Skip to main content

energy programs

Image shows a graphic of stacked books with "Energy Rant" on the spine. Next to graphic is text displaying: "The Book of Energy Program Evaluation - Tssssss"

The Book on Energy Program Evaluation – Tssssss

By Energy Rant No Comments
Although, or maybe because Michaels Energy has provided research and evaluation services for about 25 years, I’ve been a consistent critic of evaluation, measurement, and verification (EMV), and I’ll tell you why in several chapters. Chapter 1 Resource Acquisition Evaluation methodologies are predominately based on widget programs, also known as resource acquisition programs. The hypothesis is this: efficient equipment costs more, and that extra cost is the barrier. How to mitigate or remove the barrier? Pay down the incremental cost with a rebate after the purchase or incentive before the purchase. It’s that simple and dumb. The simpleton approach to…
Read More

Agrarian-Style Programs; Lily Free Rides

By Energy Rant No Comments
I’m an insatiable consumer of information, but I need to learn more. For example, if you haven’t watched the excellent movie Saving Private Ryan, do it. I don’t understand why the allies attacked from the water, in the daylight, when they were sitting ducks for the Nazis dug into the bluff with machine guns and grenade launchers? Why not paratroop in from behind? I have to share my favorite scene from the movie, maybe of all time, with my favorite line: “especially you, Reiben.” After reading about Thanksgiving last week, I also thought, why did the Pilgrims leave the UK…
Read More
ouiji board

Performance Programs, Ouija Boards, and Mark Twain

By Energy Rant No Comments
I could not compete with my former self and Gene Simons from last week, but I went back to the Gallup psychoanalysis barrel for more inspiration. I don’t want to write about myself unless it helps you understand why I’m so, uh, peculiar. Like Mr. Simons, I’m an insatiable consumer of information, maybe not books so much – although I’m sure I broke personal records since the Covid – but digital publications, interviews, conference papers, and journals. The psychoanalysis says, “It’s very likely that you rely, to some extent, on your passion for reading to help you launch conversations. Engaging…
Read More
Gene Simmons

Performance-Based Programs; Do You Have the Delusion?

By Energy Rant 3 Comments
Employees at Michaels get a free psych-x profile (it’s not my area of expertise) to determine personal strengths through Gallup. My top strength is “context,” which means I’m a historian. What does this mean? I observe history, including my mistakes, others’ mistakes, and continuously analyze human nature. For example, I watched a webinar last week on how to be a “rock star” of success. You’ve heard of others called a “rock star,” right? “Rock star” made lists of overused terms years ago. The presenter said, (paraphrasing) “it doesn’t matter whether the person is a customer, supervisor, owner, or employee; all…
Read More

Carbon tax – avoid the slow-mo sucker punch

By Energy Rant One Comment
If polling managers were competent, we would have election day rather than the election playoffs. For several days they were finding ballots in the usual places anyone normal would stash them, like elementary school classrooms, rental car trunks, vans, and the bottoms of bird cages. Most of the results are in, and the one that facilitates this post, the Washington state carbon tax, went down hard by about 10 percentage points. That is about as big as it gets for a statewide election. In February, I laid out the only carbon tax plan I would get behind, and that is…
Read More

Getting Personal with Inbound Marketing

By Energy Rant No Comments
I was reading an article recently, and I apologize because I don’t remember what or where it was to share it, but the crux of the article was times have never been better, and the good ole days weren’t so grand. The conveniences of modern life can fill books, but what most people think they despise, actually benefits them. An easy example is profiling via personal internet activity from Google to Amazon, to even your internet service provider. Who doesn’t like autofill provided by Google? What about saving credit card data so I can sit on my bum instead of…
Read More

STEM & Energy Efficiency – Begin with the End in Mind

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
It is awfully unfortunate that “begin with the end in mind” has been beaten to a cliché, because it is SO applicable to everything.  In recent years, I have seen about 5,200 articles, blogs, emails, newscasts, gum wrappers, and fortune cookie messages that promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).  Perhaps I was a complete dork when I was a high school senior deciding what major to pursue in college, but it came down to three factors: what am I good at, what is the demand for the profession, and what is the pay for the gig? Begin: Amusing, Worthwhile,…
Read More

Decoupling, Stupid

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff 2 Comments
One way the utility business works like the rest of the economy is that it sells its products/commodities at a price that is higher than the cost of production, on average.  The more utilities sell, the greater their gross profit.  This is at odds with utilities’ incentive to save energy with energy efficiency programs.  As a result, some utility executives are opposed to energy efficiency programs.  That is a short-sighted view but that’s a story for a different day. As a result of this dichotomy, a pricing mechanism known as decoupling has been developed.  This NREL paper gives a pretty…
Read More

Green Will Follow, Then Lead

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, LEED, Sustainability No Comments
Some of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA or “stimulus”) targets energy efficiency and green jobs training.  Wisconsin just announced $2 million in green jobs training.  Oregon: $6 million.  First off, I’m skeptical of these curricula.  Who will be teaching?  What is the curriculum?  At a cost of about $6,000 per graduate, it’s close to one year of in-state tuition and fees at a public university.  Wow. Who is going to attend these courses?  I would say a significant portion would be laid off construction workers and skilled trades workers.  Once they are trained to weatherize homes, which does…
Read More

Policy to Curb Carbon

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Stimulus, Tax Stuff No Comments
Any carbon-reduction policy that includes paying Washington for permits to emit carbon is the wrong way to go.  Why?  Two words.  Social Security. Washington has no spending restraint.  Earmark nation is alive and thriving.  Everyone has heard of the Social Security Trust Fund; Al Gore’s “lock box”.  Social Security has been running surpluses in the hundreds of billions of dollars per year for a long time.  If you think your payroll taxes are piling up for your retirement in a bunker under Washington somewhere, you are sorely mistaken.  Our profligate government has been taking the surplus and spending it on…
Read More