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RMI in Brief: News From Around the Institute

 

Project Get Ready

Launched in early 2009, RMI’s Project Get Ready (PGR) worked with over 25 cities and 40 strategic partners to develop and disseminate best practices for electric vehicle integration and adoption. PGR’s accomplishments included the oft-cited EV City Casebook, which details the policies, incentive programs, and customer behaviors of 16 pioneering cities and regions around the world. Now, RMI is shifting gears from PGR to the Autocomposites Commercialization Launchpad to kickstart the mainstream adoption of lightweight-yet-ultrastrong carbon fiber to dramatically increase automotive fuel economy and enable affordable electrification with fewer batteries.

SUPEREFFICIENT HOUSING INITIATIVE

RMI’s Superefficient Housing Initiative (SHI) addressed an important issue: the disproportionally high utility bills that burden low-income American families and the housing agencies and organizations that support them. Our 2013 report Superefficient Affordable Housing: Solutions to Hurdles identified barriers to making affordable housing more energy efficient and proposed a series of solutions, while our collaboration with Denver Housing Authority and other partners sought to make healthy, cost-effective low-income housing that saves at least 60 percent of energy costs a reality. We maintain an advisory role to many of these groups, even as we focus our efforts on other important parts of the building sector

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AT THE EXCHANGE

The Exchange, the Department of Defense’s oldest and largest retailer, operates retail and convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants, theaters, and other businesses on military installations in 50 states, 5 U.S. territories, and more than 30 countries. RMI partnered with the Exchange to improve energy efficiency dramatically across its main stores and food courts, focusing on a subset of 24 malls that represent 35 percent of the Exchange’s total domestic mall square footage and 38 percent of the company’s domestic mall energy consumption. Following analysis at military bases in Colorado and Kentucky to identify oppertunities, Exchange CEO Tom Shull has earmarked $30 million for energy efficiency retrofits to help reach this goal.

SHAPING A NEW ENERGY FUTURE IN MINNESOTA

The State of Minnesota plans to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050 and for its largest utility to source 31.5 percent of electricity from renewables by 2020. Yet, Minnesota still spends $13 billion annually to import natural gas, oil, and coal. So what might a clean energy future look like for Minnesota? RMI is working with the state to answer that question. In October 2013, RMI and Minnesota’s Department of Commerce (MN DoC) hosted a stakeholder session, followed by an RMI-led report the MN DoC submitted to the state’s Legislative Energy Commission in January. The next step—should the legislature opt to pursue it—would be a Reinventing Fire-like energy future study.

ACCELERATING EFFICIENCY, SOLAR, AND NET ZERO IN FORT COLLINS

RMI continues its work with e-Lab and the City of Fort Collins, CO, to accelerate the city’s ambitious energy and climate goals and develop on-the-ground solutions to reach those goals. Our analysis and report to the city, Stepping Up, found Fort Collins could reduce its energy-related carbon emissions 80 percent by 2030, two decades ahead of its existing 2050 greenhouse gas reduction target, with a net benefit totaling $261 million compared to business as usual. Meanwhile, our ongoing work with Fort Collins Utilities is developing a set of initiatives that can be piloted in FortZED, the city’s downtown net-zero-energy district, to drive increased energy efficiency in buildings and greater adoption of solar PV and other distributed resources.

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