Sitting in his office, Dan Colbert doesn’t have furniture yet, but he has a vision for the young Institute for Energy Efficiency at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In July, Colbert made his public debut as the executive director of the institute, which was itself announced in February. While the university bureaucracy works to find Colbert a couple extra chairs, he has hewn the basic structure of the institute he hopes will make UCSB a national thought and technology leader in the push to do more with less energy.
“We’re trying to effect real change in the world,” Colbert said. “A big aspect of that is transition of the technology to the commercial world.”
The idea behind the institute is simple: “The cleanest power plant is the one you don’t build,” as computer engineering professor John Bowers, who serves as the institute’s director, has put it. In February, UCSB unveiled the institute’s research goals, which include improving the energy efficiency of lighting, computers, buildings and jet engines.