Category Archives: Technology

Compact Fusion Energy for Urban Power Plants

Lockheed Martin’s Skunkworks is designing and building prototypes for a new generation of compact fusion reactors. These reactors would be about the size of a semi-truck yet supply clean continuous power to fill the intermittent and peak power gaps that utilities need to fill grid power demand.

The problem of most renewable energy sources is that they only generate when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. With the availability of continuous power from fusion reactors, utilities will be able to contract and supply clean, emission free power without relying on a supply chain of fossil fuels. Instead of building large, expensive natural gas peaker plants to supply power, compact fusion reactors could provide a cleaner alternative at much lower cost.

Lockheed Martin compact fusion reactor
The Skunk Works’ recent compact fusion reactor design.

Because of its small size relative to the Russian’s tokamak fusion design International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (a huge system being constructed in France), this system is easier to design and rapidly build prototypes  for specialized applications. See the YouTube video.

This technology is not available now but early versions could be marketable in as little as five years. According to the development project manager, Dr. Thomas McGuire:

“We would like to get to a prototype in five generations. If we can meet our plan of doing a design-build-test generation every year, that will put us at about five years, and we’ve already shown we can do that in the lab. So it wouldn’t be at full power, like a working concept reactor, but basically just showing that all the physics works.”

This technology is a strong conceptual response to Amory Lovins (founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute) call for “Reinventing Fire.” Another “arrow in the quiver” for sustainable power.



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USGBC Green Building Tours – October 3-8, 2016



Green Building tours are one of Greenbuild’s most popular and exciting features, providing the opportunity to explore green buildings ranging from government facilities to zoo exhibits. This year in Los Angeles, Greenbuild tours will help attendees learn outside the convention center walls and present the best of the area’s sustainable buildings and neighborhoods.

The Greenbuild Tours Program is developed by the Greenbuild 2016 Host Committee, USGBC-LA.

Descanso Gardens

About Greenbuild International
Conference & Expo – Oct. 5-7, 2016

 Greenbuild is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. The ideals and passion of the green building community come alive at Greenbuild. The buzz is contagious.

Greenbuild brings together industry leaders, experts and frontline professionals dedicated to sustainable building in their everyday work, and a unique energy is sparked. Participants are invigorated. Inspired. They find themselves equipped to return to their jobs with a renewed passion and purpose.


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L.A. Natural Gas Leak Leading to Power Blackouts?

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 10.19.50 PMAs early as April of this year, speculation was being widely reported that Los Angeles may suffer numerous blackouts because 17 local natural gas power plants are having a difficult time sourcing sufficient fuel for generating electricity.

Normally, a significant percentage of their natural gas is stored at the Aliso Canyon facility. When the facility sprang its massive,  four months-long leak polluting the air in the north portion of the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles County it also depleted the storage tanks that were stockpiling fuel for the peak energy usage months of July through October. They now contain only 20% of what is normal for this time of year!

“How do we make sure we are building the most sustainable city possible?” – Nancy Sutley (LADWP)

As a result, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is scrambling on two fronts to lessen the impact on their ratepayers. First, they are trying to arrange new sources of fuel from neighboring regions. Second, they are appealing to their commercial and residential customers to voluntarily reduce their consumption of power.

Last Thursday (6/30/16) the LADWP hosted a roundtable discussion of their options at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) at their new La Kretz Innovation Center in downtown Los Angeles. LADWP and Southern California Gas each have aggressive incentive campaigns to encourage ratepayers to conserve electricity. In addition, David Hodgins of the Los Angeles Better Buildings Challenge helped address the key question of the discussion posed by Nancy Sutley (LADWP’s Chief Sustainability and Economic Development Officer) – “How do we make sure we are building the most sustainable city possible?”

This crisis is a wake-up call – a wound that must not be allowed to go untreated or to infect other utility assets. It makes it clear that more preventative solutions must be adopted so we are better prepared for future droughts, heat waves, and infrastructure disasters.

The Mayor’s office has already put into place policies (through his Sustainability pLAn and special office) that help guide Los Angeles to develop a sustainable energy system. Installing innovative energy efficiency technologies in commercial and residential structures must continue to be developed to mitigate the demand growth of the region. At the same time a planned approach must feature: consumption monitoring systems, more incentives for better LEED Certified investments, solar installations and storage expansion, and flexible infrastructure encouraging the new decentralized power generation and storage.



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LACI Host “LaunchPad” Welcoming 25 Israeli GreenTechs

Gov. Brown & PM Netanyahu’s MOU on Israel-CA Cleantech Collaboration in Action

Two exciting collaborations are taking place starting today in Los Angeles – efforts to combat the drought and fight climate change through Israeli-California collaboration – which will build off the landmark MOU signed between Governor Jerry Brown of California and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

A delegation of field-proven Israeli companies will engage in the first-ever Israel California Water (ICWater) Conference. The list of attendees includes an impressive collection of key stakeholders, policy makers, city officials, corporate leaders, and investors.

Immediately following the conference, a select group of pioneering Israeli energy and water technologies will participate in “LaunchPad” at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), an intensive “bootcamp” program designed to help prepare the companies to launch into the California market. LACI will also be hosting a high-level event, where the companies will have the opportunity to pitch their ventures to the LACI Leadership Council.

For background on the Israel-CA Green-Tech Partnership and to sign-up for their blog.


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USGBC Build SMART Trailer Tours Los Angeles


Juliana Luz, Scott Miller, and Fernanda Zuin invite visitors to learn more about sustainable building materials, water conservation, and energy saving innovations in the Build SMART trailer.

What has four wheels, 3 solar panels, a dual flush toilet, and is full of the latest sustainable innovations used in building construction?

The BuildSMART (Sustainable Materials And Resources Trailer) mobile learning exhibit, of course! On loan from the USGBC Central Coast Chapter who constructed it (with the assistance of CalPoly San Luis Obispo and sponsors) it is touring various parks and schools around Los Angeles County between April 2016 and 2017.

The trailer demonstrates sustainable living/working environments, illustrating best practices for green building. BuildSMART is outfitted with a variety of materials and systems, including sustainable flooring, recycled countertops, non-toxic insulation, anti-microbial wallboards, solar PV, tankless water heating, among other efficient energy and water conservation methods.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.52.18 PMThe community interest has been very strong and positive serving an estimated 40,000 visitors per year! It is the first exposure many have had to the USGBC, LEED Certification, and many of new technologies  that might motivate students to pursue careers in the industry.

LEED PlaquesBuildSMART is supported by a Community Partner Grant funded by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power. A YouTube video is available to tour the trailer online.

Contact Fernanda Zuin to schedule a visit: or call 213-689-9707.


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Triple Pundit: Energy Storage is Coming Home

TeslaBatteryWhen Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk tweeted earlier in April that the automaker would soon release a power storage product, the Internet went into a flurry of speculation.

Energy storage is becoming a wild card option that must be on the radar of  ESCOs (Energy Service Companies), utilities, commercial property managers, and residential customers. When Tesla’s Elon Musk announced the Tesla PowerWall options that are on slated to become available this Fall, a new vision of what renewable energy generation, storage, security, economics, and management might be like in the coming decades began to unfold.

The benefits of energy storage are many for those that learn how to market, buy, sell, and install it. That is, assuming that the host of federal, state, and utility policy issues stay relatively supportive or, at least, non-threatening. One thing is for sure. Battery manufacturers like Tesla, Panasonic, and Enphase will not only ramp up market supply (dropping production costs) but they will begin to strike up partner package offers to entice customers to buy. Not only will Tesla co-market with their sister company, SolarCity, but they are already planning a DC coupled solution linking their Powerwall with SolarEdge inverters.

Max Bloom, a Renewable Energy Marketing Communications Director in the San Francisco Bay Area posted an article on Triple Pundit that sheds more light on the current state of the market for this rapidly evolving paradigm. Titled “Energy Storage is Coming Home” he cited a recent GTM research report that predicts “behind-the-meter storage (residential, commercial, education, military or nonprofit) will account for 45 percent of the (electricity storage) market by 2019.”


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Top Ten Ways to Save on Home Energy Costs


Did you know that solar power is not the only remedy for your high energy bills? Sure, it’s a fundamental part of any energy efficiency effort, but there are many other steps you can take to drastically reduce your utility bills.

This article provides details on some of the most efficient ways to positively impact your energy












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SDG&E – Measurement and Verification Guide

MeasurementGuidePerformance Tracking + 
Measurement & Verification (M&V)

Measure energy savings and track performance to find opportunities for continuous improvement.

A “how to” guide for developing robust M&V Plans, with samples for: lighting efficiency and controls upgrades; constant-load motors; variable-speed drives; and chiller replacements. Also includes guidelines on generic variable-load M&V; billing analysis using regression models; and calibrated computer simulation analysis. A must read for energy professionals.

This guide defines Statewide Customized Offering requirements for creating a measurement and verification (M&V) plan to quantify the energy savings and the peak electrical demand reduction resulting from your project’s energy efficiency measures.  Use this document as a guide in developing measure-specific M&V plans.

Calculated Savings projects do not require full measurement and verification as described in this manual.  However, short-term and spot measurements such as described in IPMVP Option A. may be required.  The M&V procedures in this section apply to the Measured Savings approach.  For a general discussion of Statewide Customized Offering options and requirements pertaining to M&V, refer to Sections 1.10 and 1.12 of the Statewide Customized Offering Procedures Manual for Business.

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SoCal Gas Energy Resource Center Seminars


The Energy Resource Center in Downey, California is an energy efficient resource for making environmentally-preferable decisions. The facility is 44,572 square feet and earned LEED certification at the certified level in 2009. As a showcase building for environmental and energy efficiency, the Energy Resource Center is pursuing LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance recertification at the Gold level.

Want to learn about the latest in energy-efficient equipment and technologies? Attend technical and foodservice-related seminars at Southern California Gas’ LEED® Certified Energy Resource Center (ERC) in Downey, CA.

ERC at a Glance

This resource center for energy and environmental decision-makers opened in the spring of 1995 in Downey, California, the heart of the Greater Los Angeles and Orange County metropolitan areas. The building is an award-winning model of energy-efficient, environmentally friendly technologies. And an array of practical seminars, demonstrations and consulting services can help businesses find the most cost-effective and energy-efficient solutions to their energy needs.

A visit to the Energy Resource Center can expedite your search for new equipment, while ensuring you have the information you need to make wise choices. And, there’s never a charge for equipment demonstrations.

Seminar Schedule & Enrollment

Seminars like these are just part of our commitment to providing exceptional service.

  1. Sign Up for Technical Seminars

  2. Sign Up for Building Operator Certification Seminars

  3. Sign Up for Food Service Equipment Center Seminars

  4. Seminar Terms & Conditions

Food Service Equipment Center

The Food Service Equipment Center showcases the right equipment to spice up your bottom line.

  1. Call 562-803-7323 to schedule a visit.

  2. Sign up for Foodservice Seminars

  3. Seminar Terms & Conditions

Exhibiting and Speaking Opportunities

Exhibit and/or speaking opportunities exist for many Energy Resource Center (ERC) and Food Service Equipment Center (FSEC) seminars and displays.

  1. Email the Energy Resource Center at

  2. Email the Food Service Equipment Center at

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McKinsey & Co.: Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy

ElectricBulbHandsIn this report, McKinsey offers a detailed analysis of the magnitude of the efficiency potential in non-transportation uses of energy, a thorough assessment of the barriers that impede the capture of greater efficiency, and an outline of the practical solutions available to unlock the potential.

The research shows that the US economy has the potential to reduce annual non-transportation energy consumption by roughly 23 percent by 2020, eliminating more than $1.2 trillion in waste—well beyond the $520 billion upfront investment (not including program costs) that would be required. The reduction in energy use would also result in the abatement of 1.1 gigatons of greenhouse-gas emissions annually—the equivalent of taking the entire US fleet of passenger vehicles and light trucks off the roads.

Such energy savings will be possible, however, only if the United States can overcome significant sets of barriers. These barriers are widespread and persistent, and will require an integrated set of solutions to overcome them—including information and education, incentives and financing, codes and standards, and deployment resources well beyond current levels.

In addition to the above central conclusion, five observations will be relevant to a national debate about how best to pursue energy efficiency opportunities of the magnitude identified and within the timeframe considered in this report. Specifically, an overarching strategy would need to:

  1. Recognize energy efficiency as an important energy resource that can help meet future energy needs while the nation concurrently develops new no- and low-carbon energy sources

  2. Formulate and launch at both national and regional levels an integrated portfolio of proven, piloted, and emerging approaches to unlock the full potential of energy efficiency

  3. Identify methods to provide the significant upfront funding required by any plan to capture energy efficiency

  4. Forge greater alignment between utilities, regulators, government agencies, manufacturers, and energy consumers

  5. Foster innovation in the development and deployment of next-generation energy-efficiency technologies to ensure ongoing productivity gains

Read executive summary (PDF–1.52 MB)
Read full report (PDF–6.37 MB)
Launch interactive
EPRI and McKinsey reports on energy efficiency: A comparison (PDF–120 KB)

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Digital Media Strategists for SoCal electrical contractors…. dba IPLUG MEDIA