Last month we officially launched our energy efficiency channel, which has a heavy focus on the convergence of IT and efficiency -- what we call "intelligent efficiency."

As part of that launch, we also created a new one-day efficiency conference in San Francisco on July 29, called Avant EE. We're pretty excited about the event, as it's Greentech Media's chance to provide some additional leadership in the efficiency sector, which has traditionally been underserved in the media.

Over the last couple of months, we've been procuring a great list of thought leaders and companies that will touch on how intelligence is impacting the way efficiency is deployed today. Here's a sample of what we'll be asking -- and answering -- at the event.

Can intelligence actually change consumer behavior?
In recent years, the residential sector has been defined by high-profile flops from Google and Microsoft, which attempted to build entirely new home energy management systems. But companies are now shifting their focus to behavioral science and other connected points in the home to get consumers to act. GTM Editor-in-Chief Eric Wesoff will lead a discussion with Ayla Networks, Nest Labs, Opower and WegoWise on what's working in the residential space.

Can intelligence break down traditional barriers in C&I?
As we outlined in our recent report on intelligent efficiency, informational awareness is helping address many of the barriers in the commercial and industrial sector. Those barriers include: lack of awareness about opportunities, lack of certainty about project performance and concerns about adopting new technologies. I will be hosting a panel discussion with Demand Energy Networks, Digital Lumens, EnerNOC and FirstFuel on using intelligence to leverage new opportunities in this vast sector. And Jon Guerster of Groom Energy Solutions will get down on the customer level and talk with C&S Wholesale Grocers, Enlighted and Prologis about the nuts and bolts of integrating projects.

How are utilities leveraging intelligence to build their efficiency programs?
Ratepayer-funded efficiency programs are expanding. But rather than simply send rebate checks in the mail, utility companies are trying to figure out innovative ways to interact with customers and get them to proactively manage their own energy use. Greentech Media CEO Scott Clavenna will talk with NSTAR, PG&E, SDG&E and the California Energy Efficiency Industry Council about how utilities can better embrace efficiency.

How can we create scale that is sufficient for the financial sector?
The efficiency sector is growing quickly, but it still hasn't reached the scale needed to support financial innovation to bring in heavy hitters in the capital markets. Brandon Smithwood of Ceres will lead a discussion with the California State Controller's Office, the Environmental Defense Fund and Impax Asset Management on what needs to be done to leverage more financing. 

In addition to these panels, we'll be featuring keynotes from Robert "Hutch" Hutchinson of the Rocky Mountain Institute and Mary Curtiss of Jones Lang LaSalle, who will provide practical examples of how intelligent efficiency is being integrated in portfolios of buildings. We'll also hear from PG&E's Janice Berman about how the utility's deep efficiency programs are working.

The Avant EE conference is a chance to get beyond buzzwords and hear from companies about the on-the-ground realities of deploying technologies and building new business models in energy efficiency.

We understand that you have a lot of events to choose from, and we hope you'll put Avant EE at the top of your list. We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco on July 29.

And if you want more information about the event, contact me.