Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bits from Discover Brilliant

I learned a lot from the Discover Brilliant conference...the last post referenced a little bit of it, and there was way more than I have time to post. But I wanted to mention a few things I learned.

One - I'd never really thought about the fact that the energy grid isn't really a storage mechanism...its a great big on-demand delivery network. So if power gets produced that doesn't get used, it generally gets lost. That makes me understand a few things more clearly, including why extra hot days or extra cold nights are so hard on the system. Of interest, a renewable grid might have more storage (for example in form of plug-in hybrids) and have more origination points.

Two - There is some talk about energy star like labelling of buildings. I mean we had things like Medallion All-Electric homes (is anyone else old enough to remember those?), but this is about efficiency and might be a useful scrap of transparency. A buyer might want to know this, for example.

Three - We don't have much information. For example, I don't know if my frig or my washer or my heater or my various entertainment electronics are using more power except anecdotally. A household measuring grid would be cool. Think RFID and Wireless and little bitty personal meters. Then expand that though into commercial buildings, which are starting to get there via something called a Building Information Manager. Although I bet a lot of buildings don't have them. Or don't have good, modern ones.

Four - for all the hype about alternative sources of fuel (and that is an important issue), there are easier and bigger gains in conservation - in buildings, around driving and travel, at home, etc.

So with that I'm out of lunch hour...

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