Program

The detailed program below provides information for speakers and participants on the subject matter of the conference.

Questions to be explored may include:
  • Renewable Energy - esp. wind & solar - inc. transmission & storage
    • What is the current potential for renewable energy in Michigan?
    • Wind
      • What are the challenges of small scale wind?  large scale wind?
      • What led to the success of the Lake Winds project vs. the cancellation of the Duke project?
      • How are challenges of siting addressed regarding industrial wind?
      • What are the storage and transmission challenges of large scale wind?
      • What challenges face off-shore wind in the Great Lakes?
    • Solar
      • What are the largest solar projects in Michigan?  What makes these successful?
      • What has been learned from small scale grid connected solar?  FIT / EARP?
      • What are the challenges of having solar PV on energy home?
      • What are storage and transmission challenges?
      • How have installation costs changed, per KWH, over the past 10 years?
    • Storage
      • Other than chemical batteries, what other energy storage systems exist, especially for homes?
      • Other than pump storage, what large scale storage systems exist?
      • How have energy storage costs changed over the past decade?
      • What have been the false promises or hoaxes?  What areas of storage hold promise?
      • Is compressed air a realistic storage solution for Michigan?
      • At what point of renewable penetration would a second pump storage facility be suggested?
    • Transmission
      • What would be the challenges of importing renewable energy to Michigan?
      • What challenges would a greater penetration of wind/solar have for Michigan's grid?
  • Energy Efficiency & Conservation - inc. Passive House Standard, Plug In Electric Vehicles
    • Construction
      • What is the payback period on the construction of a new passive house?
      • Are there passive house standards for schools?  businesses?  industry?  What are some examples?
      • What are the challenges and benefits of renovation a home / building to passive house standards?
      • What lessons from passive house construction can be applied at low cost to help improve efficiency of buildings?
      • How does LEED compare to Passive House Standard?
    • PEV
      • What is the penetration of PEV in Michigan?  What is planned for the next few years?
      • How many charging stations are there?  How much do they cost? (coin operated?)  What is the charging time?
      • How does CO2 production compare between a full hybrid vehicle and a similar sized electric vehicle assuming the electricity comes from the grid (and assuming x percent from coal; y percent from nuclear; etc. given Michigan's current energy mix?
      • What are the challenges with end life of PEV and full hybrid vehicles?
      • What country / city / community has the highest PEV penetration?  What is the design of their charging infrastructure?
    • Public Transportation
      • Would a hyperloop be an option for transportation in Michigan?
      • Which cities?  Grand Rapids - Lansing - Detroit?
      • What other options are there for more effective public transportation?
  • Hydrocarbon Deposits - inc. Extraction, Transportation, Fracking, Peaking & Supply Restrictions
    • Resource Limits
      • What ever happened to peak oil, peak coal, peak resources?
      • What have been the price trends for oil? coal? natural gas?
      • At what rate are they being extracted?  Accelerating or decelerating?  
      • What plans are being followed to preserve these resources for the future?
    • Fracking
      • What is the history of fracking in Michigan?
      • What is the before and after of fracking?
      • How are challenges of siting addressed?
      • What is the state and municipalities doing to ensure safety? preserve resources?
      • What is the conservation plan for carbon deposits under Michigan?  How is that similar or different for the state forest stewardship plan?
  • Carbon Dioxide, Global Warming & Climate Change
    • How has climate change impacted Michigan in the past million years?
    • How is global warming different?
    • What are concerns regarding human health, wildlife, plant life, food growth?
    • What are expected impacts on weather? seasons? snowfall? rainfall?
    • What is proposed to limit and reverse global warming?
  • Food Growth & Distribution
    • How much food is currently grown in Michigan?  Enough to feed the population?
    • How much is now produced by small farmers / gardeners for direct sale, including farm markets?
    • What foods might be more/less successfully grown with a changing climate?
    • Is an additional growing season a potential for Michigan?
    • What are effective ways to reduce or eliminate farm pollution, especially run off from pesticides and farm animal waste?
  • Land Use & Urban Planning
    • What is the state of land use in Michigan?
    • What has been proposed for Detroit, especially in areas of lower population density?  What has worked in other cities?  What has been tried in Detroit?  How might the bankruptcy of Detroit impact the whole of Michigan?
  • Economics Update - inc. breakthroughs and findings in economic research
    • What assumptions on previous economic theory have proven invalid?
    • How does research-based thinking help inform better decision making?
    • What have been the major lessons learned from the 2008 economic crisis?
    • How has "free trade" impacted Michigan?
    • What are "ecological economics"?  "biophysical economics"?  How do they inform economic decisions?
    • What public education would be beneficial on research-based economic reasoning?
  • Big Picture / Systems Thinking - Energy, Economy, Environment, Civilization
    • How has energy shaped human society?
    • What forward thinking design decisions have been successful in Michigan?  Other states/countries

Passive House Film - Michigan Premiere

48% of all CO2 generated and energy consumed in the U.S. is from the construction and operation of buildings. Climate scientists and national governments agree that CO2 emissions must be reduced 80% by 2050. A new building energy standard, Passive House, meets this reduction goal. Passive House: A Building Revolution describes this standard and the methods to achieve it. 
 
The film contrasts the Passive House 80% energy-reduction goal with the 20-40% energy-reduction goals of Energy Star, LEED, and the National Association of Homebuilders’ Green Building Program. It introduces Life Cycle Analysis showing how the 5-10% increase in the initial cost of building a Passive House yields far greater lifetime savings in energy bills. 
 
It also tells the story of America’s super-insulated house movement of the 1970s, which led to the development of the Passive House standard in Germany in 1991. Over 40,000 Passive House buildings – homes and apartments as well as commercial, institution, and industrial buildings – have been constructed worldwide. 
 
The film also introduces the importance of retrofitting the 116 million existing homes in the U.S. It showcases architects, builders, and homeowners from across the country as they share their experiences of building a new Passive House or doing a deep-energy retrofit.

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