This week in GreenTech news:
Lighting Labels and LED Confusion
Lighting Facts labels to take effect in January 2012 are about to change the way consumers shop for lighting—especially when purchasing energy-efficient LEDs to replace those old incandescents. But will they learn to shop for lumens (brightness) instead of watts? We still recommend—highly—that electronics installation firms become LED experts. LED lamps are pieces of electronics, and there will remain tremendous confusion about what LEDs to buy for a home, dimming them, which work with what lighting control systems, etc. You may not make a lot of money on replacing LEDs for your clients, but they could get you into homes and businesses for repeat visits.
$4 Billion in Energy Efficiency Upgrades for Buildings
The federal government and private sector are moving forward with energy efficiency upgrades to a broad swath of public and private sector buildings. By using Energy Savings Performance Contracts, private companies will carry out $2 billion of improvements to federal facilities and will be paid back over time with the money saved due to lower energy use in those buildings. Sixty CEOs, mayors, university presidents and labor leaders also are investing $2 billion to make 1.6 billion square feet of their buildings more energy-efficient, reports the Alliance to Save Energy.
Want in on government green opportunities? Read Selling Green to the Government.
Enterprise Energy Management Software Leaders
What software applications best help enterprises get a handle on their energy consumption and on their environmental impact? The Green Quadrant Energy Management Software 2011 report from Verdantix identifies CA Technologies, CarbonSystems, IBM and Verisae as the leaders among 15 companies listed in the report. Support for a wide range of meters and other sensor and control devices, a good representation of customers, relationships with technology integrators and domain expertise set these companies apart, reports ZDNet.
Smartphone Apps for Energy Efficiency
We love our smartphones. And they can be used to save energy and money. The Alliance to Save Energy highlights the Top 5 Energy Efficiency Smartphone Apps, plus a bunch more—to help find energy-efficient lighting, improve your fuel economy and use energy-saving devices like the cool Nest thermostat and EnergyHub power strips. We’ve only just begun to see the smartphone as the preferred tool for home energy efficiency. Big service providers like ADT, Comcast, Verizon and others already tout smartphone connectivity to turn off lights and adjust wireless thermostats. This is only going to get better and more prevalent.
LG to Cut Emissions by 50 percent
Great to see that electronics behemoth LG has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by the end of 2020. The company plans to cut its energy consumption by:
- Expanding and enhancing energy management systems and technology.
- Purchasing electricity from green power sources.
- Increasing computing efficiency in data centers and desktop/laptop computers.
- Improving facility energy efficiency through HVAC and lighting technologies.
- Identifying and implementing emerging technologies as they become commercially available and/or viable.
- Using Energy Star equipment and building materials.
- Working with retail partners to help achieve the goal.
- Optimizing office space.
- Engaging employees to drive change.
The company is also embarking on a public education campaign to help empower consumers to make informed choices about their electronics and appliance purchases.
LG was recently criticized in Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics as having weak emissions reduction targets, but has shown itself to be a leader in green technologies and energy efficiency, both with its array of Energy Star-rated products and corporate sustainability practices.
What’s even better to see is that we appear to be entering a phase of true corporate sustainability (not just greenwashing.) Not only is it good for a public image, it’s great for the bottom line.
The Cloud and Energy Management
A Yankee Group webinar titled 2012: The Year of Living Dangerously makes eight predictions for the mobility market for the next “year of instability,” as Yankee senior analyst Jason Armitage described it. One of the predictions that may have a direct bearing on energy efficiency and energy management: Personal clouds will hit prosumers’ (hybrid consumer/business customers) radar. Yankee predicts that 17 percent of those with three devices will adopt personal cloud services in next year, and that cloud consuming will eventually migrate to more mainstream consumers. Companies like Apple (iCloud), Google and services like Dropbox stand to benefit most.
What does this mean for energy management—in homes and businesses? A lot of energy monitoring data is already web-based, and GreenTech Advocates believes we will see more and more energy management via SaaS (software as a service)—even in smart meter-free grid applications.
Tax Credits for Efficient Water Heaters
GreenBuilding Community reminds homeowners that they can still benefit from a $300 federal tax rebate for gas tankless and heat pump water heaters, as well as a tax credit for 30 percent of the installed cost of solar thermal. Many states offer additional incentives for these technologies (see also DSIREUSA.org)