Tag Archives: Information

Renewable Roundup and Green Living Fair 2013

Mark you calendars everyone. The Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair of 2013 is just around the corner. This event is set to begin Friday, September the 27th  in beautiful Fredericksburg, Texas and plans to live up to the title of the largest all-sustainable event in the south, and the best!  This fair is a wonderful opportunity to have a great time with the family and see the newest up-and-coming developments for our environment.  The focus of the event is to present the latest information and technology concerning renewable energy, alternative transportation solutions, sustainable farming, and new efficient building technologies. As such, you can learn how to create and save your own energy, attend informative talks from a variety of green living experts, learn about the next generation in personal transportation technology, talk with the vendors about cutting-edge green living and sustainability practices, and – of course – take home or order some of the many products and services offered at the fair.

The fair will be taking place over the course of three days, Friday, September the 27th through Sunday the 29th and will be located in the MarketPlaza (100 East Main Street, 78624 Fredericksburg, Texas). If you’re curious about what you will be experiencing on any given day be prepared for exhibits and on-going demonstrations, fun learning activities for the kids, local and delicious eats, live musical performances and dozens of speakers all neighboring the beautiful Fredericksburg shopping district. For those who want to be closer into the action you can volunteer and contribute your time and skills all while earning a weekend pass and a one of a kind commemorative t-shirt with a unique design created by artist Hunter Ratcliff especially for the fair. You can choose to join and be alongside the hundred plus companies, agencies, and non-profit organizations spread out across the fairgrounds presenting this one of a kind event. You can also apply for an opportunity to speak at the fair and join the talented speakers who will be featuring hands-on information for consumers, the latest in green technology developments, and much more. There will be a wide variety of speakers giving presentations such as “Help Secure Your Future with a 100% Life Sustaining Capable Home,” “Waste to Water For Texas,” “Honey Bee Rescue and Rehabilitation,” “Growing Organic Vegetables all Winter,” “Saving Water through Solar Living,”  “Shifting our Economy by Investing in Local Food Systems,” “Air, Water, and Solar Power on the International Space Station,” and many more.  For more information on how to volunteer, have an exhibit of your own, or be a speaker you can go to theroundup.org to learn more. And for those who care to partake, there will be new Belgium, 100 percent wind-powered brewery’s beers and ales for sale. Also please remember to bring your own reusable water bottle to keep with the theme of the event as filtered water stations will be provided throughout the grounds.     

Not only is this fair a chance to get out of the house and have a fun time with the family, but also a chance to learn something new and take a step towards a healthy environment at the same time. This event fosters greater self-reliance and a more sustainable Texas for a growing population. For more details and information you can visit the official Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair website and be sure to come out for a fun and informative good time.

Written by: Christina Farrell

 

New Research Could Help Increase Diffusion Rate of Residential Solar

According to Dr Varun Rai, solar adopters who installed solar arrays most quickly typically looked to their community for informational support. (Photo credit: www.inhabitat.com)

According to Dr Varun Rai, solar adopters who installed solar arrays most quickly typically looked to their community for informational support. (Photo credit: http://www.inhabitat.com)

As the unmistakable signs of climate change become more apparent by the day, homeowners are putting an increasing amount of thought into their sources of power. One of the most popular alternatives to purchasing fossil fuel-based power is undoubtedly that of solar energy. In purchasing residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, however, there are barriers (mostly financial) that have kept the technology from diffusing as rapidly as some would like. While these financial barriers are well-studied, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are now studying how certain barriers to trustworthy information affect the adoption of residential solar systems and how, if such information were accessed more easily, the process of adoption might become less daunting for consumers while accelerating diffusion.

The Energy Systems Transformation (EST) research group, led by Dr. Varun Rai, an assistant professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and Cockrell School of Engineering, notes in a paper titled “Effective Information Channels for Reducing Costs of Environmentally-Friendly Technologies: Evidence from Residential PV Markets”, which is co-authored by Scott Robinson, that solar PV adopters face particular “uncertainties and non-monetary costs” (UNMCs) that delay the installation of their systems. These UNMCs include information search costs, uncertainties about the future performance and required maintenance of the system, and perceptions of quality, sacrifice, and opportunity cost. By analyzing household-level data that compiled the survey responses of residents who have gone through the process of adopting solar PV systems, the group was able to gain valuable insight into how the delaying effect of UNMCs might be circumvented in the future via an improvement in the organization and exchange of credible information.

Credibility, as it turns out, was found to be a key characteristic of the kind of information that facilitated the decision-making process. This was apparent in the way that those adopters whose decision times were shorter were typically those that had access to trusted information networks, such as friends, family, and neighbors who had adopted solar PV systems. Through these networks, adopters were able to utilize the knowledge that their peers had gathered from experience – which, as the data suggests, was far more compelling than the information they could gather elsewhere. Moreover, those adopters that had simply observed solar PV systems on neighboring households were found to have shorter decision times, which further supports the idea that trusted information about the functionality of residential solar, even if collected passively, is very influential in the decision-making process. Ultimately, the research suggests that an increase in the exchange of information through trusted networks (in both passive and active forms) has the potential to decrease adopter decision times by about two-thirds, which is equal to roughly six months.

So, while information about the use and installation of residential solar systems is not difficult to find, at all – the internet is chock-full of it – the key, according to Dr. Rai, is that adopters obtain information that is from local or trusted sources; preferably a combination of both.

Ultimately, these findings could change the way that government and industry approach the development of residential solar power. Rai suggests that one useful approach might be the establishment of an online communication platform that harnesses the power of local information-sharing, which could provide tremendous benefits at a relatively low cost. Furthermore, they suggest such a platform could be a federally administered hub that aggregates regional installation information, which would be useful in serving as a “one-stop shop” of knowledge for potential solar adopters.

Regardless of the strategy that is ultimately implemented, however, the research is sure to contribute to the development of residential solar power generation. This is especially important, being that current adoption levels are nowhere near market potential.

Dr. Rai’s research paper and accompanying video abstract can be found here.

Written by Diego Atencio, Beyond Coal Intern