Publications

EEI research and project findings are disseminated through a wide variety of publications.

TitleAuthorTypePublish DateDescriptionDownloadSponsor
Everyone Has a Peer in the Low User Tier’: The Diversity of Low Residential Energy UsersDeumling, Reuben, Deborah Poskanzer, and Alan MeierAcademic Journal2018-07-24Low residential energy use is typically associated with undesirable characteristics, such as poverty, thermal discomfort, or small dwelling size. The association of low energy use with deprivation has been an obstacle to promoting more aggressive goals for reduction of residential use. However, there is little research on the composition of the low user population. We investigated the demographics, behavior, and satisfaction of the lowest 10% of electricity consumers in Sacramento, CA, to see what attributes best correlated with low use. Read ArticleCalifornia Air Resources Board
Fuel Consumption Impacts of Auto Roof RacksChen, Yuche, and Alan MeierAcademic Journal2016-05-01The after-market roof rack is one of the most common components attached to a vehicle for carrying over-sized items, such as bicycles and skis. It is important to understand these racks’ fuel consumption impacts on both individual vehicles and the national fleet because they are widely used. We estimate the national fuel consumption impacts of roof racks using a bottom-up approach.Read ArticleU.S. Department of Energy
Developer-Driven Sustainable Communities: Lessons from a Case Study of The Sustainable City in DubaiSanguinetti, Angela, Alan Meier, Nermin Dessouky, and Sarah OutcaultPeer-Reviewed Paper2019-05-01In Dubai, a private developer conceived, built, and now manages, a gated community called “The Sustainable City” (TSC), with more than 2,000 residents, shops, a school, and a hotel. TSC was purpose-built to consume almost no energy and be especially frugal with water, harnessing cutting-edge technologies and green building practices to promise residents both efficiency and luxury.
Read Article
Non-Invasive Assessments of Thermal Discomfort in Real TimeMeier, Alan, Xiaogang Cheng, William Dyer, Graham Chris, Thomas Olofsson, and Bin YangConference Paper2019-04-13People make distinctive gestures or movements when they are thermally uncomfortable, for example self-hugging when uncomfortably cold or brow-wiping when hot. Extreme thermal conditions reinforce this tendency. These gestures may be affected by various competing motivations such as emotional or physiological responses and cultural traditions. Several software applications can now identify and track movements of a person’s skeletal joints or keypoints in real time; these include hands, arms, elbows, head, etc.. A procedure was created to identify gestures related to thermal discomfort and then to decide if a person is uncomfortably warm or cold. When a discomfort-related gesture is detected, it is scored based on the type of gesture and recognition confidence. This score is fed into a “Thermal Comfort Index” (TCI). Read ArticleHeriot Watt University, Ecohouse Initative Ltd.
MANY SHADES OF GREEN: Establishing a Culture of Sustainability in a Diverse, Developer-Driven Expatriate CommunityDessouky, Nermin, Angela Sanguinetti, Alan Meier, Sarah Outcault, and Richard TutwilerArticle2018-12-01We are a team of researchers from The University of California, Davis, and The American University of Cairo, investigating ways to promote a culture of sustainability in planned communities. We have been studying TSC for three years and observing how the community has been evolving over time. It is our assertion that although TSC is a large-scale developer-led community, it illustrates the ways in which the “intention” of a community is integral to sustainable lifestyles. We will discuss how some aspects of TSC’s design and management promote, or present challenges to, the community’s culture of sustainability.Read Article
Turning Paris into Reality at the University of CaliforniaVictor, David G., Ahmed Abdulla, David Auston, Wendell Brase, Jack Brouwer, Karl Brown, Steven J. DavisArticle2018-02-27The Paris Agreement highlights the need for local climate leadership. The University Of California’s approach to deep decarbonization offers lessons in efficiency, alternative fuels and electrification. Bending the emissions curve globally requires efforts that blend academic insights with practical solutions.Read ArticleTomKat Charitable Trust
University of California Strategies for Decarbonization: Replacing Natural GasMeier, Alan, Steven J. Davis, David G. Victor, Karl Brown, Lisa McNeilly, Mark Modera, Rebecca Zarin Pass, Jordan Sager, David Weil, and David AustonProject Report2018-02-05Having pledged to become carbon neutral by 2025, the University of California has embarked on a large-scale effort to evaluate options for achieving this goal. For UC, the central challenge to deep decarbonization lies in reducing and, perhaps, ultimately eliminating the use of natural gas, a fossil fuel consisting primarily of methane. Nearly all CO2emissions (96%) from UC operations come from direct combustion of natural gas (a “Scope 1”emission) and from purchased electricity generated from fossil fuels (a “Scope 2” emission). Therefore, a cost-effective exit strategy for conventional natural gas is vital to achieving the carbon neutrality goal. The UC carbon neutrality goal does not include “Scope 3” emissions, which are other emissions indirectly related to the University’s activities, such as from gasoline burned in employee-owned vehicles.Read ArticleTomKat Charitable Trust
The Complexities of Saving Energy in QatarMeier, Alan, Sinan Sabeeh, and Darwish MohamedPeer-Reviewed Paper2013Qatar presents unusual energy conservation challenges, some of which will appear elsewhere as the effects of climate change and environmental degradation increase. Qatar is endowed with huge reserves of natural gas but no fresh water. All of the fresh water is obtained through energy-intensive desalination processes—which may be responsible for as much as 40% of total gas use--resulting in many links between the supply and consumption of energy and water. Conserving water translates directly into saving energy. About 80% of the electricity in Qatari buildings is used to provide air conditioning; this is the highest fraction in any country in the world. The high rate of infrastructure construction temporarily distorts energy consumption patterns.Read Article
Aligning Occupant Behavior with ZNE Community Goals and Assumptions: Quantifying and Leveraging Behavioral PlasticitySanguinetti, Angela, Sarah Outcault, and Alan Meier2018
Builder-Installed Electrical Loads: Parts of the House That Stay On and OnMeier, Alan, Leo Rainer, and Aditya KhandekarArticle2018-09-14Not too many years ago, when you unplugged all the appliances in a home the doorbell transformer was the only device still drawing power. That’s no longer true—a host of devices now draw power before anybody moves in. The most common devices include ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), garage door openers, and hardwired smoke alarms.Read Article
Cars Are Buildings: Building-like Energy Use in AutomobilesThomas, Valerie M., Alan K. Meier, Siva G. Gunda, and Thomas P. WenzelResearch Paper2011-02-23This paper examines vehicle energy use as if vehicles were buildings. Vehicle air conditioners are much less efficient than residential air conditioners, and in the US consume about 0.9 quadrillion BTUs (quads) per year, comparable to the 2.3 by air conditioners in residences. Vehicle heating, in contrast, is a model of efficiency, running as a combined-heat-and-power system using waste heat from the motor. Electricity use from appliances such as DVD players, laptops, and refrigerators remains modest, although stand-by power use is growing. Technology and policy approaches used for buildings can address similar types of energy use in cars.Read Article
Circumvention Through the YearsMeier, AlanColumn2015-11-10The outrage against VW is justified, but let’s not forget that other manufacturers – a lot of manufacturers – have been circumventing energy and emissions tests for decades. Here are a few of my own experiences.
Read Article
City Carbon Budgets: Aligning Incentives for Climate-Friendly CommunitiesSalon, Deborah, Daniel Sperling, Alan Meier, Sinnott Murphy, Roger Gorham, and James BarrettResearch Paper2008-09-01Local governments can have a large effect on carbon emissions through land use zoning, building codes, transport infrastructure investments, and support for transportation alternatives. Recognizing this, many cities have developed climate action plans, containing a disparate mix of mostly voluntary greenhouse gas emissions reduction proposals. This paper describes an integrated climate policy instrument for local governments: city carbon budgets. We identify and evaluate options for creating an effective and acceptable institutional structure, allocating emission targets to localities, measuring emissions, providing flexibility and incentives to local governments, and assuring compliance. We also discuss the likely costs of such a policy. Our recommended policy structure is based on the principles of effectiveness, equity, efficiency, administrative ease, and political acceptability.Read ArticleInstitute of Transportation Studies
Climate Change and Garage Door OpenersMeier, AlanEditorial2018-12-09California just approved legislation requiring all new garage door openers to have battery backups, so that doors would open even when electricity service is interrupted. The legislation—SB 969—sailed through with almost no opposition. Curiously, the only group to oppose the bill was the industry responsible for garage doors, the people most likely to benefit from it. What’s going on here, and what does this have to do with climate change and home energy? More than you might imagine.Read Article
Dressing for the AnthropocenePoskanzer, Deborah, Alan Meier, Chinmayee Subban, and Margarita Kloss2019As the world gets hotter, we are caught in a dilemma between the need to maintain thermal comfort, while at the same time reducing the use of air conditioning (AC) as a source of GHG emissions. AC has been, and will continue to be, a major driver of growing electricity demand. Space cooling in buildings accounts for 10% of world total electricity use and 12% of building CO2 emissions.Read Article
Emerging Zero-Standby Solutions for Miscellaneous Electric Loads and the Internet of ThingsGerber, Daniel L., Alan Meier, Richard Liou, and Robert HosbachArticle2019-05-23Despite technical advances in efficiency, devices in standby continue to consume up to 16% of residential electricity. Finding practical, cost-effective reductions is difficult. While the per-unit power consumption has fallen, the number of units continuously drawing power continues to grow. This work reviews a family of technologies that can eliminate standby consumption in many types of electrical plug loads. It also investigates several solutions in detail and develops prototypes. First, burst mode and sleep transistors are established as building blocks for zero-standby solutions. This work then studies the application of two types of wake-up signals.Read ArticleCalifornia Energy Commissions