Madison, Energy Audits, and Solar Lighting from Ikea!

Greetings from Madison!

We are staying and training in the same building on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, and I can see the state capitol building outside my window. This means several delightful things, not least of which is that I don’t have to go outside if I don’t want to. Moreover, if I do, there are exciting things very nearby – including Soap Opera, a purveyor of fine organic soaps, a fair trade coffee shop, and an American Apparel. Oh yippie chic, how I subscribe to your socially conscious yet socially climbing aesthetic…!

We learned about general energy audit theory yesterday (ASHRAE Level I, Level II, and Level III audits) and started off analyzing our conference center building (an old dorm built in 1959). Out of the 25 people in the class, we have a New Yorker, an Alaskan, a Missourian, a Texan, a Nevadan, and an Illinoisan – it’s exciting to be around people in the energy efficiency field nationwide. There are a couple buildings people (real estate audit coordinator, architect), a couple of utility people, an Air Force base, and some non-profits. Last night, one of my group members and I spent time entering and graphing utility bill data for the conference center. Today, our class gets a half hour to interview the building manager and then study lighting.

Speaking of lighting, I just read the exciting news that Ikea will begin offering SOLIG solar lighting in stores! I want some! (from Engadget via Caleb) Affordable solar. This is democracy in action, folks – difficult to offer politically, easy to achieve ikeaically.

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