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Rmi Outlet

Plug Into New Ideas

RMI Outlet, Rocky Mountain Institute’s blog, explores topics critical to RMI’s mission to transform global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future.

The “Push and Pull” of Energy Modeling Demand

“How many LEED points can I get? Do I quality for a specific incentive?” To energy modelers, questions like these sound like a broken record. Yet properly used, energy modeling can provide information that optimizes a building’s energy consumption, reduces life cycle costs and even reduces first cost.

A Cross-Disciplinary Approach to Problem-Solving

For almost thirty years, RMI has targeted business leaders to influence the way they manage energy and resources, which also helps them gain competitive advantage. What about the business leaders of tomorrow? RMI has partnered with Catawba College’s Center for the Environment in North Carolina on “Redesigning Our Future: A National Environmental Summit for High School Students,” July 20-24.

Financial Innovation in the Solar Sector

Google’s recent $280 million investment in solar developer SolarCity is a win-win-win scenario. About 10,000 homeowners get cheaper, cleaner energy, Google gets a hefty tax write-off (to the tune of $80 million dollars), and the emerging preferred financing mechanism for solar installs—the power purchase agreement (PPA) —gains yet another stamp of approval from one of the clean energy sector’s most important investors.

Solutions Journal: Spring 2011—RMI Convenes Innovation Summits

As part of its RetroFit Initiative, RMI convened two summits this spring: one to advance education, tools, and best practices for whole building energy analysis and one to encourage financing for energy-efficient design. The summits brought together diverse partners and stakeholders with the goal of capitalizing on opportunities in each industry to support the widespread adoption of energy efficient building design and operation.

Charging Ahead

Over the past year, the term “range anxiety” has burrowed its way into the electric vehicle lexicon. But another may soon join it: “gas anxiety.” “Gas anxiety is the fear of a plug-in hybrid turning on the gas engine,” says Michael Rowand, director of technology development for Duke Energy, “No matter what, I will find a way to charge the car before it switches over to gasoline.” Rowand is currently driving the Chevy Volt as part of a pilot project Duke is conducting with General Motors, charging stations manufacturers and various city partners.