EERE Conference Mixes and Matches Experts - 5/17/04
May 17, 2004
Visitors to Minneapolis May 11-14 heard much about renewable fuels, flexible fuel vehicles and efficiency in buildings at Energy Smart America 2004, a conference that drew on the expertise of officials and project managers from dozens of states.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was one of the featured speakers who stressed the value of innovation in producing new products from renewable sources. "We are an innovative state," the governor said, and drove the point home by noting that Minnesota soon will even have a plant producing energy from turkey manure.
Restructuring for Flexibility
Ellen D. Lutz, acting program manager of EERE's Office of Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program, also spoke at the Opening Plenary. She noted that EERE is retooling itself to achieve the kind of agility that many state and local offices already demonstrate." We are very jealous," she said to an audience composed to a large extent of state and local energy specialists." At the federal level we are not as agile and flexible as you are." She also offered an overarching image of what it means to be energy smart; integrating many diverse technologies and practices; not being held captive by traditions; having the vision to work toward such goals as zero-energy buildings and inexhaustible energy sources; and being able to look your children in the eye and know that you are bequeathing to them a world they will want to inherit.
Jack McGowan, president of Energy Control Inc., offered a vision of how internet and wireless technologies will transform energy-saving practices and operations in buildings. Web sites and wireless networks will allow organizations to share real-time data with anyone, at any place, he said. Web-based control will allow people to manage energy consumption much more efficiently with such a flow of data.
Partnering for Success
Teamwork across organizational lines was a subject that came up in various sessions. John Giglio, executive director of the National Association of State Energy Officials, recommended that state environmental and energy officials become more aware of each other, given the important interactions of energy and environmental policies. State officials hoping to promote high-performance school buildings should work with the state representatives of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), suggested C.H. Savoie of NSBA.
There were good sessions on such subjects as building codes, state legislation and incentive programs. Technology-oriented sessions addressed cogeneration (combined heat and power), idle-reduction solutions for diesel trucks, and fuel cells for buildings.
For more information and photos about the conference, see Rebuild America news article.