Day: August 7, 2012

The Rebound Effect: Large or Small?

Download the document.

As the energy efficiency of products, homes, and businesses improves, it becomes less expensive to operate them. The rebound effect is a postulate that people increase their use of products and facilities as a result of this reduction in operating costs, thereby reducing the energy savings achieved.  Periodically over the years, some analysts raise questions about the rebound effect, arguing that it is a major factor that needs to be accounted for when analyzing energy efficiency programs.  This paper is written in “question and answer” format and is designed to summarize what we know, what we do not, and—given what we know—how large the rebound effect is likely to be.

We find that there are both direct and indirect rebound effects, but these tend to be modest.  Direct rebound effects are generally 10% or less.  Indirect rebound effects are less well understood but the best available estimate is somewhere around 11%.  These two types of rebound can be combined to estimate total rebound at about 20%.  We examined claims of “backfire” (100% rebound) and they do not stand up to scrutiny.

Overall, even if total rebound is about 20%, then 80% of the savings from energy efficiency programs and policies register in terms of reduced energy use.  And the 20% rebound contributes to increased consumer amenities (for example, more comfortable homes) as well as to a larger economy.  These savings are not “lost” but put to other generally beneficial uses.

Renewable Energy Under Siege In The USA

Read the full story at Energy Matters.

Renewable energy faces opposition from cashed-up fossil fuel supporters in Australia; but it’s nothing compared to what is going on in the USA at the moment.

While solar energy, wind power and other clean energy sources have always hit opposition in the USA, the smearing has hit new levels as the nation prepares to vote and crucial renewable energy support mechanisms are under review.

The Sierra Club has released a report revealing how the fossil fuel industry is using tactics such as financial contributions to political campaigns, fake think tanks and faux intellectuals to attack renewable energy in order to alter public opinion and the views of lawmakers…

The report, titled “Clean Energy Under Siege – Following the Money Trail Behind the Attack on Renewable Energy”, can be viewed in full here (PDF).

U.S. Military’s Big Plan For Renewable Energy Projects

Read the full story in Forbes.

The U.S. Department of Defense plans to open up 16 million acres of its land for renewable energy development, which it hopes will create a boom of solar, wind and geothermal projects and provide clean power to military bases, the department announced Monday.

Ernst & Young’s LED retrofit saves $1 million annually in electricity costs

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

Professional services company Ernst & Young has replaced the lights at its 32-floor, 650,000-square-foot headquarters in New York’s Times Square with LED technology — saving $1 million a year in the process.

The retrofit is one of the largest LED lighting retrofits yet in New York City. It will cut Ernst & Young’s lighting-related energy and maintenance costs in half.

Why ‘organic’ needs a re-brand

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

Organics most often cost more – sometimes significantly more. Is that fair?

Walking the energy beat: Cuffing carbon for smaller buildings

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

In the classic cine-crime series Dragnet, fast-talking Los Angeles detective Joe Friday is well known for the trademark line “Just the facts, ma’am.” In other words: “Let’s dispense with the distractions and get to the point.”

So it is with small and midsize enterprise energy-efficiency projects — theory turned to practice speaks louder than words. Projects are rendered in fact and this is the action in the neighborhood of great potential.

But walking the efficiency beat can be messy and complicated. It requires management; no one wants to pay for audits or analyses or anything else, for that matter. Decisions are not driven by the return on investment. Contractors are lax, contracts vague, incentive programs counter-productive. And projects can take longer than you think they should for a myriad of unfathomable reasons, not the least of which is “human factor.”

Landfills Are The Mines Of The Future

Read the full post at Co.Exist.

There are greater concentrations of precious metals in our e-waste than there are in the ground. And it’s a lot cheaper and cleaner to get things out of e-waste than starting a giant mining operation. Where would you rather get the materials for your next gadget?


How much is that ‘green’ label on your house worth?

Read the full story from Marketplace Sustainability.

During the real estate boom, developers touted granite countertops and hardwood floors as must-haves for the modern home owner. These days, they’re trumpeting their green credentials: Solar panels, triple glazed windows, recycled building materials. Potential buyers are often told they could save money over the long run by buying a “green home.”

But as Eve Troeh reports from the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, they’ll almost certainly end up paying more than they would for the regular home next door.

Building Owners Gain Confidence in Sustainable Design

Read the full story at GreenTechEnterprise.

Building owners are gaining confidence in the long-term benefits of sustainable design and showing more willingness to invest in innovative measures to achieve energy efficient goals.

The town of Greensburg, Kansas’ decision to rebuild green after a tornado destroyed 95 percent of the small town in 2007 is a dramatic example. Five years after the violent event, the town is now saving $200,000 in annual energy costs for thirteen buildings, according to the Department of Energy.

The DOE publication referenced in the above article is Rebuilding It Better: Greensburg, Kansas
High Performance Buildings Meeting Energy Savings Goals, published in April 2012.

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