Other tidbits from the conference

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I just love shows like the just-completed MIT Energy Conference, for all the opportunities to learn in such a short space, and often directly from people actively studying in the field. Another such opportunity arises this week at NESEA's Building Energy '09.

Here's some orts left over from my walk through the poster session Friday night and the four-plus hours I was able to spend on Saturday...

* is a new website, still being populated but open for visiting, whose purpose is ...

Inslee on energy

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In the previous post, I alluded to US Rep. Jay Inslee, the Washington State Democrat with a very clear focus on energy issues. He said a bunch, both in his luncheon speech and in a generous discussion with journalists afterward. Some highlights:

Cap-and-trade legislation will pass this year. "I can't conceive of sending President Obama to Copenhagen empty-handed." "Coperhagen," of course, refers to the multilateral climate change conference scheduled for Dec. 7-18 in Denmark.

Transportation fuels in 2050

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For many, the question isn't "will cars be powered differently in 40 years?" but whichnfuel will dominate — electricity (plug-in, or batteries or both?), biofuels (food-based ethanol, or something more advanced?), or hydrogen? (Really?)

But in a session at the MIT Energy Conference Saturday afternoon, analyst John Casesa, a one-time GM employee who spent 17 years on Wall Street before opening his own consultancy, says he doesn't envision much change:


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No, the subject isn't cold drinks made with evaporated cane juice, organic yogurt, and shavings of ice from distilled water. EcoShakes are an artificial shingle made from wood chips and recycled PVC piping that were shown at GreenBuild.

I thought they looked awful.

Granted, I was seeing them at fairly close range under artificial light, and they might look a lot better espied from street level on a typical day in the suburbs. But in those conditions, they looked as fake as fake could be.

Energy-harvesting wall switches

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An interesting product I came across at GreenBuild was the home-control system being offered by Verve Livings Systems. The tech-candy for me is their wall switches, which convert the energy you use to flip the switch into a pulse that sends the instruction to a a central controller, dousing or dimming the light in question, or performing more complicated routines if programmed that way.


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