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Fuel for Thought – Lime Energy Links for the End of 2016

We’ve gathered some of the latest industry news for you. The calendar has flipped to 2017 and we offer a look at some of the most important energy efficiency updates, featuring an emboldened Energy Department and a growing marijuana industry, that came at the end of 2016.As it prepares for a presidential transition, the Department of Energy is touting its success, having “really changed the world when it comes to energy,” according to an acting assistant secretary with the department. But, as Chris Mooney writes, that transition poses an uncomfortable reality for the DOE. As department leaders tout their role in the development of cheaper and more reliable clean energy technologies, they must also prepare for an administration that has expressed an unwillingness to fund similar initiatives. Washington Post.

Earlier this month, we offered a few pieces of holiday energy saving advice. We included several suggestions about sealing your home and preserving the all-important thermal envelope that keeps the warm air in and the cold air out. We may have missed one common entry point for cold air: the doggie-door. In her weekly advice column, Umbra Fisk explains how this tiny weak point in your home’s insulated exterior could cost you as much as seven dollars or more in wasted energy expenses. Grist.

With reduced costs and improved performance, LED lights are becoming an appealing option for a wider array of industries. One of the newest markets for LEDs, explains Robert Walton, is commercial marijuana growers. In one example cited by Walton, growers in Washington State received utility rebate check for more than $150,000 for upgrading their grow lights to LED. Utility Dive.

States and utilities have huge motivations to help marijuana growers become more efficient. When four states voted to legalize in November, they quadrupled the number of Americans living in states allowing recreational marijuana. That means a dramatic increase in electricity demand as growers increase production to meet consumer demand. As Mike Henchen writes, states are already seeing the impact of the growth of the energy-intensive weed industry. In 2015, after legalization, Colorado’s marijuana load climbed to 300 GWh and experts foresee California’s marijuana industry to consume as much energy as the entire state of Rhode Island. According to Henchen, this growth in the marijuana load will be similar to the load increase associated with the expanding fleet of electronic vehicles and states should (and already have begun to) take measures to mitigate that load increase. Rocky Mountain Institute.

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