I gave a presentation earlier today to the 3rd Annual Sustainability Workshop hosted by the Illinois chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Five different panelists briefly presented their perspectives on sustainability in their respective fields, then we had a short panel discussion. It was fun to talk energy, economic, and environmental sustainability of our country’s infrastructure with these folks and I was happy to be part of it!
I spoke about energy, environmental, and cost impacts of buildings in the US and some of the challenges to achieving widespread reductions in each area. You can download my short presentation here.
Amory Lovins, of the Rocky Mountain Institute, is one of the world’s most famous thinkers on energy and environmental policies and technologies. He and his colleagues at RMI recently published a new book called Reinventing Fire, where they outline an energy future that maximizes efficiency, minimizes (or ideally, halts) the use of fossil fuel energy sources, and does so largely by circumventing lawmakers and encouraging private industry. Given the day away from the office for Labor Day, I decided to spend a productive and thought-provoking half-hour watching a summary of his book (and vision) in a TED talk he gave earlier this year. I found the strategy surprisingly interesting and encouraging, and highly recommend a viewing.
Basically, Lovins outlines a strategy that largely makes sense physically, at least from a macroscopic point of view. Continue Reading →