Sign-up for Alerts!

The Toilet Paper Business

 

Reducing energy usage, making appliances more efficient: we all agree that these are good and practical goals. They just haven't seemed very exciting. Until now. 

"I'm in the toilet paper business."
"The toilet paper business?"
"Yep. No one notices it until it's not there."

At the recent National Clean Energy Summit 7.0, Opower CEO Alex Laskey, described hearing this statement from a major utility executive, making a point everyone in the room seemed to agree with: energy efficiency is not glamorous. During the same panel, Ben Bixby of Nest made a similar statement. Nest's revolutionary thermostat allows homeowners to save significant amounts of energy, but the company's marketing pitch is the transformation of "unloved appliances" into cool, high-tech gadgets.

In fact, however, recent news suggests that energy efficiency is getting more glamorous.

Most notably, this year the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to a light bulb, or at any rate, to the inventors of blue light emitting diodes. The efficiency of blue LED lighting is transformative: the technology has the potential to bring lighting to the over 1.5 billion people with no reliable access to electricity grids. LED efficiency has generated entire new industries: some of our most beloved gadgets would not exist without them. In some form or another blue LEDs are present in DVDS, Blue-Ray players,smart phones and tablet screens, among many other applications. 

Companies like Opower and Nest, in fact, are evidence of energy efficiency's growing cool factor. The founders of Nest and Opower were number two and seven respectively on Fortune’s inaugural list of the World’s Top 25 Eco-innovators, and their cohort included innovators and business leaders specializing in HVAC, lighting, and efficiency experts.  Look over “Top inventions of the year” lists for anyone of the last few years and you’ll find that most of them feature at least one or two energy efficiency gadgets: intelligent windows, energy management systems, smart power strips, efficient appliances, sophisticated heating and cooling systems and many more.  

Browse through some of the newer energy efficiency and conservation products, and you'll notice that most of them have been designed to be eye-catching.  View's dynamic glass, which tints in response to external light, is downright beautiful. "The most common response we get when we demonstrate our product," says Rao Mulpuri, CEO of View, Inc, "the single word is 'Wow.'"

 

 

Photos by David Becker/Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

Our Projects

National Clean Energy Summit

National Clean Energy Summit

The country’s most visible and influential gathering of leaders and top policymakers! Learn more ›

NV Clean Energy Hub

NV Clean Energy Hub

$5.5 Billion Investment in Nevada since 2010 in Clean Energy Development Learn more ›

Green Business Guide

Green Business Guide

Giving consumers the power to reward businesses Learn more ›

Annual Awards

Annual Awards

Every year, CEP's Board of Directors recognizes the individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to advancing the clean energy economy. Learn more ›

Facebook & Twitter

@cleanenergyNV

BREAKING: #SB204 Energy Storage & #electricvehicles just passed Assembly. Thanks & congrats @katkinson702 on championing this bill! #nvleg

22 May

@cleanenergyNV

#CleanEnergy Champ @MGMResortsIntl supports #AB206 & making more #renewableenergy in NV. RT to show support! #50by30 https://t.co/7vivWKhc0U

22 May

Clean Energy Project

Nevada Clean Energy Champion and owner of the nation's largest rooftop solar array, MGM Resorts International is breaking with other large casino companies and encouraging support for Assembly Bill 206. The bill would raise the amount of electricity Nevada generates from renewable sources to 50% by 2030.

22 May

More Facebook ›   More Twitter ›