Tag archives for efficiency

One of the great inventions of our time – the modern refrigerator – will get an efficiency makeover when new national efficiency standards go into effect on September 15, reducing energy use of most refrigerators and freezers by about 20 to 25 percent. The new standards take effect 100 years after the first modern refrigerators were mass-produced…

A red food cart that sits on the corner of 17th Street and Broadway in New York City’s Union Square may not look different from the thousands of others scattered throughout the city, but it is unique in at least one way and that way has nothing to do with food. This Rafiqi’s cart, which…

Germany is the winner and the United States, although showing some signs of progress, remains far from the top rung. World Cup soccer? Yes, but also energy efficiency efforts, according to new rankings released on Thursday. Based on both policy and performance, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s International Scorecard put Germany first among…

The price of electricity isn’t bad in Georgia—26 percent lower than the national average, by one measure. But as a new study shows, when it comes to the energy-cost line in U.S. consumer budgets, there’s a lot more to it than how many cents per kilowatt hour the local utility charges. WalletHub, a personal and…

Thanks to the demise of the cathode ray tube, and with assistance from a shift from personal computers to tablets, Americans are using less energy to run their home entertainment and information technology devices, according to a new study commissioned by the folks who make the stuff. But critics said that progress so far has…

Wrangling in the U.S. Senate over unrelated amendments has derailed the bipartisan Shaheen-Portman energy bill for a second time. The stalemate left the bill’s supporters unable to gain the 60 votes needed to end debate over the bill and move to a final vote Monday. There seems to be little disagreement in Congress over the…

After decades of debate and with growing anxiety about climate change, the planet is no closer to a systematic solution to our collective energy challenge. Yet still we try. At its impressive Vancouver gathering, National Geographic asked a simple question:  Is natural gas the bridge to a sustainable energy future?  (See video featuring participants including…

Forty-four years ago today, Denis Hayes convened the very first Earth Day, an event that drew millions to events across the United States and heralded a new global awareness of the need to preserve our natural resources. Hayes is now at the vanguard of an effort to rethink our buildings and, by extension, our growing…

Federal loan guarantees for renewable energy, which spurred the development of massive projects like the recently completed Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California – and roiled the 2012 elections – are emerging from hibernation. More than two years after closing the last such loan guarantee, the U.S. Department of Energy announced on Wednesday that…

Energy use increased in the United States in 2013 as a fourth consecutive year of economic growth exerted its influence, but the longer-term trend shows the country operating with greater efficiency while also revealing the small but growing role of renewable sources like solar and wind. The font for these insights is the Lawrence Livermore…

Before the special ventilation system is installed, the solar water heaters added, and the insulated windows are fitted at a new set of super-efficient homes in Washington, D.C., the foundation must be laid and the wooden bones erected. Last month, several of us from National Geographic arrived to help do part of that work as…

Last year more than 25 million tourists visited the Caribbean’s islands, drawn in part to the region’s sandy beaches and breathtaking sunsets. Though many consider it a tropical paradise, the Caribbean’s 40 million residents know that such positives also come at great cost: dependence on expensive, imported fossil fuel for energy generation. It affects everything…

With the acquisition of thermostat-maker Nest Labs for $3.2 billion announced Monday, Google might finally be arriving at the right moment in a quest for home energy data that began about five years ago with the now-retired PowerMeter. Nest might be one of the few home energy start-ups that you recognize by name. Founded by…

A recent post on the U.S. phase-out of 40- and 60-watt low-efficiency incandescent light bulbs, which became official January 1, elicited a lot of response from readers.  Many commenters were critical of the ban, dictated by legislation passed in 2007 by Congress and signed into law by then-President George W. Bush.  (See related post: “U.S.…

The incandescent light bulb has been around since the late 1800s, but the venerable technology’s dominance seems just about over.  On January 1, 2014, in keeping with a law passed by Congress in 2007, the old familiar tungsten-filament 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs can no longer be manufactured in the U.S., because they don’t…

Waiting for a package? The holiday shipping countdown has begun: Online retailers are issuing regular reminders of how many days are left to order for delivery by Christmas, while shippers such as UPS and FedEx are scrambling to distribute record volumes of parcels from all of that e-commerce. Dubbing this “Peak Week,” UPS said it…

Sometimes our dependency on battery-charging devices seems ironic, considering the abundance of energy around us that is being generated every day by sources as mundane as the human hand, footsteps, and lightning, which strikes the Earth dozens of times per second. (See related photos: “Immense, Elusive Energy in the Forces of Nature.”) A typical lightning…

Everyone who works on energy futures – myself included – spends a great deal of time envisioning and then evaluating the scientific, technical, policy, and behavioral factors needed to initiate and sustain these shifts. We recently completed a study of what it would take in western North America to expand the deployment of solar power…

Next time you’re at a night game or in a big box store, look up—if you see bright white lights housed in dome-shaped fixtures, you’re probably looking at metal halide lights. Strong new energy efficiency standards for metal halide lamp fixtures proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) would save businesses and consumers money, and…

Information technology managers take note: The cloud can be your friend. U.S. government researchers built a model to test the energy cost of running common business applications using centralized data centers instead of local systems. Turned out the cloud’s energy efficiency advantages on a nationwide basis were huge – up to 87 percent, or around 23 billion…

From swapping in smarter lighting to installing solar panels, many homeowners are seeking energy efficiency boosts that can cut bills and lower their carbon footprint. But just how green can a home get? Julie Torres Moskovitz offers an answer in The Greenest Home, a just-released visual and practical guide to some remarkable passive houses around…

On a recent late night at the office, I got a warning from the cleaning woman: “You know the lights all shut off at 10 o’clock, right?” Fortunately, I had never stayed at National Geographic late enough to learn that fact. But I had noticed before that at 8:00 p.m., my computer sends a message…

In his first official remarks as Energy Secretary Tuesday, Ernest Moniz focused on an aspect of energy policy that lends itself to consensus perhaps a bit more easily than others:  the need for greater efficiency. Speaking at the Energy Efficiency Global Forum in Washington, Moniz noted it was fortuitous that the annual event followed his…

With the United Nations’ 20th annual World Water Day focusing on international cooperation in managing water, it’s a good time to highlight projects in the United States that are saving water — and energy. World Water Day, which takes place every March 22, aims to increase awareness of the millions of people who don’t have…

Students of all ages are accustomed to being graded on their work and ranked against their peers. It’s a common practice for just about everything in society from education to politics, but athletics is perhaps one of the most scrutinized and ranked fields out there. With college basketball’s March Madness tournament just around the corner,…