From building codes to solar power, and natural gas to electric cars, RMI Outlet covered a lot of ground in 2012. These were the top 10 most popular blog posts for the year.
10. Google Hangout: Driving Transformational Change
A cross-section of RMI staff talked about a variety of initiatives, including Project Get Ready, highlighting how RMI drives transformational change in energy-intensive sectors of our economy.
9. Google Hangout: Building Permanently Affordable Homes
RMI principals James Brew and Alexis Karolides and RMI Trustee and National Solutions Council chair David Allen talked about the Superefficient Housing Initiative, and opportunities for building healthy, cost-effective, low-income housing that saves some 60 percent on energy costs over the status quo.
8. Reinventing Fire: An “Idea Worth Spreading”
In a March 2012 TEDTalk, RMI co-founder and chief scientist Amory Lovins talked about harnessing the power of business to usher in a new energy era that we call Reinventing Fire.
7. Solar Issues of the Day: Customer Acquisition
RMI and other experts explored how U.S. solar companies can work to lower soft costs—especially acquiring customers and designing their systems, which can account for up to 44 percent of all soft system costs—in order to better grow the rooftop residential solar market.
6. How Our Prius Paid For Itself and Put $10,000 Back In Our Pocket
Randy Essex, former editorial director at RMI, told the story of his family’s switch to a Toyota Prius, and how that change—coupled with other associated lifestyle choices—resulted in $34,000 in savings by 2012, $10,000 beyond the $24,000 sticker price of the Prius in 2006 when he bought the car.
5. Jevons Paradox: The Debate That Just Won’t Die
In a follow-up to a 2011 Solutions Journal article, “The Rebound Effect,” RMI (again) tackled the Jevons Paradox, debunking the feigned importance of energy rebound, the idea that energy conservation—enabled, for example, through new technologies—is offset by other system changes that at least partially increase or otherwise offset reductions in resource consumption.
4. Empire State Building Retrofit Surpasses Energy Savings Expectations
When RMI and other partners came together to conduct a deep retrofit of New York City’s most iconic skyscraper, the results exceeded anyone’s expectations, saving $2.4 million dollars in the building’s first year of operation post-retrofit.
3. Five Real-World Facts About Electric Cars
In a guest post, Green Car Reports editor John Voelcker highlighted five need-to-know facts about EVs, ranging from carbon footprints to rates of adoption to the costs of “fueling.”
2. Nice House, But Is It Legal?
After more than two and a half decades of residential energy code changes at a slow rate of just one percent or so, codes are on track to change by up to 50 percent between 2006 and 2015. The result, noted RMI principal James Brew, is that a home that met energy code just a few years ago won’t be legal to build just a few years from now.
1. Hot Air About Cheap Natural Gas
RMI co-founder and chief scientist Amory Lovins and program director Jon Creyts explained how low spot prices for “cheap gas” fail to account for the fuel’s substantial price volatility. While they weren’t arguing to avoid the use of gas, they did highlight the importance of efficiency and renewables, two sources that have no fuel, and hence no fuel-price volatility.
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