Quick Energy Efficiency News… A Billionaire’s Clean Energy Bike and a Twist on Geothermal

Oct. 13, 2015
Quick Energy Efficiency News… A billionaire’s clean energy bike and twist on geothermal… The most (and least) energy efficient states… ACEEE on community resilience through energy efficiency

Quick energy efficiency news for this week…

Could your morning workout power a home? Billionaire Manoj Bhargava thinks so. As part of his new hobby to solve the world’s greatest problems – like universal access to clean energy – he built a battery-equipped stationary bike that can provide energy for a home’s basic energy needs, e.g. lights and basic appliances, with one hour of pedaling. Pedal a Free Electric bike and you’ll turn a turbine generator, generating electricity that is stored in a battery. It costs about $100 to make, but don’t cancel your gym membership just yet; the bikes are rolling out (pardon the pun) in India, where millions of homes have little or zero electricity.

Bhargava’s other hobby is tackling the world’s dependence on polluting fossil fuels with geothermal energy. His twist? Use a grapheme cord, which is stronger than steel and an impressive conductor of heat, in lieu of the usual steam-and-chemicals to gather and distribute underground heat. By his estimate, geothermal energy like this could replace 85 percent of fossil fuels. More on Free Electric and Bhargava’s innovations from National Geographic.

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An WalletHub analysis of 48 states’ home-energy efficiency (total residential energy consumption/annual degree days) and car-energy efficiency (annual vehicle miles driven/gallons of gasoline consumed) ranked New York, Vermont, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Utah as the top five overall most energy efficient states. Those who still have the most work to do, according to the study, are Arkansas, Kentucky, Texas, Louisiana and South Carolina, which ranked least efficient overall. (Alaska and Hawaii were excluded from the analysis).

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Hurricanes, aging infrastructure and economic volatility affecting energy costs are just some of the challenges communities face and must plan for. Energy efficiency can help. A report from the ACEEE details how energy efficiency measures improve community resilience by strengthening a community’s buildings and infrastructure, stabilizing or reducing energy costs for citizens, and boosting a community’s ability to adapt to climate change impacts like flooding. For example, a community microgrid reduces net emissions, clearing the air for local residents and stabilizing energy costs. It can also provide backup power to critical facilities in an emergency, allowing residents to shelter-in-place. Get the complete picture with an infographic, here.

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About the Author

Cara Goman

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