It is estimated that 40% of US power consumption is attributed to buildings, and companies large and small are focusing on ways to reduce wasted energy in the places we live and work. With technological advances come new options for streamlining energy efficiency programs.
“You have to look at a building as an organism that needs to be monitored consistently because conditions change – like weather or occupancy. A building is a dynamic entity, you can’t just build it and walk away,” Dave Bartlett, Vice President of IBM Smart Buildings recently told Breaking Energy. Keep reading →
Ridership on the nation’s trains and buses hit one of the highest levels in decades, with officials crediting high gas prices, a stronger economy and new technology that makes riding public transit easier. In 2011, Americans took 10.4 billion trips on mass transit — which includes buses, trains, street cars and ferries, according to the American Public Transportation Association. That’s a 2.3% increase over 2010 and just shy of the number of trips in 2008, when gasoline spiked to a record national average of $4.11 a gallon. “As people get jobs and go back to work, they get on mass transit more,” said Michael Melaniphy, president of APTA. “And then when people look at gas prices, they really get on transit more.”
In his January 23 State of the Union address, President Obama emphatically pointed out that it was public research dollars that helped develop the technologies to extract natural gas from shale rock, “reminding us that government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground.”
Presumably, the President also understands that it is a two-way street. While public investment has created mutually beneficial opportunities for private companies, private companies should closely partner with the public sector whenever opportunities for their participation present themselves. Keep reading →
I work in the basement of my senior year dormitory. This is a lot cooler than it sounds, though – just a few months after graduating from Columbia last spring in Environmental Engineering, I found myself working for a small energy consulting firm that counts my Alma Mater as one of its clients. Before heading back to graduate school to study policy next fall, I am spending time working to better understand real world operational structures and logistical constraints of addressing energy challenges. My job with a small energy consulting firm allows me to see the impact of New York energy policies on our clients’ operations and decision-making processes.
One policy, or rather set of policies, stands out: Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC, in particular the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan. In my experience dealing with the energy portfolios of Columbia and our other clients (mostly hospitals) I see it succeeding for a few reasons – 1) that its requirements are ambitious, yet both achievable and desirable 2) it spurs innovation and creates new opportunities for self-sustaining growth, and 3) it is part of a broader, long-term vision for sustainability in NYC. Emphasizing a strong impact on building energy use is essential given that buildings are responsible for 75% of energy use in the city. Keep reading →
A project to measure the carbon footprint of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, may lead to tougher greenhouse-gas reporting standards for “mega cities” such as London and Rio de Janeiro.
A research team, led by Silicon Valley technology firm Picarro, installed monitors in Davos and on a nearby mountainside to measure the carbon emissions tied to the annual gathering of high-powered government and corporate officials. But weeks before the WEF began Jan. 25, emissions were already 35% higher than expected, Picarro says. Keep reading →
Cities have always set the pace for human progress. From the Greek polis and medieval cities to contemporary megacities like Mexico City, Shanghai and New York, cities have traditionally been the center of art and culture, trade and industry, science and technology. Some 50 percent of global economic output is generated in the world’s 600 biggest cities alone. Yet the negative effects of progress have also been most evident in cities: noise, over-crowding, environmental pollution and traffic congestion.
In the past cities were the exceptional oases of human civilization. Today they are the norm. Two hundred years ago, only three percent of the world’s population lived in cities. Today the total has grown to over half, and the trend is accelerating. Urban problems have also kept pace with this growth. Cities now produce 80 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and consume 75 percent of all energy produced. Keep reading →
What if technology could tell you things you never knew?
IBM’s newest System Dynamics for Smarter Cities will use digital analytics software to predict the long-term outcomes of government policies and assess potential cascading and unexpected impacts. Portland city Mayor Sam Adams was the first to jump on the opportunity and will begin using the data for policy making, he announced to the city on Monday. Keep reading →
The Siemens Green City Index has highlighted some of the most creative city-led initiatives to reduce consumption of energy and electricity, green city spaces, and change the way consumers think about energy.
This video shows some of the country’s major cities in action as they work to limit energy use and promote efficiency. Keep reading →
New Yorkers are not widely known for their shyness in making suggestions. Now the city’s leadership is encouraging them to take their ideas to the internet.
Change by Us NYC is New York City’s latest attempt to encourage energy efficiency innovation. Initiated by CEOs for Cities, a think tank for urban leaders, the Change by Us website combines the messaging tools of social media with the concept of a new energy economy to create a new model for the traditional town hall meeting. Keep reading →
Development of a new urban strategy is part of the World Bank’s new energy strategy as well as its performance review for this year.
The institution worried that the sheer number of requests coming from the bank on its variety of strategic updates would overburden its own staff as well as stakeholders, but in an effort to create a truly interlinked strategy the funding organization has decided to move ahead. Working with energy firms and the urban sector to be sure they leverage data and strategy synergies will be a major part of that effort, Evans said. Keep reading →