massanutten Academy almost $7 million.  And we know our customers have been saving a lot in homes.  But it’s time a lot more people got on board with the common sense approach of energy efficiency first.  As we make reduce our energy needs, solving the energy problem gets a lot easier.

Thanks,
Mike

Rocky Mountain Institute’s “Reinventing Fire”

May 25, 2010

Amory Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute present its business driven iniative “Reinventing Fire” to wean the U.S. off fossil fuel by 2050.  Why?  Because it makes sense!   They’ve put up a splash video introduction.  Of course, I key in on the building retrofit portion.  While they talk about the Empire State Building, the same principles apply at smaller scale in residential buildings, from single family homes to larger multifamily buildings.  Energy-efficiency.  Renewable energy.  The more you save, the more money you have left for your kids’ college education, and for a cold beer on a hot day.  So much room for improvement means a big opportunity to improve!

Thanks,
Mike

Amory Lovins Makes Sense!

March 9, 2009

Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, the man who 30 years ago inspired me to move into energy-efficiency, makes just as much sense today.  And his arguments seem more powerful and urgent than ever.  Check out this brief interview in the WSJ.  [Thanks to Larry Zarker of BPI for pointing it out!]

Thanks,
Mike

Making sense (and cents) of Climate Change

September 4, 2008

Last night, I reread a piece on Climate Change by Amory Lovins from more than a decade ago.  It provides an excellent discussion not so much about the science of climate change, but why energy-efficiency makes sense in it’s own right.  He concludes the long discussion by dispelling some myths.  A few were particularly striking:

 

• It’s about climate science. No; it doesn’t matter what the climate science says, or even whether it’s right, because we ought to be purchasing energy efficiency anyway just to save money.

 

• It’s about who should bear the costs. What costs? The interesting question is who should get the profits. That’s a good thing to compete about in the marketplace, but it shouldn’t require difficult negotiations.161 The “polluter pays principle”—OECD doctrine since 1974—remains valid, but this time the polluter can profit.

 

• It’s about sharing sacrifices for the common good. On the contrary, it’s about helping individuals, firms, and nations to behave in their economic self-interest.

 

• It’s about “cutting back,” shifting to a lifestyle of privation and discomfort—as the Chairman of Chrysler Corporation recently put it, “dimming the lights, turning off the air conditioning, sacrificing some of our industrial competitiveness and curtailing economic growth.”  No; it’s about living even better with less cost, by using smarter technologies that yield the same or better service. The showers will be as hot and tingly as now, the beer as cold, the rooms as well-lit, the homes as cozy in winter and as cool in summer, the cars as peppy, safe, and comfortable; but we’ll have substituted brains for therms and design for dollars.

 

Exactly!  We can have cold beer and hot showers. (I’m a fan of both!)  But we can do it wisely by eliminating waste.  By eliminating waste, we can do it more cheaply, keeping money in our pockets, in the college fund, or in investments, rather than throwing it up the chimney.  Energy-efficiency is just good home economics.

 

-Mike


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