Erin Baker, a professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and director of the Wind Energy IGERT at UMass Amherst, was featured as one of the 10 national experts in WalletHub’s recent study examining this year’s most and least energy-efficient states. Massachusetts was listed as the seventh most energy efficient state, ranking 14th in home energy efficiency, and fifth in automobile energy efficiency. Among other advice in the column, Baker observed that insulation and weather stripping might be the most cost-effective energy saving products for your home. Find the article and all of Baker’s comments.
When asked about the biggest mistake consumers make when trying to make their homes more energy efficient, Baker responded that “In terms of cost-effectiveness, it is looking at the flashier solutions, such as solar, rather than the cost-effective, but somewhat mundane, solutions such as weather stripping. On the other hand, there is some evidence that visible solutions, such as solar, may have neighborhood effects, causing others in the neighborhood to look into energy solutions. So, in the larger picture, it is not clear if any of these solutions are ‘mistakes.’”
Baker also noted that “Energy efficiency appears to have great value to the nation, yet it is often overlooked by individuals and firms. Making it easier to think about and implement energy efficiency is a useful role for government and non-profits.”
Baker’s research deals with: applying operations research methods to environmental and energy economics and policy; how uncertainty impacts global climate change policy in a strategic environment; the economics of distributed generation; and the interplay between energy and development in Africa.
Baker earned her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and her M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. She is the head of the Energy, Environment, and Economic Decision-Making Lab at UMass Amherst.
WalletHub describes itself as “the first-ever website to offer free credit scores and full credit reports that are updated on a daily basis. But we consider that just an appetizer, as we’ve built the brain of an artificially intelligent financial advisor that will truly leave your wallet full. WalletHub’s brain performs three primary functions, providing: 1) Customized credit-improvement advice; 2) Personalized savings alerts; and 3) 24/7 wallet surveillance.”
Such features are supplemented by reviews of financial products, professionals, and companies and a diverse community of subject matter experts. WalletHub is owned by Evolution Finance, Inc., and is based in Washington, DC. (November 2016)