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Saturday, October 3, 2020

New on-line series on energy starts October 7

URI Cooperative Extension to host virtual energy lecture series

Todd McLeish

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the links between health and the built environment, including how adequate building ventilation is essential to reducing transmission of the virus.

This link is the topic of the first of three virtual lectures as part of the annual “Plugged Into Energy Research” lecture series, hosted by the University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension and sponsored by the Rhode Island Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council.

The first lecture will be held Wednesday, Oct. 7 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Subsequent lectures will take place at the same time on Oct. 28 and Nov. 18. All will be presented via WebEx and are free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Each of the lectures will feature three 20-minute presentations by energy experts from the business community, academia, government and nonprofit organizations.

“Energy is entwined in all aspects of our lives, so the goal of our lecture series is to help folks understand some of the more complex issues associated with keeping the lights on while also keeping people safe and healthy,” said Kate Venturini, outreach programs administrator at Cooperative Extension.

“This year’s lecture topics are quite timely, and we’re excited to take advantage of a virtual format to bring people from all over the United States together to talk about the nexus between health outcomes, equity and energy efficiency, and how that all relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Speakers on Oct. 7 will discuss the role of energy efficiency as an effective solution to increasing health and safety in buildings and reducing exposure to COVID-19.

The agenda includes Emma Pollack, research analyst, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy in Washington, D.C., Bruce Tonn and Erin Rose, the president and vice president, respectively, of ThreeCubed in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Paul Francisco, indoor climate research and training director at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

The Oct. 28 lecture will focus on the theme of “Energy Efficiency in Schools: Safer Buildings, Healthier Students,” while the Nov. 18 lecture will examine “Barriers to Energy Efficiency in Rental and Affordable Housing.”

For more information or to register, visit or contact URI Cooperative Extension at 401-874-2900 or