“Switch Blade”, A Statewide Collegiate Wind Turbine Competition, Announces Full Slate of Teams

“Switch Blade”, A Statewide Collegiate Wind Turbine Competition, Announces Full Slate of Teams

Huntsville, Ala. – “Switch Blade”, a wind turbine competition in which high school and college students redesign and manufacture the blades of a military wind power system, has successfully filled all slots for open teams. Participating teams come from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (two teams), Alabama A&M University, Columbia High School and Hartselle High School. Participating teams are receiving a $500 stipend to defray the cost of participation. The stipends were made possible through generous support by the Association of Energy Engineers Huntsville Chapter and Avion Solutions. The public competition date is set for April 22, 2015 on the UAH campus.

“We’re so excited to have a full slate of teams competing from around the area,” says Daniel Tait, CEO of Energy Alabama “and the amount of local support for this effort is really incredible.”

The Switch Blade Project is a joint effort of Energy Alabama, Avion Solutions, Inc., Energy Huntsville, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center. For more information visit: https://alcse.org/switchblade.

About the Energy Alabama

Energy Alabama is accelerating the transition to sustainable, clean energy throughout Alabama. We achieve this by widely promoting sustainable energy as a feasible, state-wide goal, by executing high-impact clean energy projects across the State, and by providing people with information and opportunities to help make clean energy choices. We work with policy makers, public agencies, local governments, educational institutions, utilities, business and civic leaders and individuals to transform Alabama’s energy marketplace and beyond. ALCSE is committed to NetZeroHSV – powering Huntsville with 100% clean and efficient energy by 2025 and Alabama by 2035.

About the Energy Huntsville Initiative

Energy Huntsville is a nonprofit collaboration of more than 100 businesses, federal agencies, universities, and other organizations focused on facilitating the innovation, education, and coordination needed to drive our community’s energy economy.  Energy Huntsville contributes to the diversification of the region’s research and test portfolio, workforce, and economy by linking the engineering, modeling and simulation, testing, and technology strengths of the North Alabama region with key customer requirements and national policy directives for advanced energy systems and applications.

About the University of Alabama in Huntsville

The University of Alabama in Huntsville offers over 80 areas of study, is ranked #1 for “Return on Investment among AL Schools”, has launched two satellites into space, and is home to over 12 on-site research centers. While UAH is one of the nation’s top research institutions, the University has also become a leader in sustainable initiatives for other Alabama universities.

About Avion Solutions, Inc.

Avion Solutions, Inc. is the 2014 Small Business Champion of Energy, awarded by Nexus Energy Center in Huntsville.  Avion supports clients within the Department of Energy’s Portfolio Manager Program.  Avion is a professional product and engineering service organization, specializing in the solution of technical and operational problems through the application of research, analysis, and software technology.

About US Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center

AMRDEC’s mission is to plan, manage and conduct research, exploratory, and advanced development, and provide one-stop life cycle engineering, technical and scientific support for Army manned and unmanned aviation weapon systems, missile weapon systems and related or assigned weapons systems and their support systems. AMRDEC’s Energy Lab is focused on energy modernization of 266 buildings on Redstone Arsenal and on military systems developed and deployed by AMRDEC. Reduced power bills on military bases and reduced fuel consumption on the battlefield can result in more funding available to provide the best tools and technologies to deployed troops.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Daniel Tait by phone at (256) 303-7773 or by email at dtait@alcse.org.

Building a Social Movement

There’s a great story from the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Dan and Chip Heath about a man riding an elephant. When you visualize this scenario it seems that the man is in control. His instructions and swift movements direct the elephant at will. But there is something a little more fundamental that we all recognize. The man is only in control to the point the elephant is willing. The elephant, if provoked, could easily toss the man off his back.

We also battle this dynamic within us between the rational side of our brain (the man riding the elephant) and the emotional side of our brain (the elephant). We often do what we logically know is not the best option.

In order to truly effect change or motivate someone to act, it is not enough to convince the man riding the elephant. We must also motivate the elephant. 

I tell this story to make an important point about getting to “net zero energy“. Facts and figures will not win the day. They are necessary to be sure but we must start with the emotion, the why. No change will ever happen unless those who need to change understand why they need to change. When it comes to “net zero energy” we all need to make changes, and many of us realize that, but few of us understand the why.

At ALCSE we are working on building a social movement. One of our goals at ALCSE is to educate people about why this change needs to be made and why they should make this change. But, just as importantly we hope to inspire this change and this movement to “net zero energy.” The greatest changes in our history were won with passionate people who inspired us all to act. We hope you’ll act with us. 

Community Collaborative Launches the North Alabama Building Performance Challenge to Save Energy, Money, Create Jobs.

Huntsville, Ala. – Energy Alabama, Energy Huntsville, and Avion Solutions, Inc. announce the formation of the North Alabama Buildings Performance Challenge (NABPC) to reduce energy consumption in participating commercial buildings across Huntsville. The NABPC will use a process of energy benchmarking, auditing, and substantive energy-efficiency upgrades of university, hospital, and commercial buildings as a means of freeing up business capital for more productive uses, stimulating growth for communities, fostering new business opportunities, and creating a more sustainable footprint. Initially, over 100 buildings will be participating in the challenge, with broader participation expected over the next few years.

 

“This initiative will provide the local community the ability to realize the benefits of energy efficiency through established energy benchmarks and focused energy improvements with real ROIs. Avion has already realized a 50% improvement with an ROI in the first year!”
Randy Buckner, Director of Research and Development for Avion Solutions, Inc.

The NABPC aims to support the Department of Energy’s goal of helping businesses save nearly $40 billion annually in energy costs, enabling them to grow, invest in new technology, and create American jobs. Financial savings and improved building efficiency are just a few of the benefits to property owners and building operators involved in the effort.

The NAPBC will unite the public sector with the business and nonprofit communities to carry out substantive building upgrades toward the goal of improving participating buildings’ energy performance a minimum of 20 percent by 2020. The effort is already underway with a voluntary benchmarking initiative for Huntsville’s commercial buildings.

About the Energy Alabama

Energy Alabama is accelerating the transition to sustainable, clean energy throughout Alabama. We do this by widely promoting sustainable energy as a feasible, state-wide goal, by executing high-impact clean energy projects across the State, and by providing people with information and opportunities to help make clean energy choices. We work with policy makers, public agencies, local governments, educational institutions, utilities, business and civic leaders and individuals to transform Alabama’s energy marketplace and beyond. ALCSE is committed to powering Huntsville with 100% clean and efficient energy by 2025 and Alabama by 2035.

About the Energy Huntsville Initiative

Energy Huntsville is a nonprofit collaboration of more than 100 businesses, federal agencies, universities, and other organizations focused on facilitating the innovation, education, and coordination needed to drive our community’s energy economy.  Energy Huntsville contributes to the diversification of the region’s research and test portfolio, workforce, and economy by linking the engineering, modeling and simulation, testing, and technology strengths of the North Alabama region with key customer requirements and national policy directives for advanced energy systems and applications.

About Avion Solutions, Inc.

Avion is a small business located in Huntsville, Alabama and provides engineering and logistics services to key customers in the federal sector.  Avion is a Sponsoring member of the Energy Huntsville Initiative and has been selected to develop the plan to add the Huntsville community into the DOE Better Buildings Challenge.  Avion is committed to energy efficiency and as an ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager participant, has demonstrated a 50% increase in their ENERGY STAR score in the first two years of their energy focused activity.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Daniel Tait by phone at (256) 303-7773 or by email at dtait@alcse.org.

Take the Long Term View on Gas Prices

By now you’ve felt it. The happiness that comes with filling up the gas take at half of what it used to cost. Great news right? Well, yes and no. We’re very happy that lower gas prices are putting more money into the pockets of US consumers. This is wonderful for the US economy in the short-term. Especially when those savings are captured and put to use saving energy in your home through comprehensive energy efficiency or investing in renewable energy!

More troubling though are indications that people are now making long-term decisions based on what could very well end up being a short-term change. Sales of SUVs and trucks are starting to climb. Many people are worried that highly efficient vehicles like electrics and plug-in electrics will slow.

Most indications are that gas prices will stay low through 2015 but will start to rise again. What will happen in 2016? No one can be certain of anything. Anyone who has lived through the last 10-20 years can say that prices will be volatile at best. We encourage people to think twice before purchasing inefficient vehicles based on today’s gas prices. You may come to regret it next year.

The only thing certain is change. That means that the decisions you make today should not be based only on the present, but on what may, and likely will, happen in the future. Make choices that are focused on what is in the best benefit of everyone when it comes to your energy use, and that includes vehicle energy efficiency. Choosing highly efficient vehicles, including electric and hybrid vehicles will benefit you not only today but far into the future. No matter whether gas prices rise, your costs will stay low. But, just as important is knowledge that you are making wise choices for the future of energy efficiency.

Choose wisely, choose sustainable energy!