Officials from the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland discussing city/university partnerships on projects such as high-performance buildings, advanced transportation systems, and smart grid development that are helping cities reduce energy use and improve livability. More information is available at eesi.org/012511_efficiency
Experts speaking on Capitol Hill on innovations in factory-built housing that are pushing the envelope for quality and performance while meeting the needs of low-income home buyers. Factory-built homes have the benefits of being constructed inside a manufacturing plant (avoiding weather-related delays), standardization that improves consistency and eliminates waste, and a design/build process that facilitates innovation and quality control. These characteristics allow manufacturers to produce high-quality housing much more quickly and cost effectively than homes that are site-built. This briefing addressed “manufactured” housing –– permanent housing (not trailers), produced almost entirely in the factory to federal minimum standards (the “HUD Code”) –– and “modular” housing, made with prefabricated components and assembled on site to local code. Manufactured housing is the largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing in the United States, but most manufacturers are not using the most advanced energy-saving designs and technologies that could reduce monthly energy costs. This briefing presented the latest research and practices of inventive, forward-thinking companies that are working to make housing more affordable for more American home buyers, more profitable for American businesses, and more sustainable for everyone's benefit. More information is available at eesi.org/011911_housing
Experts speaking on Capitol Hill about black carbon, a component of soot that comes from diesel engines, residential heating and cooking, and open burning of agricultural lands and forests. Black carbon contributes to climate change in two basic ways: by absorbing sunlight in the atmosphere and, subsequently, by falling from the atmosphere onto snow and ice – causing these normally-reflective surfaces to absorb more heat and melt more quickly. Biomass burned in open fires and crude cooking stoves also leads to extremely high individual exposures to smoke – of which black carbon is a major component – and is a serious health threat for women and children in the developing world. More information is available at eesi.org/110910_carbon
Energy experts from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland speaking on Capitol Hill about how and why Nordic countries have achieved global leadership in low-carbon technologies and strengthened their economic competitiveness. The oil crises of the 1970s spurred the Nordic countries to invest heavily in energy efficiency – including combined heat and power/district heating and energy efficient buildings – and renewable energy such as wind power, hydropower, geothermal, waste-to-energy, and biofuels. In the decades since, these countries have broken the direct relationship between economic growth and energy consumption, and emerged as global leaders in clean energy exports. More information is available at eesi.org/102110_nordic
Experts speaking on Capitol Hill about on challenges facing the oil industry to keep pace with rising global demand, and the potential implications for oil prices, national security, and the world economy. More information is available at eesi.org/100710_oil.