Laura Sanchez 2016-08-02 13:57:25
At nightfall on December 20, 1880, 23 arc lights switched on along Broadway Street, casting the New York cityscape in a blue-tinted glow. In that moment, Broadway became one of the first streets lit by electricity in America. While eerie to some and dazzling to others, the invention of electric light introduced an entirely new way of life: the experience of illumination. It’s hard to imagine that an act as small as passing a current through a filament could forever alter every aspect of culture, industry, and landscape. But as soon as electric lights switched on, workdays became longer, architecture was transformed by elevators and skyscrapers, and evening social activities made a new word necessary: “nightlife.” Electricity also connected communities as homes and businesses became part of an energy network. Edison’s Pearl Street Station became the country’s first energy generation facility in 1882. And its central power plant design became the model for power generation and distribution nationwide. We find ourselves today in a new era of innovation. It’s an exhilarating moment that marks the emergence of new technologies and intelligent energy solutions that encourage us to rethink current energy pathways. We honor this evolution within the pages of Business Energy, with stories that offer technical insight to support the dynamic shifts taking place. For, much like the electric light’s invention, these advancements will forever change the way we live, work, and do business. Whether powered by turbines or renewable resources, microgrids offer inventive energy architectures as well as unprecedented reliability and resiliency. In “Microgrids & Microturbine Power Trends” (pg. 16), we look at their dexterity in providing energy to both remote locations and localized communities in which electricity is exchanged among neighbors. We explore the solar industry’s market acceleration in “Why Solar, Why Now?” (pg. 24), as well as game-changing technological advancements. Solar’s reduced costs, widespread deployment, and ability to integrate into an array of modern grid configurations contribute to the changes taking place in the energy landscape and make it an increasingly viable option in the commercial, industrial, and manufacturing sectors. Buildings consume about 40% of our nation’s energy output. Today, with focused efficiency efforts, we’re able to take measures at the construction level to offset energy usage for the life of the building. “Zero Net Energy Schools” (pg. 30) shares exemplary accounts of three school buildings designed to produce enough energy, via integrated renewables, to offset their consumption. Advancements in energy are changing the way we live and learn. “Electricity Fuels Education” (pg. 38) inspires us with the story of an innovative, off-grid PV system, designed by Schneider Electric that is bringing electricity to 127 rural classrooms across Kenya, offering students enlightened learning environments by extending the reach of modern energy networks. If you’ve ever wondered how to improve the productivity and atmosphere of your organization, peruse “Illuminating Technology” (pg. 10). The article reveals that LED color temperatures can influence the human body’s complex biological processes such as circadian rhythms, mental focus, and mood. It explores ways in which lighting affects us on a cellular level and the importance of color temperature selection for various business applications. The electric light bulb inspired one age of illumination, altering the social and economic structure of society. Today, our world is once again experiencing an electron-inspired transformation. And, it’s one that touches every aspect of our experience. What effect will this technology have on your business? BE
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