The WGA Energy Efficient Buildings Workshop

The WGA Energy Efficient Buildings Workshop: Overview The Western Governor's Association (WGA)  held a two day workshop in Denver on July 17 and 18.  Colorado's Governor Bill Ritter kicked off the workshop (with a slightly late start due to the shooting of a deranged gunman outside his office on July 16.)  The workshop was a step towards achieving the WGA Clean and Diversified Energy resolution which includes a call for a 20% increase in Energy Efficiency in their states by 2020.  I attended because I believe: Energy Efficiency can and will do more to meet the challenges...

EnerNOC: Demand Response IPO

Lunch with an Efficiency Expert Yesterday, I had lunch with Howard Geller, Ph.D., one of our nation's leading experts in energy efficiency and energy policy. Howard is the director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), former Executive Director of ACEEE, and has a Doctorate in Energy Policy from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. My first question for industry experts is which companies are doing good things in their feilds, and I was especially interested in Howard's answers because energy efficiency is so much more difficult to pin down than most other types of...

Wise Energy Use Stocks for Troubled Times

Part 1: Introduction In a financial world where there seems to be little hope, I see a bright spot in energy efficiency.  This is because energy efficiency improvements pay for themselves in a very short time, in addition to being the best thing we can do for energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Given the current financial crisis, I also believe that investors should focus on companies with strong balance sheets, which will be able to internally fund their investment needs for the next couple years. While I was making the above case, Energy Tech Stocks introduced their...

Ten Alternative Energy Speculations for 2008: LEDs and Ultracaps

Investing in Renewable Energy Stocks seldom fails to be exciting, although it can lead to crushing losses as well as mouthwatering gains (Think Ethanol stocks and Thin Film Solar in 2007.)  With this in mind, I usually emphasize that the majority of most investors portfolios should be targeted towards larger, profitable companies, especially those focused on Energy Efficiency rather than the more sexy Renewable Energy technologies.  This is the philosophy behind Alternative Energy Stocks' Blue Chip Portfolio: companies which aren't sexy, but which still are well positioned to take advantage of rising oil prices and increasing efforts to reduce...

Book Review: Investment Opportunities for a Low Carbon World (Geothermal + Efficiency)

Charles Morand Last Thursday, I reviewed two chapters from the recently published book "Investment Opportunities for a Low Carbon World"*. This post reviews two more.  Geothermal Energy Alexander Richter, Glitnir Bank (now Íslandsbanki) Geothermal is one of the most interesting forms of clean power generation there is. As noted by the author, the most convincing argument for geothermal electricity is the fact that it operates at capacity factors in the upper 90s. This makes it the only renewable technology suitable for baseload power with the exception of dam-based (i.e. large-scale) hydro. However, as...

Three Money Managers See LED Industry Shining in 2013; Their Stock Picks

Tom Konrad LED lights on an outdoor tree. Photo by author This is the third article in my series based on my panel of green money managers’ predictions for 2013.  The first article looked at what they expect 2013 holds for the Solar industry, and the second looked at their predictions  for the Smart Grid.  This installment focuses on the LED industry. Jeff Cianci: Faster than Anyone Expects Jeff Cianci is Chief Investment Officer at equity investment fund Green Science Partners. Cianci says “The trend toward LED lighting for...
Packaged Mechanicals from Factory Zero used by Energie Sprong

The Challenge of Scaling Up Building Energy Retrofits

It’s almost always easier and cheaper to build an energy-efficient building in the first place than retrofitting existing structures. But humanity doesn’t always have that luxury. by Tom Konrad, PhD., CFA The sheer number of older, inefficient buildings means retrofits must be a critical part of decarbonizing the world’s building stock. There’s a pressing need, then, to develop new techniques for performing large numbers of energy-efficiency retrofits quickly and cost-effectively. The average age of a U.S. home is nearly 40 years, while nearly 40 percent of homes in the U.K. were built before World War II. Most building energy retrofits are one-off affairs...

Is Cree, Inc. (CREE) Likely to Burn Out?

Tom Konrad, CFA Pioneering light-emitting diode (LED) maker Cree, Inc. looks overvalued. Light-Emitting Diodes, or LEDs, can be made to shine more brightly by increasing the power to them.  This has the unfortunate effect of overheating the leads and shortening the lifespan of the LED.  A similar effect may soon hit the stock of LED maker, Cree, Inc. (CREE.) Since I began the tradition, Cree has been a mainstay of my annual portfolio of ten stocks for the next year, published each January (See the 2008 and 2009 lists.  The Cree-free 2010 list is here.)  LEDs have been among...

Lighting Science Group Enters into Distribution Agreement for Its Low Bay Lights in Asia,...

Lighting Science Group Corp. (LSGP.OB) announced that it entered into an agreement with OptiLED Holdings Co. Ltd. ("OptiLED(TM)") for distribution of Lighting Science's Optimized Digital Lighting(TM) (ODL(TM)) Low Bay fixtures in the People's Republic of China (including the Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions), Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. The terms of the agreement include payment by OptiLED to Lighting Science of a royalty fee per unit sold within the countries covered by the agreement. The Low Bay LED fixtures replace a wide range of older, inefficient lighting technologies in many types of commercial, industrial, educational,...

This ‘Green’ Sector May Grow 573% to $37.7 Billion by 2020 – And the...

Bill Paul Nobody knows the alternative energy landscape better than Clint Wheelock, whose firm, Pike Research, generates in-depth research on everything from smart meters to carbon capture and sequestration. Now here’s a forecast deserving of far wider attention than it has so far received: by 2020 total revenue generated by energy services companies (ESCOs) could hit $37.7 billion, up a monstrous 573% over 2009’s $5.6 billion. At a minimum, Wheelock expects ESCOs’ revenue to hit $19.9 billion by 2020, a 255% increase. In an exclusive interview last week, Wheelock explained that as much as demand...

The Efficiency Tango: A Deeper Look at Geothermal Heat Pump Efficiency

Tom Konrad CFA Geothermal heat pump diagram via Bigstock A couple weeks ago, I compared the efficiency of the two most advanced geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) recently launched by Waterfurnace Renewable Energy (TSX:WFI, OTC:WFIFF) and Climatemaster, as division of LSB Industries (NYSE:LXU).  Like most things in life, it turns out that heat pump efficiency is a lot more complicated than just comparing a couple numbers. Since I concluded that Waterfurnace’s 7  Series heat pumps were slightly more efficient than Climatemaster’s Trilogy 40 pumps, one of Climatemaster’s district managers pointed me...

Wise Energy Use Stocks, Part 5:Global Services Companies

General Electric (GE), Honeywell (HON), IBM, Johnson Controls (JCI), Siemens (SI)

The Pros Pick Three Green IT Stocks For 2014

Tom Konrad CFA Green 2014 image via BigStock Being green is not all about wind turbines and solar panels.  In fact, it’s usually greener to be smarter about using what we have than to replace it with something new, no matter how green. My panel of professional green money managers understands this.  When I asked them each for their top three green stock picks for 2014, there were as many picks focused on smarter resource use as there were solar stocks. I recently gave...

Ten Solid Clean Energy Companies to Buy on the Cheap: #1 Johnson Controls, Inc....

Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI) has long been one of my favorite energy efficiency picks, with an added bonus coming from their joint venture with Saft to produce batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles.  They have also shown some energy saving innovation making parts for auto interiors. Building EfficiencyEfficient buildings are much more complex than simply replacing inefficient HVAC and lighting with more efficient versions.  Quite often, the most cost effective measures come from using systems more efficiently.  As an analogy to the home, look at any list of quick tips for energy saving around...

Pure Technologies: Making Water Systems More Efficient

Tom Konrad, CFA A reader caught my attention with his description of Pure Technologies (PUR.V, PPEHF.PK), a company that can find leaks in water systems without shutting down the system.  Since I was intrigued, I thought my readers might be as well.  Here's what he has to say.  I've asked him to monitor the comments if you have follow-up questions of your own. Tom Konrad: Tell us a little about yourself and your involvement in environmental investing. Sam Healey: I invest largely in the cleantech sector. I look for companies solving problems that already exist, rather...

Energy Efficiency Policy Recommendations for State Legislators

On Monday, I had one of my favorite sorts of opportunities, which was a chance to influence future energy legislation.  The National Conference of State Legislators invited me to give a short presentation as part of a two-day energy efficiency workshop for interested legislators from across the country.   Given the short time frame, I couldn't say everything I would have wanted, but fortunately, I was part of a large group of excellent presenters, so what I didn't hit, they did.  I focused on my ideas for transforming markets and tackling the many barriers to energy efficiency . Tom Konrad...