News Roundup for September 15

By ECT Staff Published: September 15th, 2011


Window breakthrough?

Window breakthrough?

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    Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are thrilled about a new window coating material they say could translate into huge energy savings. The semiconductor nanocrystal coating material can control heat from the sun while remaining transparent. Dynamic window coatings could translate into significant energy savings in buildings, which account for more than 40 percent of carbon emissions in the United States. Delia Milliron, a director at the lab, called the breakthrough “completely unprecedented.”


    New York State’s energy-efficient appliance rebate program was so successful that it lasted two days. Starting Sept. 2, the state’s energy authority made $3 million available in rebates available to consumers on a first-come, first-served basis for high-efficiency refrigerators and washers. Rebates were $350 for refrigerators and $250 for clothes washers. With high demand, the authority quickly added another $500,000 to the kitty, but all funds were exhausted by Sept. 4. “In addition, this program gave a boost to appliance retailers across the state,” said authority CEO Francis J. Murray Jr.


    The U.S. economy has been slow to recover from the recession, and the Energy Information Administration says that’s going to be reflected in energy use. In a Sept. 7 report, the agency’s numbers-crunchers lowered their assumptions about economic growth and oil consumption for 2011 and 2012. EIA now projects the average price of a barrel of crude oil to be $103 in 2012, instead of $107. A $1 change in the price of crude equates to about 2.4 cents a gallon at the pump.


    Opower of Arlington, Va., is teaming with Honeywell to produce a smart thermostat that might be a good fit for tech-savvy, energy-conscious users. A prototype programmable Honeywell thermostat connects to the Internet using Opower’s technology. The system, being tested during the next few months, would enable consumers to access electricity use data through the Web or a mobile device. The technology would suggest and automatically implement cost-saving changes, and offer comparisons to similar families in the area.

    ―Based on news and wire reports