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The EERE Blog includes updates to current Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) projects, interviews with energy experts, and success stories about EERE’s technology offices and national laboratories. Subscribe to the blog email list.

July 30, 2015
The Energy Department's Lab-Corps pilot program is a national network that aims to unleash national lab researchers to successfully transition their discoveries into high-impact technologies in the marketplace. | Photo by Dennis Schroeder/NREL
Lab-Corps Program Helping to Accelerate Commercialization of Clean Energy Technologies from our National Labs

The Lab-Corps pilot program was launched last year to accelerate the transfer of new clean energy technologies from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Laboratories into the commercial marketplace. Just six months into the program, we are already seeing some exciting results.

July 29, 2015
3 Reasons We’re Closer to an Algae Future than You Think

Algae shows great potential as a homegrown and renewable fuel source. Here's why it will be a big part of our nation’s energy mix sooner than you might expect.

July 29, 2015
The Azura device sits 30m out from the Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Oahu.
EERE Success Story—Catching a Wave: Innovative Wave Energy Device Surfs for Power in Hawaii

With support from the Energy Department and the U.S. Navy, a prototype wave energy device has advanced successfully from initial concept to grid-connected, open-ocean pilot testing. The device, named Azura, was recently launched by Northwest Energy Innovations at a 30-meter test berth at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Oahu’s Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii.

July 27, 2015
National Park Service Greens Its Rides with the Help of Clean Cities

The National Park Service is working with the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program to provide sustainable travel options, including using more efficient vehicles themselves and encouraging visitors to “green their rides” in the parks to minimize their contribution to climate change and air pollution.

July 23, 2015
The Self-Help Office Building in Wilmington, N.C., reduced nearly $11,000 in annual energy costs and increased the building’s valuation up to $275,000 after a green retrofit.  Photo courtesy of the Institute for Market Transformation.
What’s Green Worth?

The effect on a property’s value is usually one of the first things to consider before a building is retrofitted with green features. However, appraisers are often not experienced in working with green buildings. When an appraiser is not versed in investigating the costs and benefits of green strategies, they might miss some of the benefits. To address this concern, the Energy Department and the Appraisal Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding to improve resources for appraisers who are involved with energy efficient buildings.

July 23, 2015
Energy Department representatives visit “Deep Orange 5,” the fifth version of Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research’s (CU-ICAR) industry-sponsored and student-led vehicle project. DeepOrange is a an innovative approach to engineering education, teaching graduate students a complete product development process. | Photo Credit: CU-ICAR
EERE’s Southeast Swing: Clean Energy Manufacturing in the Southeast is Booming

The Energy Department’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI) recently held its Southeast Regional Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. The more than 200 clean energy manufacturing leaders attending the summit and our Assistant Secretary David Danielson’s visits to GE, Suniva, the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, and the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council highlighted the region’s growing strength in building cutting-edge automobiles, high-efficiency natural gas turbines, advanced composites, and a number of other clean energy technologies.

July 22, 2015
Photo courtesy of San Diego Gas & Electric
Green Button Initiative Makes Headway with Electric Industry and Consumers

The Green Button Initiative provides American businesses and families with simple and secure access to their energy consumption data in a standardized format. The effort has grown significantly in size and sophistication since it launched in 2012, and now more than 150 utilities and service providers have committed to providing more than 60 million U.S. households access to their own Green Button energy data in a consumer- and computer-friendly format.

July 21, 2015
The photovoltaic array on top of the U.S. Department of Energy headquarters. (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Energy)
EERE Success Story—FEMP Assists White House in Setting GHG Reduction Target for Federal Government

Earlier this year, EERE’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provided key data and analytical support to the White House Council on Environmental Quality to determine the government-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target. As the scorekeeper for federal agency energy performance data, FEMP is uniquely positioned to project the government’s future path in a clean energy economy. In its support to the White House, FEMP assessed the GHG mitigation impact of achieving the key goals for 2025 contained in the Executive Order (EO) including:

July 20, 2015
History of Air Conditioning

Learn about some of the key milestones in one of the most important inventions of modern times -- air conditioning.

July 17, 2015
EERE Blog
Energy Department Funding Helping Energy-Intensive Dairy Industry

Historically, the U.S. dairy industry has been one of the most energy-intensive forms of agriculture. Dairies operate every hour of every day. Milk harvesting and cooling, equipment sterilization, lighting, and ventilation all require energy. With support from the Energy Department's State Energy Program, Colorado has implemented a successful pilot program to help the dairy industry reduce it electricity bill that could be emulated in other states.

July 16, 2015
Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL's) Brian Fricke tests Hillphoenix's Advansor Refrigeration System in ORNL's state-of-the-art Building Technologies Research & Integration Center (BTRIC) user facility; Photo Credit: Oak Ridge National Lab
EERE Success Story—New Advanced Refrigeration Technology Provides Clean Energy, Low Utility Bills for Supermarkets

Traditional supermarket refrigeration systems found in most U.S. grocery stores require a substantial amount of energy to keep fruits and vegetables fresh year round. An average supermarket consumes nearly 2 million kilowatt hours per year, and refrigeration accounts for nearly half of that. They are also prone to significant refrigerant leakage—from two to four thousand pounds a year—emitting environmentally harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The most common of these gases are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are 4,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide. 

July 15, 2015
EERE Blog
Wave Energy Simulation Team Carries Home International Award

In order to harness the power of waves to generate electricity, engineers must be able to predict how large floating devices will perform in a dynamic environment—that is, in the water among waves. A team sponsored by the Energy Department, including members from NREL and Sandia National Laboratories, addressed that challenge and won a recent international competition.

July 14, 2015
Left: Gary Bertoline, Dean of Purdue Polytechnic Institute; Kelly Visconti, Technology Manager for the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office; John Dennis, Mayor of West Lafayette; Mitch Daniels, President of Purdue University; R. Byron Pipes, John Leighton Bray Distinguished Professor of Engineering; Victor Smith, Indiana Secretary of Commerce; Leah Jamieson, John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering; and Dan Hasler, President of the Purdue Research Foundation
EERE Success Story—Indiana Manufacturing Institute Breaks Ground at Purdue University in support of Composites Manufacturing Research

The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) that was officially launched by the Energy Department’s Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Dr. David Danielson, has met another successful groundbreaking. One of the flagship research facilities of the IACMI partnership, the Indiana Manufacturing Institute at Purdue University, broke ground this past June.

July 13, 2015
The New York City College of Technology is weatherproofing its house, called DURA, at a Brooklyn Navy Yard construction site. | Photo courtesy of New York City College of Technology.
Solar Decathlon 2015: Nation’s Leading Sustainable Home Design Competition on the Horizon

The teams are set for this year's Solar Decathlon, which challenges students from around the world to design, build and operate highly energy efficient solar-powered houses.

July 10, 2015
NREL Senior Engineer Palmer Carlin at the National Wind Technology Center, flanked by some of the massive turbines he says early wind technology pioneers only dreamed of seeing. | Photo by Dennis Schroeder
Meet a 91-Year-Old Wind Energy Pioneer

Palmer Carlin helped create the wind industry. Read his fascinating story, the latest in our #LabSpotlight series.

July 9, 2015
EERE Blog
EERE Success Story—Uncle Sam Turns to SAM for Solar Modeling

When it comes to making performance predictions and cost-of-energy estimates for grid-connected power projects, you can trust SAM to make it happen. SAM, or the System Advisor Model, is a performance and financial analysis tool funded by the SunShot Initiative that was built based on computer models developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and other organizations.

July 8, 2015
Through the new Small Business Vouchers Pilot, small businesses will be able to access tools like this large-scale 3D-printer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility. | Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
New National Labs Pilot Opens Doors to Small Businesses

New Small Business Vouchers Pilot will connect clean energy innovators across the country with the top-notch scientists, engineers, and world-class facilities at Energy Department National Laboratories.

July 7, 2015
EERE Blog
New Energy Department Partnership Creates Solar Bridges to Energy Security

Despite great recent advances in lowering the cost of solar energy, this technology is not yet affordable for every segment of the population. For low-income communities, solar energy is still viewed as a luxury. But new programs are working to expand access to solar energy and create job opportunities for all Americans.

July 6, 2015
Energy Department-supported "Azura" wave energy converter is installed at a U.S. Navy test site in Hawaii. | Photo courtesy of Northwest Energy Innovations.
Capturing the Motion of the Ocean: Wave Energy Explained

Water covers 71 percent of the planet -- so why isn't wave energy a bigger part of our clean energy strategy? New technology could make it competitive sooner than you think.

July 2, 2015
The 42,000 sq. ft. Carbon Fiber Technology Facility offers a highly flexible, highly instrumented carbon fiber line for demonstrating advanced technology scalability and producing market-development volumes of prototypical carbon fibers, and serves as the last step before commercial production scale.
Carbon Fiber Technology Facility Set To Scale Up Industry

The Carbon Fiber Technology Facility (CFTF) at the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory offers a unique, highly flexible, highly instrumented research space for demonstrating ways to scale up and bring down testing costs of carbon-fiber prototypes for use in new polymers and products to manufacture larger land-based wind turbine blades and lighter vehicles with improved fuel efficiency. The 42,000-square-foot facility can make up to 25 tons of carbon fiber each year, enabling industry to experiment with new carbon-fiber precursors, or base materials, at a small scale.

June 30, 2015
EERE Blog
From Flour to Grits, a Water-Powered Mill Keeps on Grinding

A mill owned and operated for six generations by the Weisenberger family has been grinding grains in the heart of Kentucky since the Civil War. In 1862, August Weisenberger emigrated from Baden, Germany, to start milling grains in Midway, Kentucky. He purchased the existing three-story stone mill on the banks of South Elkhorn Creek in 1865—the perfect location to harness water power to operate the mill.

June 26, 2015
EERE Blog
Training Veterans to Work in the Rapidly Growing Solar Industry

In an effort to help our nation's veterans transition to civilian life, veterans are being trained for jobs in the growing solar industry as part of a workforce program supported by the Energy Department.

June 26, 2015
Farmer Bruce Nelson and a representative from biofuels company POET-DSM stand between square and round bales of corn stover stock piled outside of POET-DSM’s Project LIBERTY cellulosic ethanol biorefinery. Selling the corn plant residue after their corn harvest has generated a new revenue stream for many farmers, including Bruce. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GU0Cu45cLT4" target="_blank">Watch a video segment</a> about Bruce’s story at the beginning of the film “Bioenergy: America’s Energy Future.”
EERE Energy Impacts: Biorefineries Give Local Farmers Opportunities for Additional Income

Selling corn stover—the non-edible corn stalks, husks, and leaves of a corn plant—after the corn harvest has generated a new revenue stream for many farmers. Biorefineries buy the corn plant residue from farmers and turn it into cellulosic ethanol, allowing farmers to "add revenue without adding acres."

June 25, 2015
Suniva, Inc. solar panels on the roof of the Carbon-Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology. | Photo courtesy of Georgia Tech
Southeast Regional Summit to Convene High-Profile Clean Energy Manufacturing Leaders on July 9

The upcoming Southeast Regional Summit will connect the U.S. southeast innovation ecosystem to Energy Department programs and resources, and help shape the Department’s strategy to boost U.S. competitiveness in clean energy manufacturing.

June 25, 2015
EERE Blog
EERE Success Story—World's First Fuel Cell Cargo Trucks Deployed at Memphis International Airport

Thanks to R&D funding from the Energy Department’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO), the Federal Express Hub at the Memphis International Airport in Tennessee has a new 15-vehicle fleet of hydrogen fuel cell powered ground support equipment. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on April 9 to mark the kickoff of the two-year demonstration of the vehicles, which are part of the world’s first zero-emissions ground support fleet in the world.