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Analyzing the Hottest Topics in the Energy Efficiency Community during 2018: What Can We Learn? What's It Mean for Next Year?

Love 'em or hate 'em, end of the year rankings, lists, reviews, etc. are a trend that's not going anywhere. I happen to love these 'year in review' type content, and so I wanted to go back through Energy Central's Energy Efficiency Community for the year of 2018 and see what topics, articles, and posts resonated most with our members. Doing so can serve multiple purposes:

  • In my nascent role as Community Manager here, it will give me a good idea of the topics you all like talking about so we can try to find even more stories in those arenas
  • For the wider energy industry, it could be a good indicator of where the focus has been recently and will likely to continue to be-- this provides you an idea of where your time, money, and reading should center
  • It can wrap a nice little bow on 2018 and start a discussion on where we all see the world of energy efficiency shifting in 2019.

To determine the hottest topics, I went through the year's posts and identified the ones with the greatest amount of conversation in the comments as well as the topics that received the most 'likes' (if you didn't know, you can press the thumbs up button on any post to indicate to the author and to the community that you 'liked' it-- this is a great tool to show how valuable you find members' submissions, even if you don't have anything to add in the comments :)  )

The following posts are my scientifically decided 'hottest' posts: 

Building the energy efficient market place- this article about how energy efficiency policies alone, without any new technology, could achieve 40+% of the emissions cuts needed to reach climate change goals generated some great discussion by community members.

Don't undervalue efficiency- this article strikes a similar note about how efficiency should not be overlooked as a climate strategy in favor of just renewable energy, while also prompting a similarly vigorous conversation from community members

Digital Measurement of Electricity is a Game Changer- One of the most 'liked' articles in the community this year, instead of discussing the need for efficiency this article highlighted a way to diagnose where  efficiency is most needed

Going Virtual: The Pinnacle of Energy Efficiency- this post then moves to solutions, sharing some emerging and critical strategies for maximizing energy efficiency, namely the use of virtual/digital alternatives for physical travel & purchases. Some great discussion ensued

The growth of Smart Appliances and what it means for utilities- this article shifts to analyzing where the trends in efficiency have been and are likely to continue to be, smart appliances. The interplay between smart home products and the possibility for utility efficiency was one of the frequent topics that came up time and time again in very popular posts

Forget Cryptocurrency, It's All About Energy as Currency- blockchain and cryptocurrency were inescapable this year and within the energy industry, and specifically the energy efficiency community, the story was no different. Of the many stories on how energy and cryptocurrency overlap and will be an important story moving forward, this story takes the approach of discussing how energy efficiency as a service and cryptocurrency can elevate each other. 

What in the EE world are you working on?- Another type of article that proved popular with the 'likes' throughout the year were articles like this one that turned the mirror onto the community and asked for their feedback, for what they were working on, and to share their thoughts with the community. 


Lessons from the most engaging topics

These posts highlighted above were just a sampling of the many successful and popular links, posts, and questions posted in the Energy Efficiency Community throughout 2018, but they're a representative selection of the topics and the type of posts that resonate with you all. As I read through them, the takeaways I found were:

  • Unsurprisingly, this community finds that energy efficiency needs to be even more highlighted in the arena of energy/climate policies than they already are. These topics will surely be important in 2019 as climate policies are expected to be proposed and, hopefully, include more than just a nod towards efficiency
  • Many of the solutions that appear to be hot at the moment are in the sectors of Internet of Things/smart products and blockchain topics. I'd expect the focus on these topics to only intensify in 2019
  • As a community, we're very interested in what others are doing and sharing what we're doing. I love seeing this and I want to foster that feeling going into next year-- so look out for opportunities from Energy Central to continue sharing and discussing.

Are there any other topics you think were particularly popular and important in 2018? Any predictions about new topics that will come out of nowhere to take the focus in 2019? Please discuss in the comments below!



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Matt Chester's picture

Thank Matt for the Post!

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