Reinventing Fire from the Rocky Mountains of the United States

When you start to think of prominent clean energy and energy efficiency leaders and spokespeople, Amory Lovins is surely one of the first people who comes to mind. Amory has been working on this stuff for four decades, and he’s getting to see much of his work ripen and help change the world.

Amory LovinsAs the Chairman and Chief Scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute, Amory has won numerous awards and even been named to TIME magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people (in 2009). If that’s not impressive enough, check out these stats: “Lovins has received ten honorary doctorates and won many awards. He has provided expert testimony in eight countries, briefed 19 heads of state, and published 29 books.”

Lovins is well known and well respected in academic circles, but he has had a career straddling the line between research and action. He has been a visiting professor at a number of colleges, but Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has also spun off 5 for-profit companies. Rather than falling in line with the typical think tank, it has been referred to as a “think-and-do tank.” With over 85 staff and an annual budget of approximately $13 million, it aims to have a “real” impact, and much of that is due to Chairman Lovins and his desire to help the world.

Lovins’ “hypercar” concept has influenced the design of the new mass-market BMW i3 electric car, which uses super lightweight carbon fiber to improve efficiency. It has also likely influenced the Volkswagen XL1, the most efficient car in the world, but this one is only available in very limited supply.

Aside from the TIME recognition mentioned above, and ending as a runner-up in the 2011 Zayed Future Energy Prize competition, Lovins has received many awards and designations. Here’s a summary from Wikipedia:

“Amory Lovins has received ten honorary doctorates and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1984, of the World Academy of Art and Science in 1988, and of the World Business Academy in 2001. He has received the World Technology Award, the Right Livelihood Award, the Blue Planet Prize, Volvo Environment Prize, the 4th Annual Heinz Award in the Environment in 1998, and the National Design (Design Mind), Jean Meyer, and Lindbergh Awards.

“Lovins is also the recipient of the Time Hero for the Planet awards, the Benjamin Franklin and Happold Medals, and the Shingo, Nissan, Mitchell, and Onassis Prizes. He has also received a MacArthur Fellowship and is an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and an Honorary Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council. Furthermore he is on the Advisory Board of the Holcim Foundation.”

Lovins’ latest book is titled Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era, hence the title of this article. I think it’s worth a read, but here’s a quick summary video as a teaser:

Image Credit: Pinchot

Originally published on Sustainnovate.

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