When it comes to saving energy, it’s really not all about the money

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

recent psychological study has provided suggestive evidence that when people decide to take steps to use less energy at home, and so to protect the environment, they don’t merely do so because they want to save a little bit of cash on their electricity bills. If anything, it suggests, some forms of materialistic or competitive thinking may inhibit deep or long-lasting conservation attitudes.

 

Industry emissions down, transportation up

Read the full story at Phys.org.

While industry in the U.S. has made solid strides in reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the past 25 years, the transportation sector has increased its carbon footprint, say University of Michigan researchers.

USDA to Help 821 Rural Small Businesses Boost Renewable Energy Use, Save on Energy Costs

Read the full story from the USDA.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding for 821 projects across the nation that will help rural small businesses and agricultural producers reduce energy usage and costs in their operations. The funding is available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and will be used to make energy efficiency improvements and install renewable energy systems.

Is Burning Trees Still Green? Some Experts Now Question Biomass

Read the full story from NPR.

Although biomass produced more than twice as much electrical energy last year than solar panels, it still makes up less than two percent of electricity generation overall. Most electricity generated comes from fossil fuels. And now, some scientists and environmentalists are challenging the “renewability” of biomass.

Energy-water nexus issues heighten in the face of climate change

Read the full story from ACEEE.

ACEEE and many others have noted the importance of the nexus between energy and water issues. Energy is used to move, treat, and heat water. Water is vital for producing energy, such as for cooling electric generating plants. Insufficient water availability can increase energy use for pumping and decrease energy production. Flooding can damage both energy and water systems. And there are many opportunities to promote both energy and water efficiency at the same time. Next month we will release a fact sheet on our work on the energy-water nexus and how both energy and water efficiency play critical roles. But first, I want to explore how the relationship between energy and water may evolve in future years, particularly in response to climate change.

Mother Earth’s Secret Weapon: Girl Scouts

Read the full story in Pacific Standard.

There are many simple things we can all do to save energy, but few of us bother to ever learn about them, let alone change our behavior. Fortunately, new research points to a potent secret weapon in the battle to get people to act more responsibly: their nine- and 10-year-old girls.

According to a study in the journal Nature Energy, a program in which Girl Scouts were taught how to save energy at home had lasting results, changing the behavior of both the young ladies and their parents. What’s more, many of these new habits remained seven to eight months following the training.

This New Material Could Help Produce Cheap Hydrogen From Water

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen isn’t that hard, but it is expensive, in part due to the precious metals needed for the catalyzers used in the process. A new method, which uses cheap electrocatalysts to do the job, could make hydrogen fuel a practical alternative to fossil fuels.

A team from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, led by Professor Licheng Sun, has discovered a new material that can be used as a catalyst for water splitting. This nickel and vanadium-based material is way more efficient than other non-precious metal catalysts, according to the researchers. A paper detailing the process has just been published in the journal Nature.