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Knowledge Resources

Presented by Don Victory,
Founder & Chair of Energy Mentors

A curated list of reference materials, inspirations, and links by Energy Mentors with suggestions from our many (and sometimes “silent”) collaborators.  Please submit your nominations to:


*Nothing in Knowledge Resources is binding on the judges of the “Power the Community” competition.  This document is provided by the Organizing Committee solely as a resource to competing teams.


Energy Trilemma

1: Energy Trilemma

World Energy Trilemma Index

Healthy energy systems are secure, equitable and environmentally sustainable … Maintaining this balance in context of rapid transition to decentralised, decarbonised and digital systems is challenging with the risk of passive trade-offs between equally critical priorities.


World Health Organization

Household air pollution is generated by the use of inefficient and polluting fuels and technologies in and around the home that contains a range of health-damaging pollutants, including small particles that penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream. In poorly ventilated dwellings, indoor smoke can have levels of fine particles 100 times higher than acceptable. Exposure is particularly high among women and children, who spend the most time near the domestic hearth. Reliance on polluting fuels and technologies also require significant time for cooking on an inefficient device, and gathering and preparing fuel.

NJ Ayuk is the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and below you will find his articles on how the world continues to weigh its demands for energy against the creeping realities of man-made climate change.


Philip Johnston, PhD provides insight into how to learn the landscape quickly.  The following links complement Energy Mentor’s links which skew to our ideas on "How To Do Energy Better"

2: Energy Transition – The Big Picture
3: Benchmarking Prosperity, Energy, and Emissions

The Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Inventories 1.1 (GPC 1.1) offers cities and local governments a robust, transparent, and globally accepted framework to identify, calculate consistently, and report on city greenhouse gas emissions. This version is an update to the original Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories  published in 2014. GPC 1.1 has been revised to align with the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories to clarify ambiguities and to provide further methodological guidance. Table 1.2 in GPC 1.1 provides a comprehensive list of the updates made to the GPC 2014 version.​

IEA reports

  • “Fossil fuel consumption subsidies rose to a record of over $1 trillion in 2022 amid the global energy crisis….”

  • “Almost all of the consumption subsidies … were in emerging and developing economies….”

  • “Governments took various measures to protect consumers from the worst effects of the energy crisis. The most common, as usual, was to fix end-user tariffs or to cap fuel or electricity price increases. For example, the Peruvian government decided in April 2022 to temporarily include several transport fuels in the State Fuel Price Stabilization Fund to curb the price rise. Many advanced European economies limited consumer exposure to the full impact of spiraling natural gas prices. Thailand introduced a price cap of THB 30 (USD 0.85) per liter of diesel. Some successful subsidy reform programs were interrupted: Egypt, for example, extended electricity subsidies, which it had planned to phase out by the end of the 2021-2022 fiscal year...”

Fossil fuel consumption subsidies by fuel, 2010-2022
Government consumer measures to reduce energy bills during the energy crisis
4: Business Model Innovation. Change management.

A sustainable business model is required to deliver technology to the market. Sometimes business model innovation is a crucial enabler of technology uptake. Paraphrasing Hugh E. Keough, Damon Runyon, et al., “Everything is not decided by a great business model, but that is the way to bet.”  

An example: is Commercial Real Estate (CRE). Owners/developers may hesitate to adopt various energy efficiency/technology solutions due to incremental investment costs and contractual risk. (home) has three video case studies (at the bottom of the webpage) where technology deployments appear enabled by business model innovation (three-minute video).

5: The Foundations of Design

Principles Of Design

The principles of design are the rules a designer must follow to create an effective and attractive composition. The fundamental principles of design are: Emphasis, Balance and Alignment, Contrast, Repetition, Proportion, Movement, and White Space. The following are more articles on Design Principles to help guide you in the competition.

First Principles Thinking: The Definitive Guide (  Aristotle defined a first principle as “the first basis from which a thing is known.” 

First Principles: Elon Musk on the Power of Thinking for Yourself (  “Instead of buying a finished rocket for tens of millions, Musk decided to create his own company, purchase the raw materials for cheap, and build the rockets himself. SpaceX was born.”

Integrative Design...
The Great Underused Lever

Energy end-use efficiency’s potential is large1 and little tapped. Yet all official studies substantially understate its potential and overstate its cost because they focus on individual technologies without also counting integrative design that optimally combines those technologies. The efficiency resource keeps getting bigger and cheaper as innovation, competition, and volume make energy-saving technologies more effective and less costly—both faster than they’re being applied.2 But even more critical complementary advances in integrative design remain nearly invisible, unrecognized, untaught, and practiced only by a small subset of exceptional designers.


 Doug Houseman has a series of linkedin posts regarding how the United Staets will gets to zero for the electricity and transportation sectors.  Here are a few of his links to posts on his plan.


Optimizing Energy and Mass Flows

 Process (energy and mass flow) integration (Wikipedia)1 “is a term in chemical engineering which has two possible meanings.”

“A holistic approach to process design which emphasizes the unity of the process and considers the interactions between different unit operations from the outset, rather than optimizing them separately…”

Pinch analysis, a technique for designing a (heating and cooling systems) to minimize energy consumption and maximize heat recovery…”


 1-Pro Tip:  Get to the source.  While peer review journals disqualify references to Wikipedia, sometimes it is a good place to start the search for tracking down sourced, foundational references.

2- Curator’s Note:  Two “pinch analysis” articles by Bodo Linnhoff in Chemical Engineering Progress in perhaps the late 1980’s and early 1990s tooled me to use first principles to render or correct system energy integrations in one swoop.  The first article gave the principles and the methods.  The second article was recognition of the 80/20 rule.  My takeaway was, “If an absolutist approach is taken to efficiency, then in the real world there can be unintended consequences, like overly complex operations, impractical start-up sequences, and overinvestment in capital.” Ironically, once I understood the first principles, I never needed to do a rigorous pinch analysis per se.  For example, it is possible to “see” gross thermodynamic efficiency violations by identifying wide temperature approaches in individual heat exchangers.  And in cryogenic design most simulators have the approaches built into their complex heat exchanger models.  (If anyone can provide the references to those Bodo Linnhoff articles it would be appreciated.)

Key takeaways from Michael Liebreich and Amory Lovins discussion about integrative design and energy efficiency:    

“… doing seven things may get a quarter energy reduction… fifty more may get another quarter…”

“Relentless patience and meticulous attention to detail …”

“Friction in a pipe goes down as nearly a fifth power of its diameter. But its cost goes up as a second order of its diameter… Pipes should be fat, short, and straight; not narrow, long, and crooked.”

“Bend minds, not pipes!” 

“Most people don’t think of design as a scaling vector.”

“It’s not a technology.  It’s a bloody design method.”

6: Community Design Visions & Lessons

The following are resources that we have put together that showcase new innovations in the design of communities around the world.

  • Do we really want to be living in Strong Towns?  Yes?  Strong Towns explores design approaches …

  • A book on architecture and community planning is “A Pattern Language” by Christopher Alexander et al, Center of Environmental Structure: 

  • Out of the box thinking “Lennar is building communities of tiny homes in San Antonio because they are legal there.  They should be legal everywhere.”  

Workers Supervising Construction
7: Lessons from Extreme Events

The following are resources that we have put together to provide lessons on extreme events in nature.

  • Florida community built to weather hurricanes endured Ian barely scratched. Jennifer Languell, sustainability engineer who helped design Babcock Ranch, explains, “The things that we do, you don't see. The strength of the buildings, or the infrastructure that deals with stormwater, or the utilities. You don't see that stuff… Which is good, because most people don't need or want to think about it."

Power Grid Primers

8: Power Grid Primers
  • Microgrid Knowledge  Do you want to know the latest of what is available for community power grids?

  • More co-innovation may be required all around (independent developers, utilities, regulators, etc.) to enable decentralized, distributed grids if this report is representative. 


Electric Grid


9: Electric Grid Architecture:

AC vs. DC.  Tesla/Westinghouse Vs. Edison.  Case closed...or is it?

  • Digital DC Networked Electricity.  “Villages worldwide without access to electricity are now afforded the opportunity for independence by building and managing their own infrastructure. Open the crate, plug the components together, and hours later, multiple homes will have sufficient power for lights, fans, a small refrigerator, TV, and communal water purification. And with our “pay-as-you-go” platform, electricity is affordable and accessible to all world citizens!”

Building Tech

10: Building Tech

District Heating 

& Cooling

11: District Heating and Cooling


Photovoltaic, Passive, Concentrated

12: Solar: Photovoltaic, Passive, Concentrated

Wind Turbines

13: Wind Turbines

Grid Energy Storage

14: Grid Energy Storage

Community Energy

Resiliency Resources

15: Community Energy Resiliency Resources

Building Materials

16: Building Materials

Glass Window

Home Systems

17: Home Systems

Fuel Choices

18: Fuel Choices

Carbon Capture

19: Carbon Capture


20: Hydrogen

"It's The Customer, Stupid"

21: “It’s the customer, stupid.”

Knowledge Is Power

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