Rocky Mountain Institute

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Rocky Mountain Institute

Founded by energy analysts Hunter and Amory B. Lovins in 1982, the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) is a nonprofit research and education center dedicated to the conservation of energy and other resources worldwide. According to literature published by the Institute, the Lovinses founded RMI with the intention of fostering "the efficient and sustainable use of resources as a path to global security." RMI targets seven main areas for reform: energy, water, agriculture, transportation , economic renewal, green development, and global security.

RMI's energy and water programs attempt to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewable resources. The programs take an "end-use/least-cost" approach, promoting awareness of which activities require energy, how much and what types of energy those activities require, and the cheapest way that energy can be supplied. E Source, a subsidiary of the energy program, serves as a clearinghouse for technological information on energy efficiency.

The agriculture program at RMI focuses on several conservation-based methods, including low-input, organic and alternative-crop farming, efficient irrigation , local and direct marketing, and the raising of extra-lean and range beef. The program is closely linked to RMI's water project.

RMI's transportation program is based on the belief that "inefficient transportation systems shape and misshape our world." The project seeks an end to a transportation-based society and a start to one that is access-based, emphasizing superefficient vehicles and a decrease in the necessity to travel over mobility.

RMI's economic renewal program seeks to create lasting economic bases in rural areas. The project works on a grassroots level and has been tested in four towns. Through workshops and workbooks based on studies of several towns, RMI hopes to promote energy use based on sustainability in the future rather than industrialism in the present.

In the area of green development, RMI is involved in cost-effective innovative construction and energy planning for new towns. RMI has conducted efficiency studies for a new building and has acted as consultants on a prototype store for a major retailer as part of this project.

The global security program is more scholarship- and theory-oriented than RMI's other projects and is based on the concept that innovation in the other six areasenergy, water, agriculture, economic renewal, transportation, and green developmentwill lead to new ways of thinking with regards to global security. Through scholarly exchange and analysis of security practice around the world, the staff at RMI hope to help develop a post-Cold War, cooperative approach to global security that is less reliant on military strength.

RMI's technologically advanced, energy efficient facility that houses their headquarters features a semi-tropical bioshelter among other showcases of conservation innovations. The facility stands as a visible monument to RMI's commitment to conserving the world's resources.

Hunter and Amory Lovins have received several awards for their work with the Institute, including a Mitchell Prize in 1982, a Right Livelihood award in 1983, and the Onassis Foundation's first Delphi Prize in 1989. The Delphi Prize is considered one of the top two environmental awards in the world.

[Kristin Palm ]



Rocky Mountain Institute, 1739 Snowmass Creek Road, Snowmass, CO USA 81654-9199 (970) 927-3851, <>