I presented at the California Energy Commission’s EPIC Symposium in Sacramento last Tuesday. The conference gathered energy policy and technology professionals from across California, with a thousand people in attendance. Hallway posters gave a nice sense of the range of projects supported by EPIC funding — from market and program development to hardware including microgrids, advanced storage, demand response, and energy efficiency.
In a morning discussion, the Berkeley Center for the Built Environment shared results from a pilot test for smart ceiling fans used in coordination with air conditioning. These smart fans extend the range of comfortable temperatures, so that A/C isn’t needed until temps exceed 80 ℉. Apartment residents of one pilot site in the Central Valley reported staying just as comfortable following smart fan integration — but their A/C energy use was reduced by 60%, saving $1,000 per month in building operation costs. What a cool project!
As part of the panel on Resilient and Equitable Communities, I presented our Solar+ small microgrid design, and spoke about the leadership demonstrated by the Blue Lake Rancheria in clean energy deployment. I was joined by panelists with expertise in energy efficiency, net-zero retrofits in low-income housing, and advocating for racially just climate and energy policies — important work at the intersection of clean energy and environmental justice.
~ Peter Alstone, Faculty Scientist at the Schatz Center