Data Collection and Analysis for the Regional Indicators Initiative
i.e. sat down with LHB's Rick Carter to learn more about data collection strategies and underlying assumptions of the Regional Indicators Initiative and how other regions could track metrics for sustainability.
Reflections on LIGHTFAIR
How do the newest lighting technologies perform off the showroom floor, and in which applications could they save money and energy? Staff from CEE's One-Stop Efficiency Shop® explain the implications of the trends at this year's LIGHTFAIR.
The Energy Challenge'D: Crowdsourcing for Energy Efficiency
Several recent projects have demonstrated how online crowdsourcing can solve problems, share resources, and spread enthusiasm. So... could we use crowdsourcing to gather energy data or encourage efficiency?
Learning from Public Health about Behavior Change
For those of us trying to influence public energy consumption, we need to answer the question: “what makes public health campaigns successful in changing behaviors?”
State Conservation Applied Research and Development Grants to Fund Upcoming Efficiency Research
The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources awarded CEE five CARD grants for projects to investigate new technologies with the potential to further energy efficiency, reducing environmental impact and keeping energy rates low for all Minnesotans.
How to Benchmark Your Buildings
Benchmarking compares the energy performance of one building to a set of other similar buildings. It does not save energy directly, but can give you an idea if behavior change or technological investments could impact your building's performance.
Reflections on "The China Dream"
Could equating the good life with relationships, opportunities, and health reduce consumption and lower overall energy demand? We review an Ensia Live lecture by Peggy Liu about reframing the idea of prosperity for China’s middle class.
The Regional Indicators Initiative: Metrics to Promote Sustainability
This guest post from LHB's Rick Carter describes tracking the progress of the Minnesota GreenStep Cities Program and outlines key findings so far.
Graphics Best Practices
Like good writing, good visual storytelling requires time and critical thinking. But once you’ve identified the “message” in your data and defined a target audience, you can take advantage of well-tested methods in graphic communication.
Reflections on BuildingEnergy 2013
BuildingEnergy is an annual interdisciplinary renewable energy and high-performance building conference and trade show. Highlights included case studies from resilient cities, electric grid security, and a discussion of LEED standards for neighborhood development.
Building Automation System Overview
It takes ingenuity to control mechanical equipment optimally. Building automation systems are a key component in assuring that mechanical equipment is operating properly and identfying which energy saving measures to take.
New Report Assesses Health Risks of Secondhand Smoke in Hospitality Venues
Study based on data from CEE’s exposure measurements suggests that we can attribute a significant number of lung cancer and heart disease deaths and new asthma cases to secondhand smoke exposure in restaurants and bars.
Retrofit for Resilience: Cities
What happens when building scientists learn strategies and best practices from urban planning?
Reflections on the 2013 Midwest Energy Efficiency Solutions Conference
Bridget McLaughin and Nancy Lange describe topics and trends at this year's conference, from quantifing non-energy benefits to identifying the potential for improving efficiency in the industrial sector.
SkyView Data Mapping
Maps are a classic information design strategy for communicating data with geographical attributes.
One-Stop Efficiency Shop® Customer Profile
When the energy community talks about the “small commercial” sector, we lump together a huge assortment of businesses.
> 1,000 Words: Prezi
Not every energy story fits neatly into a single image, slide deck, or video. So we were delighted to discover Prezi, an online tool to construct non-linear presentations with our multimedia content.
Advances in Spray Foam
Senior Building Analyst Jim Fitzgerald explains the latest technological and regulatory trends.
BuffaLove! Historic Preservation and Energy Efficiency
"The greenest building is the one that is still standing."
An interview with Bernice Radle, Program Coordinator at Buffalo Energy.
Indoor Air Quality and Energy Efficiency: Part 2
i.e interviewed Director of Research Martha Hewett and Director of Indoor Air Quality Dave Bohac to learn how their projects on secondhand smoke overlap with CEE's building science research.
Indoor Air Quality and Energy Efficiency: Part 1
Building science research has implications outside the energy world. To protect building occupants, consideration of energy efficiency and indoor air quality should go hand in hand. To get a better idea of why indoor air quality is one of CEE’s major research areas and how it overlaps with energy efficiency, I interviewed Director of Research Martha Hewett and Director of Indoor Air Quality Dave Bohac.
> 1,000 Words: Tableau
A variety of software tools can help identify trends and patterns in huge or complex data sets. CEE has begun working with a program called Tableau. i.e. checked in with Community Energy Services Program Assistant Isaac Smith and PBEEEP Mechanical Engineer Gustav Brändström to learn how they use it day-to-day.
in other words: Commercial Building Benchmarking
Some cities are adopting building benchmarking requirements as a step to improve the overall energy performance of buildings. When instituted into everyday building management, benchmarking can help building owners see how their building's energy use compares to that of its peers and its own potential. It is not itself an energy-saving solution, but a long-term management tool.
Reflections on the 2012 E Source Forum
Last week, Innovation Exchange staff Nancy Lange and Lester Shen attended the 2012 E Source Forum. Originally created by the Rocky Mountain Institute, E Source provides subscription-based services in the form of information and advice to utilities, large end-users of power, Federal and State agencies, and vendors. In this post, Nancy and Lester share their reflections about this year’s Forum.
401(e): Workplace Energy Saving Program
Community Energy Services draws from CEE’s experience applying community organizing principles to residential energy program design, but program staff are always looking for new ways to engage and educate people about energy. In this guest post, Program Coordinator Helen Booth-Tobin gives an update on a new pilot project to reach homeowners outside their neighborhoods.
Financing as Follow-Through
High initial costs can discourage homeowners from making large investments in energy improvements such as new heating equipment or insulation. Our residential program tries to remove this barrier by helping identify available rebates. And CEE offers financing options such as low interest loans. This provides consistent messaging and follow-through.
French Perspective: Certificates of Energy Efficiency
Curious how European nations design policies to promote energy efficient buildings? In this post, our International Fellow describes a French national law requires every major energy provider to reach a claimed amount of energy savings among its end users over a three year period.
Women in Energy: Students
i.e. is interviewing women at CEE to recognize their work in energy. For this installment, we sat down with intern Corinne Wichser, a Mechanical Engineering graduate student finishing up her Masters Degree from the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology and volunteer Kate Goldstein, a PhD candidate at M.I.T., to find out what it’s like to be a female student in the energy field.
French Perspective: Tax Credit for Sustainable Development
This guest post from CEE's International Fellow Alice H., outlines a French tax credit for sustainable development. It provides substantial incentives to households that invest to improve the energy efficiency of their home. To-date, the program is the most-used incentive by French households.
Residential Water Heater Calculator
Water heating accounts for about 20% of the energy used in houses. Efficiencies of residential water heaters have risen in recent years, and new technologies provide significant opportunities for savings. In this guest post, Innovation Exchange intern Drew Polasky explains the first steps of a CEE work-in-progress: an online calculator tool that allows visitors to receive an idea of their water use and energy bill, plus possibilities for improvement.
French Perspective: Thermal Regulation for New Residential Buildings
In this guest post, our visiting volunteer from Paris explains France's Grenelle Environmental round tables, then describes one key outcome: the new standards and regulations for residential buildings. A regulation expected in 2020 which will require all new buildings to produce more energy than they consume!
Online Engagement for Energy Savings
CEE's Communications Coordinator Neely Crane-Smith shares insight on community organizing and social media, lessons learned from the Minneosta Energy Challenge, and advice for building connections with online tools.
Efficient Lighting 101
The Innovation Exchange is putting together several visual displays, including a grid to showcase energy efficeint lamps. By breaking down the pros and cons of each technology, we hope we’ve put together a guide for an audience unfamiliar with lighting.
Bicycling Counts: Official Counts
Bicycling Counts is based on real Twin Cities data. The installation's aim is to provide an estimated impact for each passing cyclist that it "counts". Check this post daily to see how the social and ecological impacts of Minneapolis bicycling add up!
Bicycling Counts: Interview with Visual Storyteller Arlene Birt
Arlene Birt is a visual storyteller whose work illustrates the global social and environmental implications of everyday choices. She’s partnering with CEE for Bicycling Counts. i.e. had the opportunity to interview her about bicycling and information design.
From the Lab to the Field
You may remember from our virtual tour that the new Innovation Exchange office has a research lab... but how do our staff use it?
The Nest Thermostat: Saving Energy Can Be Fun
In this guest post, CEE's IT Manager Tom Spielman tests out a Nest thermostat in his own home. What does it look like? How does it work? And -most importantly- does it actually save energy?
Bicycling Counts: Calculating the Impact of Minneapolis Cyclists
In early June, CEE will launch “Bicycling Counts,” a public mobile art installation along Minneapolis bike paths. The project is a large-scale projection of the energy and financial savings generated by bicyclists, assuming they would otherwise be driving a car. The tally of savings is updated in real time with each passing rider.
From the Field: CEE Staff Conduct Air Leakage Tests on Large Buildings
It’s challenging to identify and seal each of the small gaps and cracks that comprise a building’s overall air leakage. Weather conditions and building occupancy and HVAC operation also affect air infiltration and energy savings opportunities.
DIA Lab Field Trip
Innovation Exchange aims to make our research results visible and accessible not only to other groups performing similar studies, but also to our own program staff. We recently hosted a field trip bringing two of our locations together to learn more about our work with DIA systems.
Opening our Open Office
This week, the Innovation Exchange is moving down the hall from the main CEE Downtown office. We’re experimenting with a new open layout and our new space features a lab where our research staff can upload data or perform experiments.
From the Field: CEE Programs and Mobile Devices
We recently interviewed Tom Spielman, Director of IT, and Rich Szydlowski, Director of Engineering and Business Development, for their perspective on the evolution of mobile technologies. Here's our conversation featuring their insight gained incorporating apps and tablets into CEE’s energy programs.