The Power of Networking

power-of-networking-01Visitors to the fourth floor CalPlug Center in the Calit2 Building are greeted by the “Wall of Power” – a living room simulation equipped with everyday entertainment and household devices that plug into outlets and consume energy. The Wall has become a popular educational tool for consumers to power on and off devices in order to understand real-time usage and costs.

So popular, that a CalPlug research team developed a travel-sized version to take on the road. Its first stop: The 2012 Emerging Technologies Summit hosted by Southern California Edison.

“It’s an effective public awareness tool that really gets to the heart of everyday energy consumption behavior,” says Arthur Zhang, CalPlug technical manager. “It empowers people to take an active role in energy-efficiency solutions.”

Zhang, along with several undergraduate students who helped develop the application, set-up a display booth at the ET Summit in mid-October showcasing CalPlug’s efforts. The Summit is a biennial event that draws nearly 500 attendees nationwide from all sectors of government and industry who are actively involved in and/or seeking partners for collaborative energy efficiency projects.

“It was a great way to make introductions and heighten CalPlug’s visibility,” explains Stuart Ross, who guides the center’s research development and participated in the exhibition. “We had quite a number of people visit the booth, exchange contact information and suggest other parties who would want to know more about us. It was quality networking.”

power-of-networking-02The official theme of the 2012 ET Summit was “Leading the Way to an Energy Efficient Future” with an emphasis on collaboration. In addition to the exhibition, attendees got in-depth information from presentations and panel discussion on technologies poised to make a dramatic impact on society.

CalPlug was also represented by Director G.P. Li in a roundtable session on utility programs and new technology development. Li explained to the audience the importance for CalPlug’s innovation to extend beyond research labs and into partnerships with industry, utilities, service providers, advocacy groups and policymakers.

“By bridging industry and organizational boundaries, CalPlug serves as neutral ground for multilateral conversations and negotiations, and assists in developing future efficiency standards and incentives for manufacturers and retailers,” said Li.

With funding support from the California Energy Commission, industry and other sources, CalPlug focuses on energy efficiency solutions, efficiency evaluations of consumer electronics, standards development, education and public outreach, and user-behavior studies. The Center was established at UC Irvine in the fall of 2011.

-Shellie Nazarenus, 11.01.12