Chuck Ross

Freelance Writer

Chuck Ross is a freelance writer and editor who has covered building and energy technologies for a range of industry publications and websites for more than 25 years. He specializes in building and energy technologies, along with electric-utility business issues.

Articles by Chuck Ross

June 2015
In February 2014, researchers at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) released a report that outlines how rooftop photovoltaic (PV) arrays, combined with battery-based energy storage could lead electric-utility customers to opt out of the connected grid. Now, a follow-up RMI report suggests that a more likely result of wider PV/battery adoption is partial, rather than total, grid defection. READ MORE
May 2015
The electric utility industry was once so stable that its stocks were called “widow and orphan” investments, certain to maintain value and return high dividends even during downturns. Now, the phrase “death spiral” is frequently used to describe the impact distributed generation and slowing demand could have on utilities’ financial returns. READ MORE
  • Acuity Brand’s Trilia ceiling fixture, chosen by designer Leslie North for her home-based office, is marketed under the Winona Lighting nameplate.
April 2015
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are increasingly common in lamps and lighting fixtures in a range of settings. They are even beginning to dominate in some applications, including high-wattage area and streetlights. With $5 Edison-style lamps now showing up on Home Depot shelves, an LED takeover of the lighting industry might seem to be an all-but-foregone conclusion. READ MORE
April 2015
The community solar market barely existed just a few years ago, but now the concept that allows even renters to invest in their own photovoltaic (PV) panels is going gangbusters in a number of states. Program structures and financing options vary by state, but developers are seeing booming business in a model that makes distributed generation just a little more centralized.
March 2015
Our Houses—or, at least, the houses of the tech-savviest among us—are getting closer to running autonomously. Now, it’s not just that you can open your garage door or turn on your living room lights from a smartphone app. Today, many home devices actually are beginning to communicate with each other. Lock the door on your way out and your thermostat shuts off. READ MORE
March 2015
One of the many advantages 
smart meters were intended to bring to electric utilities and their residential customers was the ability to implement time-of-use (TOU) rates to help reduce peak-time electricity demand. Over the past five years, millions of smart meters have been installed across the United States, but TOU pricing is absent in most of the country. READ MORE
March 2015
Energy-efficiency programs have been a part of electric-utility operations for a decade or more, since state utility commissions began valuing the kilowatt-hours saved (aka negawatts) as an alternative to the new generation capacity they could potentially displace. READ MORE
February 2015
Imagine an energy source buried thousands of feet below us that can best be accessed by sending highly pressurized fluid to open fissures in underground rock. While hydraulically fractured—or “fracked”—natural gas might be the first example that comes to mind, in this case, the source is actually heat emanating from the Earth’s core. READ MORE
January 2015
Chattanooga, Tenn., has been known primarily for its Choo Choo, but lately it has been getting attention for a much faster form of transportation: electrons. The city’s municipal electric utility, the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga, has recently built out an extensive fiber optic network that is being called the fastest in the United States. READ MORE