Workplace EV charging: Lessons from sustainability trailblazers

July 14, 2020 by  
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Workplace EV charging: Lessons from sustainability trailblazers Marsha Willard Tue, 07/14/2020 – 01:30 Businesses are reaping the environmental and social benefits of providing electric vehicle charging for employees. That’s according to research published last week by Presidio Graduate School (PGS) and ChargePoint, providers of the world’s largest EV charging network. Last fall, a research team from PGS conducted a study on workplace electric vehicle charging practices. In addition to a review of the current literature, the team interviewed sustainability leaders in 24 organizations across the United States. The findings reveal that while still most common in Europe and in U.S. coastal states, the speed of EV adoption makes creating the charging infrastructure an imperative for both the public and private sector. Leading organizations have made a solid business case for providing workplace charging and other EV related employee incentives or benefits. Below are some key findings of the study: Employers recognize that demand for charging will only grow; in many cities such as Portland and San Francisco EV charging in workplace parking lots is already both an expectation of employees and a city mandate. Business plays an important role in facilitating EV adoption; providing EV charging to employees is increasingly easy to justify to corporate executives.  Providing charging at the workplace increases employee satisfaction and makes it easier to attract and retain workers. Supporting EV commuting and investing in EV fleets help organizations meet their greenhouse gas reduction targets.  Employers are worried less about upfront costs and are thinking long-term about strategies to optimize their investment.  Key strategies to maximize benefit To get the most out of the investment in workplace charging stations, the corporation and other organizations participating in this research study focused on these four key implementation strategies: 1. Assure availability What the study participants learned is that while you may not see a lot of EVs in your parking lots now, they are coming and they catch on faster once workplace chargers become available. Bank of America, for example, saw a 50 percent increase in the number of EV commuters in just one year after installing chargers, reinforcing the theory that EV adoption is mostly hindered by a concern about being able to charge away from home. In trying to determine how many chargers to provide, the participating organizations often underestimated the demand and recommended thinking ahead when planning. Once available, chargers become an important amenity to employees. Study participants reported not only increased satisfaction with the workplace, but ncreasingly, an expectation that chargers be available making them part of nearly all our participating organizations’ recruiting and retention packages. In trying to determine how many chargers to provide, the participating organizations often underestimated the demand and recommended thinking ahead when planning. Some progressive cities such as Salt Lake City and Duluth, Minnesota  are beginning to mandate chargers in all new construction. The required number varies from 1 to 5 percent of spaces depending on the jurisdiction. Forward-thinking businesses, such as those in our study, believe these requirements are conservative and plan to expand the number of available chargers. LinkedIn, for example, which covers about 10 percent of parking spaces with EV chargers, is building toward a target of 20 percent. 2. Allow dynamic pricing Most study participants saw value in providing free charging for employees. What they have learned is that it not only builds employee satisfaction, but also encourages EV adoption. While there is a strong commitment to providing free charging, an increasing number of organizations are opting to charge fees for lingering at the stations. In an effort to optimize the use of the charging stations, it is common to assess a fee after a car has been parked at a charger for more than four hours. This is made possible by using “smart” chargers — chargers connected to a network that allows managers to not only tailor fee structures but to send alerts to users as well as monitor usage and capture greenhouse gas-related data.  3. Optimize energy management Study participants understood that the expected increase in demand for workplace charging will require more attention to power management. In addition to meeting the extra demand without over-tapping their capacity, they also want to assure the most efficient use of the charging infrastructure. Power management features available on some chargers enable site managers to maximize the number of charging ports before having to upgrade existing wiring or panels. These systems also enable management to assure that charging EVs never exceed the maximum aggregate electrical load, thus avoiding potential peak load charges. These systems also enable managers to control when and how much energy is being tapped to maximize consumption during those times of the day when renewable power is most plentiful. Organizations serious about using an EV program to lower their carbon footprints may find an increasing need to invest in renewable power. 4. Source from renewable power Most study participants power their chargers with lines from their existing building panels, so the electricity comes from the same generation source as their buildings. This is the most cost-effective method for powering the chargers, but it links the carbon impact to the generation source provided by the region’s utility. If the local utility is powered mostly by coal generation plants, the carbon savings may be negligible.  Organizations serious about using an EV program to lower their carbon footprints may find an increasing need to invest in renewable power. Amazon, for example, plans to increase its renewable energy usage from 40 percent to 100 percent by 2030 . Bank of America already sources 91percent of its energy from renewable sources and will be rolling out on-site solar generation at more than 60 of its locations in the next two years. A number of the research participants already have invested in their own on-site generation, and 55 percent report that they are looking to add or expand this capability in the future. When self-generation is not feasible, organizations have increasing opportunities to source renewable energy through their utilities.  Electrification of vehicle fleets will markedly reduce greenhouse gasses. Employers have much to gain and much to offer in this transition. Offering on-site, electric vehicle charging not only will contribute to the infrastructure needed to speed this transition, but also benefit companies that offer this amenity.  To hear a fuller story from one of our study participants, visit the recording with Erik Hansen of Workday. Pull Quote Organizations serious about using an EV program to lower their carbon footprints may find an increasing need to invest in renewable power. In trying to determine how many chargers to provide, the participating organizations often underestimated the demand and recommended thinking ahead when planning. Topics Transportation & Mobility Infrastructure Electric Vehicles ChargePoint Collective Insight Thinking in Systems Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Herr Loeffler Close Authorship

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Workplace EV charging: Lessons from sustainability trailblazers

Could COVID-19 open the door for driverless deliveries?

April 14, 2020 by  
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The COVID-19 pandemic has put an incredible strain on global supply chains, from medical supplies to household goods, as spikes in demand stress-test logistics infrastructures. There is an opportunity for unmanned delivery vehicles to assist in addressing this demand and help to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

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Could COVID-19 open the door for driverless deliveries?

What past disruptions teach us about reviving supply chains after COVID-19

April 14, 2020 by  
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In the long term, the need for visibility into supply chain data, and ability to provide services digitally across borders, whether for telehealth or education, is clear.

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What past disruptions teach us about reviving supply chains after COVID-19

Nest Labs: Automating the demand side of the smart grid

May 9, 2013 by  
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Want proof that the smart-grid ecosystem is alive and well? Nest Labs' news that it has signed partnerships with some of the US's biggest utilities should suffice. But more innovation is still needed.

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Nest Labs: Automating the demand side of the smart grid

How Companies Can Meet the New Demand for Fair Play

January 24, 2012 by  
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At a time when much of the world's population is demanding fair play, fair treatment and responsible capitalism, what might corporations do to demonstrate as much support and enthusiasm for fair trade as they do for free trade?

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How Companies Can Meet the New Demand for Fair Play

The Alternative To Keystone XL Pipeline: Ship The Oil By Rail

October 26, 2011 by  
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Altex Energy /Promo image Like any good TreeHugger I am against the Keystone XL pipeline, really I am; but as I wrote in Is the Keystone XL Pipeline Protest About Tar Sands or Politics? , the problem isn’t on the supply side, it is the demand. As Mat noted in Limited Export Capacity Behind Big Push For Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline , without the pipe there are not a lot of places for the oi… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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The Alternative To Keystone XL Pipeline: Ship The Oil By Rail

Taking a Look at Demand Response’s Bright Future

October 13, 2011 by  
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Tim Healy, the CEO of EnerNOC, talks about how demand response can be an insurance policy for the grid, and how his company has succeeded at getting individuals and businesses alike to cut their energy use.

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Taking a Look at Demand Response’s Bright Future

California Governor Signs Shark Fin Ban Into Law

October 10, 2011 by  
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Photo by StormyDog via Flickr CC Great news for sharks came on Friday in California when news hit that Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 376 into law, banning the sale, trade and possession of shark fins. The hope is that by hitting the market from the demand side, the supply side will be easier to slow down, and perhaps eventually stop. However, this bill was not without a great deal of controversy, especially among the Asian American community. … Read the full story on TreeHugger

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California Governor Signs Shark Fin Ban Into Law

Mad Like Tesla: Underdog Inventors and their Relentless Pursuit of Clean Energy (Book Review)

October 10, 2011 by  
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Images credit Clean Break Tyler Hamilton has been writing about green tech for the Toronto Star for six years, and is a regular source of stories on TreeHugger. Hamilton first became fascinated with Nikola Tesla while writing a story about Marconi, the so-called “Father of Radio.” Except he wasn’t; Tesla was, beating Marconi by 5 years. In fact the list of Tesla’s accomplishments is lengthy and impressive, but he was his own worst enemy when it came to his work, and was considered by many to be crazy. He spent his last years with his only friend, a pigeon…. Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Mad Like Tesla: Underdog Inventors and their Relentless Pursuit of Clean Energy (Book Review)

Compressed air system to save wind power for future use

September 6, 2011 by  
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Nandini Moulik: Wind Turbines Wind energy stored as compressed air As the demand for clean energy from renewable resources soar, implementation of technologies to save and maximize energy usage always remains the top priority. Given the situation of fast depletion of fossil fuels and environmental concerns, SustainX, a West Lebanon-based start-up has decided to use compressed air technology of storing wind energy generated by wind mills and producing the energy at peak hours. Air compression technology is not a new conception, but SustainX has come up with bigger plans to make it commercially viable. The wind generated by the windmills can be compressed and stored in underground caverns or depleted oil fields, which can be released later to produce power when the demand is high. This will reduce the dependency on fossil fuels. Storing of wind energy is a problem, but the necessity of storing this energy is ever increasing with the government imposing stringent rules in maximum power harnessing from renewable resources. SustainX has been successful in demonstrating a 40-Kilowatt prototype and is presently engaged in finishing a 1Megawatt project. The biggest advantage of compressed air technology is that it can generate power from the stored wind energy even when the wind is not blowing. The compressed air can be released to rotate the turbine blades and dispatch power according to the demand. This concept of Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) has been lurking in the minds of engineers for few decades, but then technical difficulties and the cost proved to be great barriers. Presently, higher energy prices have created a situation to implement compressed air technology to cater to the demand of clean energy market. Lack of enough storage space to store the compressed air for large scale power production is a big hindrance. SustainX has overcome this problem through the use of above the ground storage systems. The conventional turbine system does not work in above the ground storage tanks and SustainX has introduced pistons. These are cost effective and with better compression ability it can store more energy. Thus, above the ground storage tanks can store more energy than the same capacity underground caverns. Moreover, the pistons can function at a wider range when the tank pressure is too low to drive the turbines. Air compression generates a lot of heat and decompression requires heat. Much of the heat generated during compression gets wasted. The efficiency of CAES can be increased if the heat generated during compression can be stored. SustainX introduced a fine water spray in the cylinder to absorb heat generated during compression and the same hot water is used as a fuel during decompression. No wastage of energy and no extra heat requirement. The energy efficiency has shot up from 54% to 95%. SustainX uses electricity to drive the pistons in the storage cylinders. During energy release, the decompressed air drives the piston to run a generator. SustainX is working hard on isothermal compressed air technology due to its better energy efficiency. However, underground storage caverns are being considered more economically viable than above the ground storage tanks due to limited capacity of power production by the latter. Via: Technologyreview

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Compressed air system to save wind power for future use

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