You Are What You Read? The Stories Readers Liked Best in 2013

Dec. 23, 2013
What do the stories you read say about you? Besides being intrigued by virtual power plants, readers like up-and-coming concepts and technologies, the counter-intuitive, emerging trends and young and rising companies. What story did you read most? There was a tie…

Here’s what we can guess about you, our audience, based on the stories you read the most this year on

You’re intrigued by up-and-coming concepts and technologies. The counter-intuitive draws your attention, as do emerging trends and young and rising companies. You’re looking for news not easily found elsewhere that tells the story of an industry in revolution. And you’re really interested in virtual power plants.

Interestingly, two of the top stories emerged from the same place: the National Summit on Integrating Energy Efficiency and Smart Grid

So, drum roll please, here are the most read stories for 2013 on

Tied for First Place

Can You See the Power Plant in this Photo? No? Welcome to the Age of the Virtual Power Plant

No one likes to admit it, but we’ve all got a little NIMBY in us.  Energy is a good thing, yes, but Not in My Backyard. Power plants just aren’t pretty. That’s why it’s intriguing to see Charlottesville, Virginia – my backyard – on the cutting-edge of a new approach: the virtual power plant, one that you cannot see, smell, hear or touch. That’s right, it’s invisible.

Why Homeowners Don’t Trust Energy Efficiency. And What Might Change Their Thinking

Distrust is one of the single biggest reasons homeowners don’t invest in energy efficiency upgrades. Will the promised savings really materialize? Homeowners are  dubious. “It is obviously pretty hard to get someone to say yes to a value proposition, if they don’t actually believe in the value,” said Andy Frank, president and founder of Sealed, a company whose business model directly addresses this confidence problem

 Second Place

The New Power Couple: Energy Efficiency + Demand Response

Move over Bill and Hillary. An even more electrifying power couple is emerging: Energy Efficiency and Demand Response, or EE and DR as their fans call them. EE and DR may not be well-known beyond the world of energy geeks, but their pairing was the focus of intriguing discussion last week in Washington, D.C. at the National Summit on Integrating Energy Efficiency and Smart Grid, sponsored by the Association for Demand Response & Smart Grid (ADS), the National Association of State Energy Officials and National Home Performance Council.

Third Place

Goodbye Two Guys and a Truck, Hello the Nation. Growing an Energy Efficiency Installation Business Big

It’s commonly held that a small business model best suits energy efficiency installation, what’s dubbed ‘two guys and a truck.’ But a Philadelphia company is intent on showing that scale is possible in the US – national scale. The Mark Group USA is quickly expanding beyond its Pennsylvania base with an eye toward becoming a national energy efficiency installer.

Fourth Place

Are We Investing Energy Efficiency Dollars in the Wrong Buildings?

It’s not easy deciding what buildings merit our energy efficiency dollars. In fact, the obvious choices may be the wrong choices. That’s the takeaway from a report issued today that is bound to stir up some discussion within the energy efficiency industry. Produced by Boston-based analytics firm Retroficiency, the “Building Energy Efficiency Opportunity Report” offers some counter-intuitive advice on how to find the buildings that offer the most  potential for energy savings.

Fifth Place

Are We Over-Hyping Smart Energy — Again

Sometimes we’re spot-on when we predict the future. Other times we blow it horribly. Larry Zarker, CEO of the Building Performance Institute, presented examples of how we misread the smart home’s future – and how we’re paying for it today – at the recent National Summit on Integrating Energy Efficiency and Smart Grid in Washington, DC.

Finally, we’d like to thank you for your interest in and our new LinkedIn group. We plan to expand our coverage of the energy efficiency industry in 2014.  So please visit often. And, if you haven’t already done so, sign up for our free Energy Efficiency Markets Newsletter.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

Twitter: @ElisaWood

LinkedIn: Elisa Wood

Facebook:  Microgrids

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