What Energy Innovation and Efficiency Can Do For the Climate

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Energy innovation

Energy Innovation is a focus of Tom Stoner, founder of Project Butterfly

What could energy efficiency and innovation do for climate change? Author Tom Stoner, founder of Project Butterfly, says the project aims to create a new business case for the global energy system–a case that reduces carbon emissions as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. A seasoned energy industry player, he worked with top scientists, researchers and economists to evaluate a number of options, and found that shutting down all coal-fired plants and other policy changes wouldn’t be effective. Instead, he came up with a plan that focuses on energy efficiency, redirecting energy subsidies, and opening up energy markets to innovation. “This could alter forecasted carbon dioxide levels to keep us out of the danger zone,” he says in a podcast interview with Lisa Cohn of EnergyEfficiencyMarkets.com.

A graduate of the London School of Economics and an energy entrepreneur, Tom Stoner is author of the new book, “Small Change, Big Gains: Reflections of an Energy Entrepreneur,” (Greenleaf, September 2013). He worked with business leaders, economists and researchers to create the project.

Together they came up with this new sustainability model.

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  1. Tom gives a very positive approach as to how energy efficiency can be stimulated for the big players, who definitely need to be involved in this venture.

    However, no way was mentioned as to how to get the small players involved – – the individual home and building owners. As 40% of total US energy use is consumed by our homes and commercial buildings and their energy use can easily and economically be reduced by 50% to 75%, total US energy use can be reduced by 20% to 30%. While it is important to get the big players involved, it is also important to get the smaller players involved and that was unfortunately missing from Tom’s comments and this podcast.

  2. I am consumed with thinking about how to get existing small businesses and residential units transformed to lower energy consumption.

    The best solution I have is to create a competing utility company dedicated to this effort. Most small businesses are focused on their core business. Small customers need a trusted expert. They don’t have time for rebates, permits and economic evaluations of LED bulbs, insulation, windows, geothermal heating and cooling. However, If their utility costs went down to pay the new utility company bill for 20 years the bulk of efficiency improvements could be made. I have seen reports that conservation costs 3cents/kWh and a new plant costs 9cents/kWh. If this is true, an efficient economy would and should invest in conservation first. ESCO’s exist and make a profit in this space. How do we expand this and make more funding available to for the regional or National Target Zero utility so every home and business has an energy efficient utility partner?
    How do we raise the $$$ billions $$$ needed?

  3. We have the technology to build Net Zero Energy Homes, but for some reason just are refusing to do so.