RMI Outlet, Rocky Mountain Institute’s blog, explores topics critical to RMI’s mission to drive the efficient and restorative use of resources.
Plug Into New Ideas
This week, a number of European countries will submit paperwork to the United Nations formally binding them to the Paris Agreement, raising the tally of committed countries above 55 percent of global emissions and triggering the agreement’s entry into force 30 days later. For those who thought the champagne corks popped last December in Paris, here’s a brief guide about why this week’s events constitute a historic milestone and what comes next.
In April 2016, RMI hosted the third annual eLab Accelerator. (Applications are now being accepted for eLab Accelerator 2017.) Described as a boot camp for electricity innovation, the four-day intensive work session brought together 13 teams from across North America—from North Carolina to Ottawa and California to New York—working on new business models, energy innovation districts, and novel ways to value distributed energy resources.
On Tuesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released formal recommendations designed to help states regulate autonomous vehicles. The guidelines follow advice from the business and safety community: Establish standards for states to adopt a uniform set of rules for autonomous vehicles that ensure human safety, while allowing innovation to continue. The guidelines have been in the works for several months, but their release comes at a time of great activity in the autonomous vehicle space.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is about to become the newest member of the Smithsonian system on the National Mall, in a dazzling building that is more sustainable than any before it. At the official opening this Saturday, Victor Olgyay, a principal at RMI and a leader of RMI’s buildings practice, and Elaine Gallagher Adams, a former manager with RMI’s buildings practice, will be taking part. The pair was involved with the project from its very beginning, as was RMI.
China has the opportunity to improve the thermal comfort of building occupants without increasing energy use by designing new buildings (and retrofitting old ones) to have many of the passive features that RMI’s Innovation Center demonstrates. These features require very low levels of energy to fuel them, and deliver thermal comfort that is better than what most Chinese buildings are delivering now.