PECI Blog

Where we ask our experts to share their insights into the energy industry, sustainability and life at PECI. Let us know what you think – we love a good conversation.

Remember when you were a kid in science class and you learned about how all snowflakes are different? I don’t know about you, but I had a hard time believing it. Billions and billions of snowflakes fall every year and I was supposed to believe that each snowflake formed a unique crystalline structure that was singular and could not be...
I’ve been in the energy industry for nearly four decades, but I came to it, and to PECI, largely by chance. I graduated from Boise State University with a degree in economics. One of my professors happened to work part-time with the Idaho Office of Energy, calculating energy savings and evaluating the state’s early energy efficiency programs. When he left that position to pursue other research, he recommended me to take his place. It was compelling, politically charged work. The Idaho Office of Energy was part of the governor’s office and we serviced federal grants to increase energy...
In part 1 of "The Goldilocks Principle or How I Learned to Stop Over-Analyzing and Love Data," Erin plead her case for small-, medium-, nano- and big-sized data, and introduced a love story around decision-based data analysis.  Since we’re deep in the midst of World Cup mania, I thought I’d discuss a soccer-related example. Last week, I had a heated argument with some girlfriends about the...
I’m a little bored of the hullabaloo surrounding big data. What about little data? Or medium data? Super- or nano- or INFINITY-sized data? As an analyst who has wrangled with all sizes, shapes and flavors of data, I don’t like to discriminate. All data are beautiful, messy, imperfect and raw. And the more the merrier, because information overload is an amazing privilege. You might ask, “Erin, what Kool-Aid are you drinking and how did you learn to love information overload? And what does Goldilocks have to do with it?” To answer your first question, I learned to love information overload by...
Energy Information Systems (EIS) are a hot topic in the Energy Efficiency industry, as are all data-related technologies right now. But what are utilities, building owners, property managers and facility operators most interested in with regard to EIS? I had the privilege of presenting on EIS and EIS-enabled programs at this year’s National Conference on Building Commissioning (NCBC).  The 2014 Conference gathered leaders in commercial building and energy-related industries to engage in meaningful professional networking, stimulating presentations, and a challenging knowledge exchange,...
I recently presented at the 2014 National Conference on Building Commissioning (NCBC) hosted by the Building Commissioning Association (BCA). The presentation was titled, “Plug Loads: Identifying opportunity in a quickly growing and oft neglected end-use,” and fell within a larger session with the theme of, “Methods for Achieving Designed Performance.” The hope was to get commissioning providers and building owners and...
AESP Spring conference is focused on marketing and implementation, and I was impressed by the quality of the work presented this year. This was absolutely the best AESP Spring event I have attended, and I brought home a number of ideas that I will share with my team and our clients.  Overall, there were several themes throughout the presentations: People are measuring (almost) everything related to marketing. This was the biggest take-away for me. More than I have ever seen at a utility marketing conference, marketing staff is using data to drive...
At the ACI National Home Performance Conference in Detroit, it was announced that Affordable Comfort, Inc. (ACI) and the National Home Performance Council (NHPC) are merging to create a new entity called the Home Performance Coalition (HPC).  Together with the HPC, Building Performance Institute (BPI), Efficiency First, and Home Energy Magazine have signed a letter of intent to align their activities, goals, and tactics. Efficiency First, in particular, will continue to grow as an independent membership organization representing the voice of companies and organizations in the building...
There are few things I love more than geeking out over new technology, and the energy efficiency industry is flooded with cool tools right now. For years PECI has been tracking the evolution of energy monitoring tools, customer engagement software, gamification, and other technologies, always looking to see how these new products could be integrated into our programs. This month I get to play with another one of those new tools, as PECI is creating “The NCBC Challenge,” a social engagement game for the National Conference on...
I’m just back from conducting PECI’s first hands-on commissioning lab, and couldn’t be more pleased with the result! The facility we used is the Mechanical/Electrical Technology Department at Sacramento City College (SCC) where HVAC technicians are trained. It’s a playground of central plants, packaged units, deconstructed equipment and classrooms, ideally comingled for easy access. The central plant was designed for technology demonstration and includes multiple types of systems - a water-cooled chiller, ice storage system,...

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