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In most energy efficiency and Smart Grid projects and pilots, we see shiny new buildings constructed for wealthy inhabitants, who drive and charge their hybrid SUVs and golf carts using state-of-the-art solar panels on the roof of the building. 

This is all nice and convenient, but does not stand for closer scrutiny when it comes to total energy efficiency and carbon footprint of these measures. The small scale solar panels, wind turbines and more complicated construction methods easily generate more carbon dioxide upon their manufacturing than what the building saves during its typical lifetime. 

If we’re really going to increase the societal energy efficiency, technologies must be designed to scale for millions of people, starting from the lowest income classes. Those smallest student and single parent rental flats should be on the top of the list to reap benefits from smart meters, demand response, time-of-use energy pricing and other services offered by quasi-monopoly utilities.

This is more than doable, given that state and municipal owners of these utilities take some action instead of just collecting nice dividends each year. 


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