Consumer Trends

Latest Headlines

Latest Headlines

USDA grant to help rehabilitate rural water systems

The Water Well Trust has received a $140,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Household Water Well Systems program for a project to increase potable water availability to rural households in northwest Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Which cities are the best energy managers in California?

Energy Upgrade California, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the University of California's Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory have named the winners of the CoolCalifornia City Challenge-- a competition among 10 California cities to reduce their carbon footprint and better manage energy use.  Beginning April 1, 2014, the cities were judged based on the points earned by individual households, small businesses, and teams on the community by tracking their energy use and vehicle emissions. 

Roanoke, North Arkansas first to receive EECLP loans

Utilizing the same $6 billion in unsubsidized Treasury rate loans available each year through the RUS Electric Program, the new RUS Energy Efficiency & Conservation Loan Program (EECLP) offers non-profit utilities serving rural areas financing to make capital investments on the customer's side of the meter, such as energy-efficiency improvements, distributed renewable energy systems, and smart grid solutions, for the first time. 

First nationwide bulk solar purchase program launches

The first nationwide bulk solar purchase program has been launched to give North American homeowners easier access to more affordable, clean, renewable energy. Developed in conjunction with 3M, Cisco, Kimberly-Clark and the National Geographic Society, and created by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), the Solar Community Initiative presents a new approach to purchasing, financing and installing solar panels at a uniform discounted price.

SMUD saving customer 80 percent on commercial energy bill

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) research and development, along with experts from SMUD's Savings by Design program are helping environmental services and information technology company Synectics to realize 80 percent savings on their energy bills.  Synectics and SMUD are collaborating on a new approach to more efficiently manage climate control in the office-- a warehouse Synectics is repurposing for use as office space. 

Utilities, EVs communicate in the cloud

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), utilities, regional transmission organizations, and auto manufacturers are demonstrating an advanced software platform for integrating plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) with smart grid technologies for two-way communication that would allow PEVs with varying technologies to work with power grids. The system will enable the utilities to send a message directly to the vehicle, asking it to stop charging temporarily as a way of helping a grid that is becoming overloaded.

SMBs want better sustainability programs

A majority of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB) want better sustainability programs but are hindered by costs and a perception that such investments don't matter to customers, according to a survey by Cox Enterprises through its national sustainability program, Cox Conserves, which focuses on energy and water conservation and waste reduction.  

MO city latest to become Green Power Community

Webster Groves, Missouri is the latest city to have been officially designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a Green Power Community (GPC). To become a GPC, the city, including local government, businesses and residents must collectively use enough green power to meet or exceed EPA's Green Power Community purchase requirements.

Utilities, major retailers uncovering multi-millions in energy savings

This year, the Environmental Defense Fund's EDF Climate Corps of fellows has uncovered $130 million in potential energy savings.  Since 2008, when the program began, more than 300 organizations have worked with EDF Climate Corps fellows to uncover energy savings in their own operations, including utilities and energy providers like Pacific Gas and Electric, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, New Jersey Resources, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, Southwestern Energy, TXU Energy, and Washington Gas.  

Microsoft procures its own clean energy

The procurement of renewable energy is part of Microsoft's goal of achieving and maintaining carbon neutrality and net zero emissions-- a commitment that Microsoft made beginning in its fiscal year 2013, which began on July 1, 2012, for its data centers, software development labs, offices and even employee air travel by increasing efficiency and purchasing renewable energy.