A modest history of inquiry and research on The Resource Imperative. . .

Asking Better Questions
It always begins by asking better questions. Following an invited lecture in 2002, Laitner was asked to write about that perspective as a key to providing smart environmental leadership.  See his short article in the journal, Corporate Environmental Strategy, “Improving Environmental Leadership: Asking Better Questions about Existing Inefficiencies.”

Exploring Non-Energy Benefits
Asking better questions continued. How might a better understanding of non-energy benefits expand the economic opportunity for energy and resource efficiency? Laitner and his colleague Robert Bruce Lung explored this issue in a 2009 working paper, titled: “Non-Energy Benefits from Energy Productivity Improvements: A Cobb-Douglas Approach to Measuring Impact on GDP.

Surprising Technology Trends
Technology trends have always played a prominent role in promoting the more productive use of resources. But sometimes we ask the wrong question. Yes, for example, the scale of information technologies is one of exponential growth, perhaps reaching more than 100 billion networked devices by 2030. That worry drives an understandable and genuine concern about the global footprint of networked devices, about their costs, their energy demands, their climate change impacts and other environmental effects. Working in 2015 with colleagues Matthew McDonnell and Ryan Keller, however, Laitner spearheaded a report suggesting that a systems view might actually reveal a much smaller energy footprint and a greater energy productivity than is generally understood. See, “ICT-Enabled Intelligent Efficiency: Shifting from Device-Specific Approaches to System Optima.”

Creating Roadmaps for the Next Economy
A number of recent collaborations have pulled these many inquiries, together with other explorations, into what our colleague Jeremy Rifkin calls the Third Industrial Revolution master plans. These initiatives include assessments of infrastructure build-outs and regional energy initiatives as they enable the development of a more robust and sustainable economy. Among these efforts is what our Dutch colleagues in the Metropolitan Region of Rotterdam and Den Haag (MRDH) call their Roadmap Next Economy. Serving as the chief economist for this initiative, Laitner produced a contributing report entitled, “Exploring the Potential Economic Benefits of the TIR Roadmap Next Economy Innovation Scenarios.”

More details and resources to be added on a rolling basis. Please check back regularly…