Green Grid Radio

Engaging and transformative reporting on the environment, energy, and sustainability


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S5E2: Thinking Outside the Green

We started out here at Green Grid Radio reporting on how to make our energy sources “green” — our very first episode was called “Renewable Energy at Stanford and Beyond”, followed by easy listening “Integrating Wind and Variable Resources in a Renewable Power Future”. Since 2012, we’ve broadened our focus dramatically, bringing you shows on meat, ocean privatization, the sharing economy, climate activism, and coffee.

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This shift happened for many reasons, but one personal motivation I had to produce shows beyond discussions of energy research was this talk I went to back in 2013. Ozzie Zehner, author of Green Illusions, gave a lecture about the darker side of solar energy production that is rarely discussed in the mainstream environmental discourse. I was fascinated, read his book and called him up to be interviewed on Green Grid Radio.

As you’ll hear, Ozzie suggests some tactics far outside the traditional scope of environmentalism that are refreshing, potentially high impact, and . . . fun! Listen to this episode if you’ve gotten tired of hearing the same old story about how to make the world a greener place.

Hosted by Adam Pearson and produced by Diane Wu.

Featuring audio from this talk by Chris Field, and this Swedish television show.

Music: “Night Owl” by Broke for Free.

More on converting garages for other uses in San Francisco here and a 2014 report about housing in the Bay Area authored by SPUR here. And here’s that study on TV ads and letters to Santa!


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Coming up in S5E2: An interview from the archives!

Hello listeners! This week we’re bringing you an episode featuring Ozzie Zehner, author of Green Illusions and subject of my very first Green Grid interview back in 2013.

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Ozzie Zehner. Photo from kcad.edu.

Though this piece has been sitting in our archives for a few years, don’t worry — it’s aged gracefully. The discussion of energy production versus energy reduction is still fascinating, and you’ll hear how revisiting this conversation recently helped me shake off some environmental ennui. You will also hear what Swedish children’s television sounded like in 1970.

The episode will be released this Thursday May 7 on iTunes, at Soundcloud, and right here on this very blog.


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S2E10: Recap Roundtable with Returning Panelists

In our last episode from season two, we were joined by Stanford student leaders and former panelists Rob Best (Stanford Solar Decathlon), Tim Burke (Engineers for a Sustainable World), and Andrew Ponec (Stanford Grid Alternatives). We discussed several themes and ideas from the season, including the culture of sacrifice that can be intertwined with sustainability, “bright greens” vs “dark greens”, and the potential implications of President Obama’s new cabinet choices. Some fresh ideas from our panelists included the role that data might play in boosting the energy efficiency industry, and how rallying our nation around a concrete, tangible goal might accelerate the transition to a clean energy future.

S2E10: Recap Roundtable with Returning Panelists

Sunset over transmission lines in Dubai. Photograph by Diane Wu.

We’ll be off this week for spring break, but check back the week of April 1 for the debut of Season Three!


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S2E9: Energy Efficiency Local Rebates and Policies

This week, Bill Brittan of  The Green Pro Network and Jasmine Wei, a Stanford student and intern with Green Pro Network joined us to speak about how we might demonstrate the benefits of investing in energy efficiency for homeowners. There exists a wealth of resources and rebates out there, and Green Pro Network encourages folks to claim these rebates. We also discussed how poor planning of outfitting and locating buildings lead to poor energy efficiency and how California’s system of decoupling the electricity providers incentivizes them to promote energy efficiency, which is not the case in all states.

We rounded up the episode with Hannah Rich and Hanni Hanson from Students for a Sustainable Stanford, who spoke about their organization’s projects, upcoming events and how to get involved.

S2E9: Energy Efficiency Local Rebates and Policies

Staffers at Green Pro Network. Image credit: Green Pro Network

Listen below:


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S2E6: Ecovillages: Sustainable, Cooperative Lifestyles that Really Work

Last Thursday, the Green Grid Radio team approached the topic of ecovillages and cooperative living. In “Ecovillages: Sustainable, Cooperative Lifestyles that Really Work,” Tony Sirna spoke with us about the inception and operation of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, an intentional community in northeast Missouri. Sirna, an alum of Stanford who lived in Synergy (a cooperative house on campus), wanted to create social change after graduating and implement the cooperative living model in the real world. We spoke with Tony about why he decided to start Dancing Rabbit; how the community works socially, politically, economically, and environmentally; and how he hopes to use Dancing Rabbit as a model for the rest of the U.S. of how to live in harmony with your family, your neighbors, and the planet. Student guests Hannah Rich and Aliza Gazek, current residents in Columbae (another cooperative house on campus), joined us as well to talk about their experiences living cooperatively. Sirna, Rich and Gazek all expressed hope and excitement at the idea of using larger-scale intentional communities to educate the public and live sustainably beyond college.

S2E6: Ecovillages: Sustainable, Cooperative Lifestyles that Really Work S2E6: Ecovillages: Sustainable, Cooperative Lifestyles that Really Work

Alongside coops, other groups on campus initiate low-budget, high-impact projects to benefit the larger community. Tying in with that notion, this episode also featured the next “Energy on the Farm” segment with Sasha Brownsberger of the Green Living Council. We checked in with GLC on their activities this year. You can listen to this week’s fascinating episode below:

Listen here:



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S2E5: Powerhouse: How Video Games Can Produce Serious Energy Efficiency

On Valentine’s Day, the Green Grid Radio team unveiled the fifth episode of the season, “Powerhouse: How Video Games Can Produce Serious Energy Efficiency.” Professor Byron Reeves‘ PhD students, James Scarborough and James J. Cummings stopped by to share their perspectives on the Powerhouse video game as a part of Stanford ARPA-E Initiative project. Can we leverage the millions of gaming hours being played globally into initiatives like energy efficiency? Who are the gamers these days, anyway? Well it turns out that homeowners may be the exact audience most amenable to the sway of video games. This week’s guests brought a fascinating social and behavior psychology perspective to how people can have a large role in reducing the demand side in energy consumption, all through video games. Please enjoy this week’s episode below:

S2E5: Powerhouse: How Video Games Can Produce Serious Energy Efficiency

James Scarborough in the studio to discuss social gaming and the Powerhouse project.

Listen here: