Smart meters are providing consumers with hourly and daily energy use information. But does it inspire conservation?
Post on Oct 07, 2011 by Lauren Sommer
Smart meters are providing California households with their hourly and daily energy use information for the first time. Consumers use less electricity, studies have shown, when they can see that data. But getting them to pay attention to energy in the first place may be the biggest hurdle.
When a megathrust earthquake strikes, scientists around the world know in seconds. But what about hundreds of years ago? How, exactly, do scientists know there was a megathrust quake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone on January 26, 1700 between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.? The answer lies in a ghost forest discovered on the Washington coast that reveals the secrets of one of the most powerful earthquakes to hit the planet.
About a month ago, thousands of abalone and other invertebrates washed up along the Sonoma coast, killed by what people thought was probably a red tide, a.k.a. a harmful algal bloom. An interdisciplinary team of researchers banded together to find out what was going on.
The largest energy user in the United States is the U.S. Military. Its annual energy bill runs about $15 billion dollars a year, which is why the Department of Defense has developed a keen interest in finding other ways to meet its energy needs, including investing in alternative energy.
QUEST takes to the high seas with researchers Dirk Rosen, James Lindholm and their crew to study the underwater world off the California coast. In recent years, the state has established a network of marine protected areas to help fragile habitats and struggling fish populations bounce back. But are they working?
In a dark lab at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, engineers and mathematicians are developing new burners and studying different flames in hopes of better understanding the power of fire and how to make the most efficient flame possible.
Coal produces nearly half the electricity in the U.S., but the mercury, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide it emits also makes it one of the most controversial energy sources. For many environmental activists, coal represents an old, dirty source of power, but for coal-mining communities around the country, the story is different.
Coal generates half of all the electricity in the U.S. It’s also the biggest source of global-warming emissions and other air pollution. The coal industry says the answer is not to phase out coal, but instead to produce “clean coal.” Anne Glausser of QUEST Ohio reports on the difficult path for clean coal.
Half of the airborne mercury pollution in the US comes from coal-fired power plants. After years of study and debate, the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to announce new limits on mercury from coal plants in November. Meanwhile, utilities are scrambling to meet other new federal regulations and industry groups are asking the government to slow down.
California is known for its "green" reputation, so it might be a surprise that residents in Southern California still depend on coal power when they turn on the lights.
Over the last 15 years, more than a billion dollars has been spent to protect Lake Tahoe's clear waters from runoff and erosion. Now, new threats to lake's clarity are emerging, just as restoration funding is drying up.
Plastic is forever, with virtually every piece of petroleum-based plastic ever made still in existence. That's why it's so critical to oceans and beaches that we dramatically reduce our use of plastics, especially single-use plastics.
On the windswept tarmac of the former Alameda Naval Air Station, an inventive group of scientists and engineers are test-flying a kite-like tethered wing that may someday help revolutionize clean-energy. QUEST explores the potential of wind energy and new airborne wind turbines designed to harness the stronger and more consistent winds found at higher altitudes.
"Ocean Babies on Acid" focuses on an experiment that Stephen Palumbi and UC Davis marine biologist Eric Sanford are doing to study the effects of ocean acidification on sea urchin larvae off the California and Oregon coasts.
When listening for orca whales underwater, researchers distinguish their sounds from other noises such as boats, ships, and other sea animals with hydrophones. Learn how these instruments work in this web extra from QUEST Northwest.
How does San Francisco’s 600 tons of compostable waste become a nutrient-rich material that improves the quality of our local wines? Agronomist Bob Shaffer, Northern California’s “compost guy,” takes QUEST into the composting process.