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The Efficiency Expert
During the 1960s in Australia, there were periods of labor unrest due to changes made by various industries to modernize and/or increase profits at the expense of jobs. These changes...
Film Review  December 4, 1992, by Pamela Bruce
"...During the 1960s in Australia, there were periods of labor unrest due to changes made by various industries to modernize and/or increase profits at the expense of jobs. These changes were often instigated through the advice of highly-paid consultants known as “efficiency experts” who derived their opinions from cold facts and figures, rather than from the compassion of dignity and respect..."

Lobbying for Energy Efficiency
Coalition aims to reduce state's electricity consumption and costs through expanded utility efficiency programs
News Story  June 16, 2006, by Daniel Mottola
"...If scientists' stark climate change warnings aren't enough to move people toward more efficient ways of using energy, then, as costs rise, the financial drain on businesses' bottom lines and individuals' pocketbooks surely will. That's what founders of new coalition Efficiency Texas had largely on their brains, anyway..."

Energy Efficiency One Way or Another
Wanted: new rules to ensure funding is available year-round for consumers seeking to lower their electricity use
News Story  October 13, 2006, by Daniel Mottola
"...Efficiency Texas, a project of Austin-based energy consulting and lobbying firm Good Company Associates, which is made up of both utility customers and private companies, filed a petition with the Public Utility Commission of Texas on Sept. 27, asking for new rules to ensure that funding is available year-round for consumers seeking to lower their electricity use...."

Energy Efficiency Awakening at Capitol
Mindful of predictions that state's energy reserve margins will fall short by 2008, Legislators question whether new coal plants are a logical response, file energy-efficiency bills
News Story  March 16, 2007, by Daniel Mottola
"...The latest report, by D.C. nonprofit the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, commissioned by Environmental Defense, suggests that energy efficiency measures and renewable energy, combined with significantly expanded peak energy demand response systems, can meet 107% of the state's new peak-energy demand through 2013 – resulting in consumer savings of up to 50% over energy from new coal plants..."

AISD 'Efficiency' Study: Not Exactly What the Doctor Ordered?
An efficiency study commissioned by AISD comes back with some surprising recommendations
News Story  June 12, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...Last August, Austin Independent School District commissioned an "efficiency study" from consultants MGT of America, in theory to provide material for discussing new directions and potential cost savings for the district. But this week – after the firm delivered a list of up to $392 million in potential savings over the next five years – district staff and the board of trustees are suddenly holding the report at arm's length and treating it like an uninvited guest...."

AISD Efficiency Study Thwarted by Math
About that 'efficiency' ...
News Story  June 19, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...A week after it was first delivered, district staff and members of the Austin Independent School District board of trustees were already concerned about methodologies used and conclusions reached in the $455,000 districtwide efficiency study commissioned from MGT of America (see "AISD 'Efficiency' Study: Not Exactly What the Doctor Ordered?," June 12). Now additional questions have been raised about the numbers in the report – and whether they even add up...."

Energy Efficiency Is All Important
Postmarks  September 17, 2007
"...Dear Editor, UT's "The Affordability Toolbox" listed in the "No Room at the Complex" [News, Sept. 14] article should have included energy efficiency as a means to control overall rental costs..."

Corporate Evolution: In-House Chef Serves Efficiency
Chef Ari Dvorin feeds morale of corporate clients
DAILY Food  August 13, 2013, by Carly Yansak

Wynn Weighs In
Mayor talks about Green Home Tax (and how there's no such thing)
DAILY News  June 11, 2008, by Richard Whittaker
"...One interpretation is that Wynn is clarifying exactly what the proposed energy efficiency ordinance means. Another is that he's stamping on the increasingly histrionic claims that it's a point-of-sale imposition requiring full weatherproofing and gerbil-powered cooling systems..."

Fred Claus
Awash with amazingly talented actors – Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Miranda Richardson, Rachel Weisz, Kathy Bates, Kevin Spacey, to name a few – Fred Claus is sadly just an early lump of coal under the tree.
Film Review  November 9, 2007, by Toddy Burton
"...Before long, he's teaching the elves about rock & roll and cutting loose and becomes the frequent target of angry elves bent on protecting Santa. So trouble brews, and toy-making is threatened, which gives ammunition to Clyde (Spacey), the angry efficiency inspector looking for reasons to shut down Santa’s workshop..."

Supremes Reject Ballot Lawsuits
Court denies requests that Council rewrite proposition language
DAILY News  August 28, 2018, by Michael King
"...Late Monday, the Texas Supreme Court rejected lawsuits – literally, requests for “writs of mandamus” – that would have required City Council to rewrite ballot language for one proposition directing an “efficiency audit” and another requiring a referendum for any comprehensive land-use code revision...."

Two Ballot Lawsuits Before State Supremes
Petitioners sue over Audit and CodeNEXT language
DAILY News  August 20, 2018, by Michael King
"...As expected, petitioners have sued the city of Austin over the language drafted by City Council on the “efficiency audit” and the “waiting period” and public vote for any comprehensive land-use code provision (e.g., CodeNEXT). Due to short deadlines, the case was taken directly to the Supreme Court...."

Brewster and Carole, Together at Last?
The opposed pols find common ground against city website proposal
DAILY News  March 25, 2009, by Wells Dunbar
"...McCracken, who's made local tech growth a tentpole of his campaign, says "Investing taxpayer funds for web operations only makes sense if the investment dramatically improves government efficiency and stimulates the local economy. I am not satisfied that the website redesign proposal before Council meets either objective..."

Kitchen Stories
The science of efficiency is undone by the unpredictability of human emotion in this Swedish comedy.
Film Review  April 2, 2004, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...The scientists of Sweden’s Home Research Institute have had this caution repeatedly drummed into their heads. A post-WWII group of home scientists, the institute conducts efficiency studies designed to bring science to the placement of kitchen work stations so that women need to take fewer steps to accomplish the same amount of work and conserve human resources..."

The One
This One's for you if (a) you dug The Matrix but found it a bit too highbrow; (b) you appreciate movies to the extent that they resemble video games; or...
Film Review  November 2, 2001, by Russell Smith
"...This One's for you if (a) you dug The Matrix but found it a bit too highbrow; (b) you appreciate movies to the extent that they resemble video games; or (c) you'd pay to see Jet Li in anything -- and I do mean anything. Announcing its flagrantly derivative nature with a title referencing Keanu Reeves' character from The Matrix, The One is a “thrill ride” movie with all the predictability, brevity, and industrial efficiency that cliché implies..."

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
“I like your early, funny movies better,” someone tells Allen's filmmaker alter-ego Sandy Bates in Stardust Memories, and it's difficult not to echo that sentiment in the real world as...
Film Review  August 24, 2001, by Marc Savlov
"...Briggs, a Runyan-esque character who always gets his man (Allen even says so). Briggs' life is thrown into professional turmoil when his company's newly hired efficiency pro Betty Ann Fitzgerald (Hunt) arrives and takes an instant dislike to his unconventional style..."

Better Than Chocolate
As meltingly delicious as it is to the eyes, and as potent a sugar rush as it delivers to the libido, this endearing romantic confection delivers about as much real...
Film Review  September 17, 1999, by Russell Smith
"...But, like many other films that have boasted both a high likability quotient and a positive social message, it seems to be getting a bit more credit than it really deserves. And as far as I'm concerned it's no favor to allow a filmmaker of Anne Wheeler's obvious gifts to operate so far below peak efficiency...."

The Monster
Begnini is mistaken for a sex criminal and murderer by the Italian cops. Hilarity ensues.
Film Review  June 21, 1996, by Joey O'Bryan
"...As always in a Benigni comedy, the plot is secondary to the gags it sets up, and, remarkably, hardly a scene passes in The Monster without at least a few huge laughs. While this is mainly due to the impeccable comic timing of the entire cast, one should not overlook the compact efficiency of the screenplay, nor the effectiveness of Benigni's exuberant direction..."

Bulletproof Heart
Director Mark Malone makes an impressive debut with this modern film noir about a hit man who falls in love with his victim. This cold-blooded drama stares unflinchingly into the...
Film Review  August 4, 1995, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...But what hit man Mick (LaPaglia) finds there, for the first time in his career, is compassion and humanity rather than the usual nihilistic ennui. The movie's opening sequence shows Mick at work: He's the best at what he does, and he does it with an artful efficiency and chilling detachment..."

Point of No Return
Unlike another recent European remake which shall remain nameless (The Vanishing), John Badham's American take on Luc Besson's 1991 La Femme Nikita not only manages to maintain the stylistic and...
Film Review  March 26, 1993, by Marc Savlov
"...Gabriel Byrne is likewise excellent as the enigmatic “Bob,” her mentor in the ways of the shadow government. A volatile mixture of steely efficiency and compassion-lite, Byrne seems to be an actor who can do no wrong these days -- his role of Bob is more fully fleshed out than the original, without revealing too much of the character's mysterious nature..."

Double Impact
Well, what should we discuss here to commemorate the opening of yet another Van Damme movie weeks before it heads off to the TV sets of those with very strange...

Film Review  August 16, 1991, by Kathleen Maher
"...This time, it's a little tougher for these creative geniuses because they have to explain how these twin boys, separated at birth (okay, so they were six months old) in Hong Kong, grew up to have identical western European accents. The boys' parents were brutally murdered by a schizophrenic gang who were all cold efficiency killing mom and dad but when they tried to kill the boys, oops, the infants got away..."

Point Break
For a while, Point Break rides the swell of an amphetamine rush: It's a movie that's going places. Bigelow stages the film's action sequences with a brutal efficiency (they almost...
Film Review  July 19, 1991, by Steve Davis
"...For a while, Point Break rides the swell of an amphetamine rush: It's a movie that's going places. Bigelow stages the film's action sequences with a brutal efficiency (they almost redeem the movie), but she can't keep the increasingly silly script in check...."

Don’t Drink That Water! Vote for Prop K Instead?
Council member pushes efficiency audit after boil notice
News Story  November 1, 2018, by Mary Tuma
"...Now that our aquapocalypse is over (boil water at your leisure!), there's no better time to politicize an issue that was handled relatively well by city officials. That's the plan for outgoing Council Member Ellen Troxclair and various backers of the Prop K "efficiency audit" that many suspect would anticipate a push to privatize city utilities...."

Point Austin: Strange Bedfellows, Stranger Politics
"Efficiency audit" petition campaign could use an independent audit
News Column  August 9, 2018, by Michael King
"...Last week the city clerk validated the petition circulated by the Citizens for an Accountable Austin PAC, endorsing an "independent efficiency audit" for the city, and a proposition approving such an audit on the Novem­ber ballot (pending City Coun­cil action). It's unsurprising that 30,000 residents were willing to sign a seemingly innocuous petition in favor of careful accounting – petitioners hardly emphasized the potential cost of such an audit (estimates run north of $1 million), nor the fact that the city's line-item budget is publicly available online, nor that the city has its own official auditors who regularly review all departments and publicly report their findings (good and bad)..."

The Amazon-ification of Whole Foods
Local producers struggle to keep the attention of the Goliath of global efficiency
Food Story  October 5, 2017, by Jessi Devenyns
"...The problem with implementing efficiency at all costs – Amazon-style – is that it hasn't always benefited local businesses or the types of small-producer products that make Whole Foods a bastion of local products. In fact, a quick search on Amazon Prime Pantry for "artisan" or "local" food products only returns a few dozen items including Burt's Bees and Red Vines licorice – neither fitting the bill..."

Austin Climate Protection Plan
The five components
News Story  March 9, 2007
"...3) Homes and buildings efficiency..."

Coal War Update
Charles "Doc" Anderson launches legislative attack against proposed coal-fired power plants, efficiency practices report, and more
News Story  February 9, 2007, by Daniel Mottola
"...In this dispatch from the trenches of the coal wars, we'll see a Republican who's crossed party lines to launch countermeasures against the proposed 17 new, yet technologically dated, coal plants, and we'll get briefed on a new study demonstrating how aggressive energy efficiency can eliminate the need for new coal plants. Meanwhile, the anti-coal infantry is planning to peacefully occupy the state Capitol this Sunday and Monday...."

A Long, Watt Summer
The citywide Kill-a-Watt Challenge kicks off
Features Story  May 25, 2007, by Nora Ankrum
"...Many of us tend to think of our driving habits when we think of our contribution to global warming, but in fact it's our electricity habits that account for 39% of our carbon-dioxide emissions, while transportation accounts for just 33%. James Hansen – the NASA scientist famed for introducing global warming to public discourse back in 1988 – has put forth five recommendations for addressing climate change, and two of them target electricity: 1) a moratorium on coal plants and 2) higher efficiency standards..."

Thinking Beyond Coal
Coal mines are mucking up the environment, from the Appalachian mountains to the outskirts of Austin
News Story  July 18, 2008, by Daniel Mottola
"...Luminant owns the Three Oaks Mine and eight other mines in Texas, as well as nine coal power plants and three more under construction. Meeting Texas' energy needs "will require a diversified energy portfolio – nuclear, wind, natural gas, and coal – along with efficiency, conservation, and environmental measures," Kleckner said..."

There Are Problems, but There Also Are Solutions
Postmarks  August 13, 2007
"...Please consider what we are for in this hopefully short-enough letter. Environmental organizations are fighting at the local, state, and federal level for greatly increased efficiency measures across all sectors of our society..."

Naked City
Headlines and happenings from Austin and beyond
News Story  August 11, 2006
"...• All homes built within the city of Austin by 2015 will have to be "zero energy capable," or efficient enough to power themselves if solar photovoltaic panels were added, if new Austin Energy-proposed code changes are ultimately approved. City Council will appoint a task force at today's meeting to study the bold efficiency measures..."

MoreThan It Can Chew?
City Plans to Create Energy Services Business
News Story  August 29, 1997, by Robert Bryce
"...illustration by Doug Potter For over a decade, the city of Austin has been giving cash rebates to residential and commercial electricity customers who buy high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment. Now, there are plans afoot to end the commercial rebate program and replace it with a city-owned energy services company that will provide a wide range of energy efficiency programs...."

Cool Austin, Cool Planet
This Earth Day, the ambitious Austin Climate Protection Plan celebrates a first year of slow, quiet, but impressive progress
News Story  April 18, 2008, by Katherine Gregor
"...1, it was a healthy $1.25 million. That covers eight staff, an enhanced Green Building program, and emissions-reduction and energy-efficiency measures..."

Austin Climate Protection Plan Year One Highlights
A progress report on Austin's war on global warming
News Story  April 18, 2008
"...Status: All city departments are developing baseline energy-use audits, as well as energy efficiency/savings plans...."

Making the Energy Grid Smarter
New nonprofit pushes energy providers for efficiency via high tech
News Story  February 17, 2006, by Daniel Mottola
"...A new nonprofit organization, the Center for the Commercialization of Electric Technology – a unique conglomeration made up of investor-owned utility companies, a high tech firm, and six public universities – believes the electric power grid is lacking the benefit of today's high tech innovations and has set out to apply the latest in communication and information technology to the grid in the form of a "smart energy network," which they say will make the grid more reliable and more efficient, and even diminish the need for new, polluting power plants, while expanding renewable power use through energy storage. But the new effort isn't without its detractors, who criticize its use of automated meters and say it appears to be a special-interest nonprofit, putting industry enrichment before real proven attempts toward efficiency, at the customers' expense...."

Ballot Lawsuits Simmer at Supreme Court
Ellen Troxclair, Texas Public Policy Foundation file briefs supporting audit and CodeNEXT petitioners
News Story  August 23, 2018, by Michael King
"...Last week, petitioners sued the city of Austin over the ballot proposition language drafted by City Council concerning the "efficiency audit" and the comprehensive land-use code revision (e.g., CodeNEXT), filing directly with the Texas Supreme Court. At press time, the court was waiting for the city's response in the audit case (due today, Thursday, Aug..."

Eco-Currents: Party Circuit
Solar trailer makes the social rounds; wind power blows hot and cold
News Story  August 27, 2010, by Nora Ankrum
"...The PUC is also drawing criticism this month after gutting plans to increase state energy efficiency goals and proposing limits on utilities' investments in efficiency measures. Public Citizen, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the SEED Coalition are calling on the state to yank the commission's authority to review efficiency efforts around the state and establish an independent agency to coordinate them instead..."

Point Austin: Out of Balance
As we sit down to balance the books, we might consider our largest deficits
News Column  June 12, 2009, by Michael King
"...This week City Manager Marc Ott released the city's cheerfully titled "Menu of Potential Budget Reductions," a daunting $45 million list of things Austin probably shouldn't do without, but will likely learn to do so at least to the tune of $30 million (making up the rest in property taxes). The Austin ISD board of trustees just received its "efficiency study" from the good folks at MGT of America, suggesting that if the district really, really tightens its belt, it could save $392 million over the next five years (see "AISD 'Efficiency' Study")..."

Naked City
News briefs from Austin, the region, and beyond
News Story  December 19, 2008
"...• Future Looks Bright for Energy Efficiency Green leaders are cheery about a new report set to be released by the state Public Util­i­ty Commission finding that beefing up energy-efficiency mandates for investor-owned electric utilities is not only feasible but would create billions in savings for customers. A bill passed in 2007 requires utilities to offset 15% of new energy demand with efficiency measures, growing to 20% by 2009..."

Going Negative: Galindo vs. the 'Green Home Tax'
News Story  June 6, 2008, by Katherine Gregor
"...Each supporting assertion made on the Gal­indo campaign mailer is contradicted by data from the city and Energy Efficiency Retrofit Task Force materials. Galindo's statements echo the erroneous and misleading information disseminated by a current Austin Board of Realtors campaign..."

Naked City
News Story  February 9, 2007
"...The Austin Climate Protection Plan hopes to make all city facilities, fleets, and operations totally carbon-neutral by 2020. Wynn, in a detailed presentation that drew on training from Al Gore, said, "The window for addressing climate change is very brief," and that "the time for Austinites to take action is now." The plan's provisions include: Using all renewable energy at 100% of city facilities by 2012, meeting 30% of citywide energy needs through renewable resources by 2020 (including 100 megawatts of solar power), making all new single-family homes zero-net-energy capable by 2015, increasing energy efficiency in all other new construction by 75% by 2015, mandating energy-efficiency improvements in existing homes and buildings at the point of sale, achieving 700 megawatts of energy savings through efficiency and conservation by 2020, inventorying global-warming emissions from communitywide activities, requiring carbon neutrality on any new generation units, and developing the Go-Neutral program which will feature an online "carbon footprint calculator" and sell carbon offset credits for locally offsetting CO2..."

It's the Carbon, Stupid!
Texas leaders continue to drag their boot heels on global warming
News Story  December 1, 2006, by Daniel Mottola
"..."Then they go to TCEQ and say, 'We'd love to help you reduce emissions, but we can't because ERCOT is telling us we need to keep these dirty old plants running and build some new ones because ERCOT is worried about having enough electricity to meet demand.'" She faulted Perry's fast-tracking orders for putting TCEQ staffers, employed to expertly evaluate the coal permits, in the position of disagreeing with the governor if they find a discrepancy. She also wondered why Perry's executive orders didn't include energy efficiency measures, and she ultimately blamed today's woes on the legislature's 1999 decision to deregulate much of the state's electricity market, which simultaneously eliminated long-term state energy planning and the Public Utility Commission of Texas' practice of certifying power plants (prior to permitting) based on whether they were the best technology, if their added capacity could be met with efficiency measures, and their public health and environmental costs..."

On the Water Front
Austin Water Utility and EPA announce new labeling program for high-efficiency products
News Story  June 16, 2006, by Daniel Mottola
"...In other efficiency news, the Austin Water Utility joined the EPA in announcing a new labeling program for high-efficiency products known as "WaterSense." The label will denote products – such as high-efficiency toilets, fixtures, irrigation systems, and appliances like washing machines – that are at least 20% more efficient than their counterparts. Austin Water Utility's David Juarez said the city wants to use conservation to push back the need for another water-treatment plant, which he says will be needed in 5-7 years at current consumption rates..."

City Slickers
How the state's most influential conservative think tank works to undermine our local control
News Story  October 11, 2018, by Mary Tuma
"...Two blocks from the Capitol, in a pristine auditorium on Congress Avenue, attorney/activist Fred Lewis, District 8 City Council candidate Bobby Levinski, and Art Martinez de Vara of the Texas Local Government Center debated Proposition K, the November ballot measure that calls for a third-party efficiency audit of the city. Chuck DeVore of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, owners of the $20 million building with its Rick Perry Liberty Balcony and its Red McCombs Event Center, led the conversation, held last Wednesday...."

Judge: Texas School Finance System Unconstitutional
Now what? Legislators, education advocates and think tanks respond
DAILY News  February 5, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...In a startling fit of chutpzah, Hammond said that he was "pleased Judge Dietz agrees with me that our schools are not producing enough career and college ready students." However, he quickly switched tack: For him, and the rest of the right, it seems that Dietz wasn't telling them that the school system was underfunded (which he pretty clearly did). Instead, what they heard was an argument for more efficiency, which actually means competition, which really means charters and vouchers...."

Then There's This: Consumer Report
What apartment tenants should know before they sign a lease
News Column  June 8, 2012, by Amy Smith
"...It's not exactly going the way some people envisioned, but a new energy-efficiency disclosure program – perhaps the first of its kind in the nation – could be the best thing to happen to prospective renters. The only problem is no one is telling them about it...."

2020: More Solar, Higher Cost
News Story  August 21, 2009, by Nora Ankrum
"...17, Austin Energy announced to City Council its early recommendation for meeting the city's energy needs through the year 2020. Overall, the generation plan proposal exceeds the goals set by the Austin Climate Protection Plan (see "Climate Protection Mandates," below), most notably with an extra 100 megawatts of energy efficiency savings and a higher renewable portfolio standard (35%) than that set by council (30%)..."

Naked City
News briefs from Austin, the region, and elsewhere
News Story  October 31, 2008
"...• ENERGY EFFICIENCY FOR HOME BUYERS Austin may soon become one of a handful of U.S. cities ensuring that consumers can review energy audits and energy-use reports on homes for sale, much like reviewing the gas mileage of cars or the energy usage of new appliances..."

Naked City
News briefs from Austin, the region, and elsewhere
News Story  October 3, 2008
"...• Keeping Austin's Energy Affordable When a house in Austin is sold, an energy audit and energy-use report to buyers may soon become mandatory, while actual improvements to the home's energy efficiency will remain voluntary. That's the nutshell version of the final Energy Efficiency Retrofit Task Force recommendations now making their way toward City Council..."

Cool City: My Big Fat Carbon Footprint
One reporter's liberating steps toward energy efficiency
News Story  July 11, 2008, by Katherine Gregor
"...The pleasure from taking that first energy-efficiency toke soon led me to try harder things. One day at HEB, I saw cloth shopping bags by the checkout counter and sprang on impulse for 20 dollars' worth – five big bags to hoist many a major household shop..."

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