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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.

December 2, 2016
The Portable Window Energy Meter — jointly developed by researchers from Brazil and the United States — can reduce energy losses in buildings by measuring and assessing the energy performance of windows without removing them from their site.
U.S.-Brazil Collaboration Leads to Innovative Device That Reduces Energy Use in Buildings

Researchers from the United States and Brazil have developed a new device that can reduce energy losses in buildings by measuring and assessing the energy performance of windows without removing them from their site.

December 1, 2016
Thanks to a 2012 State Energy Program Competitive Award, three Arizona wastewater treatment facilities underwent partial energy upgrades. A facility in Phoenix, pictured here in before-and-after shots, undertook an LED retrofit. The facility is already saving energy and money. 
Energy Department Helping Arizona Conserve Energy at Water Resource Recovery Facilities

Funding support from the Energy Department's State Energy Program is being used by some states to retrofit water treatment facilities and wastewater systems to use less energy because these facilities can be responsible for as much as 35% of municipal energy use.

December 1, 2016
Michael Berube (left), the new director of the Vehicle Technologies Office, and Alan Liby, from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, look at a piece of partially oxidized material in the process of being converted into carbon fiber during a recent visit to the national laboratory in Tennessee.
Meet Michael Berube: New Vehicle Technologies Director Has a Passion for Transportation

Michael Berube, the new director of the Energy Department’s Vehicle Technologies Office, sat down recently to discuss his entry into vehicles, where we’re headed, and a love of off-roading.

November 30, 2016
This house was designed and constructed by students from Missouri University of Science and Technology as part of Solar Decathlon 2015 in California. | <em>Photo by Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon</em>
Around the World with Solar Decathlon

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition now spans five continents — North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia — bringing together collegiate teams from around the world to address some of the most pressing global energy issues of our time.

November 30, 2016
The Salton Sea region is one of North America's prime sources of lithium. | Photo Courtesy: Pure Energy
EERE Success Story—Geothermal Technology to Help Meet High Lithium Demand

In 2014, the Energy Department’s Geothermal Technologies Office introduced its mineral recovery research and development program to identify methods of recovering lithium and rare earth elements found in geothermal fluids. This year the effort expanded to include evaluation of comparable methods in other industries and the potential to translate successful methodologies for use in geothermal mineral recovery.

November 30, 2016
Spirit, a 20-year-old bald eagle, flies at the National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colorado. | <em>Photo by Lee Jay Fingersh/NREL</em>
3 Ways Energy Department Research Will Help Eagles Coexist with Wind Energy Deployment

Building energy infrastructure that keeps wildlife safe is a key concern at the U.S. Department of Energy, which is why we have funded six teams to improve technologies that will protect eagles sharing airspace with wind turbines.

November 29, 2016
Precast Dam Structure | Photo Courtesy French Development Enterprises
EERE Success Story—Innovative "French Dam" Cuts Cost and Construction Time

With Energy Department support, French Development Enterprises, LLC, GEI Consultants, and Oldcastle Precast announced the successful construction of the first prototype of a “French Dam.”The prototype technology uses modular design—a term for structures that use multiple standardized components that integrate easily— to significantly cut construction time and cost.

November 29, 2016
So Hot Right Now: 12 Solar Photos That Will Take Your Breath Away

Overall utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) generated enough electricity last year to power more than 2 million homes. It’s also creating jobs – a lot of them. In 2015, the solar workforce grew at a rate 12 times faster than the overall economy and boasts a workforce of more than 200,000 domestic jobs.

November 28, 2016
Monhegan Island Light Station. | <em>Photo by Emerson Reiter, NREL</em>
Consider the Lobster and Electricity: Helping Meet the Energy Challenges of Maine's Small Islands

Most island communities do not have economies of scale or local fossil fuel resources, two key factors contributing to significant increases in energy costs relative to mainland peers. A case in point is two islands located off the coast of Maine—Isle au Haut and Monhegan, both of which are currently weighing their energy futures.

November 23, 2016
Forestry residues, switchgrass, and corn stalks are all examples of non-food biomass that can be used to make biofuels and bioproducts.
There Is a Cornucopia of Feedstock Options for Making Biofuels

Right now, biofuels and consumer products made from biomass are not commercially widespread. However, the Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is funding research and development to help lower their costs so that private industry can produce and sell them on the commercial market.

November 22, 2016
4 Tips to Prevent a Thanksgiving Energy Bill Spike

The Thanksgiving holiday is wonderful for getting together with friends and family but not very good for energy conservation because it contributes to an annual increase in energy use due to lights staying on longer, and appliances operating more frequently. Here are some energy saving tips to lower the unwelcome tradition of higher energy bills following Thanksgiving.

November 22, 2016
Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Hydrogen and Fuel Cells?

Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies power cars, buildings and more. But how much do you know about them? Test your knowledge with this quiz!

November 21, 2016
Making solar energy system information public helps solar companies and customers alike.
Sharing the Wealth: Providing Access to More Solar Data

For the first time ever, the latest edition of the Tracking the Sun report is publicly sharing the data used in the report analysis, which is a win-win for both solar companies and solar customers.

November 18, 2016
Residential PACE Financing
Updated Guidelines for Residential PACE Financing Programs

The Energy Department has updated Best Practice Guidelines for Residential PACE Financing Programs, which allow qualifying homeowners in states offering PACE financing to make energy upgrades with no upfront costs and repay the costs over time through a special property tax bill assessment.

November 18, 2016
New Analysis Shows National Potential for Solar Power in Low-Income Communities

Solar power is now more affordable in the United States than at any other point in history, and new analysis shows it has the potential to gain popularity in low- and moderate-income communities across the country.

November 17, 2016
MPG-Type Rating for Homes Accelerating Energy Savings for Homeowners—Over 50,000 Homes Scored

The Home Energy Score, which evaluates energy in a home similar to miles per gallon reports fuel efficiency in vehicles, has now issued more than 50,000 scores nationwide as part of the Energy Department's continued efforts to help Americans save energy and money.

November 17, 2016
5 Reasons College Students Should Join the Collegiate Wind Competition

Since 2014, passionate college students from across the country have learned the ins and outs of the wind industry by participating in the Energy Department’s Collegiate Wind Competition, which challenges undergraduates to design and build a wind turbine and develop a business plan to market their project.

November 15, 2016
<em>Graphic courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency</em>
Heat from Beneath the Ground – Working to Advance Deep Direct-Use Geothermal

Beneath our feet lies a source of geothermal heat that can be tapped to provide heating and cooling to both residential and commercial buildings, manufacturing processes, greenhouses and aquaculture ponds.

November 14, 2016
In 2015 alone, installed wind capacity increased by more than 12% (8,100 megawatts), accounting for more than half of all new renewable capacity additions in the United States. | <em>Photo credit: Warren Gretz/NREL</em>
4 Charts That Show Renewable Energy is on the Rise in America

The numbers are in and the verdict is clear: clean energy is on the rise, both at home and around the world.

November 10, 2016
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory conducted biobased, high-octane fuel experiments using this modified turbocharged Cadillac. | Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Achieving the Best of Both Worlds—Improved Vehicle Performance with Fuel that's Better for the Environment

Is it possible to increase your vehicle’s performance and fuel efficiency while also slowing climate change through reduced greenhouse gas emissions? New research says yes.

November 8, 2016
Pictured above is De-Meter’s inaugural project for Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center, a 200kW combination rooftop and carport distributed generation installation in San Leandro, CA. Photo courtesy of De-Meter.
EERE Success Story—Setting the PACE for Commercial Solar Growth

Big box retailers are leading in commercial solar installations in the United States, but solar’s energy-saving benefits aren’t limited to Fortune 500 companies. Hospitals, small businesses, shopping malls, multi-family and other commercial and industrial properties have a new tool to help them go solar: the PACE Lease®.

De-Meter Power first developed the new financial tool through the SunShot Initiative Technology to Market program, which helps entrepreneurs bring innovative, early-stage technologies to the market.

November 8, 2016
David Friedman (left), acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, speaks with Zhang Yong, Vice Chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission, during the U.S.-China Energy Efficiency Forum in Beijing.
Working with China to Advance Energy Efficiency Around the Globe

China is one of the United States' critical partners in the global effort of addressing climate change. Last month, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Friedman saw up close how the world’s two largest economies – and the two largest emitters – are committed to leading the world in transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

November 4, 2016
There are many easy energy-saving tips you can do around the house that will help you save money on your utility bills.
5 Energy-Saving Tips For When Daylight Saving Time Ends

With Daylight Savings Time ending on Sunday, try these 5 energy-saving tips to help you save money on your utility bills.

November 2, 2016
A rendering of a finalist's hydrogen fueling system from the H-Prize. SimpleFuel's system (built by  Ivys, PDC Machines, and McPhy North America) has already produced and dispensed over 70 kg of hydrogen--enough fuel to drive a fuel cell car 4,200 miles. | Photo courtesy of Ivys Inc.
H2 Refuel Competition Makes Progress

With fuel cell cars hitting the roads now, the need for places to fuel them is becoming a critical challenge. That‘s why, in addition to supporting hydrogen station technology R&D, the Energy Department launched the H2 Refuel H-Prize in October 2014. This competition challenges American innovators to develop small-scale hydrogen generation and refueling systems. These systems could support the growing retail infrastructure by providing ways to fuel hydrogen vehicles at people’s homes, community centers, or businesses.

November 1, 2016
The 1.2-megawatt La Ola solar photovoltaic power plant on the Hawaiian island of Lanai. | <em>Photo by Jamie Keller/NREL</em>
Helping Hawaii Chart a Path to 100% Renewable Electricity

As Hawaii charges toward its goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2045, the Energy Department's Energy Transition Initiative has been working with technical experts from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to deliver training to Hawaii Public Utilities Commission staff to help them prepare for the coming changes.