Rocky Mountain Institute


Rocky Mountain Institute is an independent, entrepreneurial, nonprofit think-and-do tank.

“Cofounded in 1982 by Amory Lovins, who remains its active thought leader, chairman, and chief scientist, the Colorado-based organization now has about 80 full-time staff, an annual budget of nearly $12 million and a global reach.

“RMI’s efforts take three main forms: transforming design, busting barriers and spreading innovation. RMI emphasizes strategic influence—changing the mindset of the people who make the rules—and “institutional acupuncture” to get blocked business logic flowing.”

See RMI, About.

RMI has four core practice areas, these are:

  • Built Environment
    • “Here and abroad, buildings represent a huge opportunity to significantly increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But to do this, we need to address the design, construction, operation, and deconstruction of the built environment.  Rocky Mountain Institute’s work in the built environment takes an integrated approach by seeking to increase energy efficiency while simultaneously addressing building and community design, comfort, and health. RMI’s work on hundreds of successful buildings of different types in different climates dispels the notion that increasing energy efficiency or taking steps to reduce emissions negatively affects economics, comfort, or aesthetics.”
    • See RMI, Built Environment.
  • Electricity
    • “Electricity is the connective tissue of the information age—almost every transaction in our daily lives is now supported, in real time, by electronic information. Yet as critical and as ubiquitous as it has already become, electricity is poised for a profound leap in importance due to its inherent versatility. Electricity is an energy carrier that can be produced from virtually any primary source at any distance for any product or service. These unique characteristics are driving shifts in major infrastructure systems, including communications, buildings, industry, and transportation, to electricity as an energy supplier of choice. Yet, today, over 70 percent of U.S. electricity is generated by the combustion of fossil fuels, contributing to pollution, climate change, and public health threats. Additionally, while the information economy speeds along, creating new value by innovating to meet diverse consumer preferences, the electricity system remains slow to respond and resistant to adapt. Bottom line: Business as usual is no longer a viable option.”
    • See RMI, Electricity.
  • Mobility + Vehicle Efficiency
    • “Rocky Mountain Institute’s work in the mobility  and vehicle efficiency sectors (“MOVE”) stems from over 20 years of research in sustainable transportation, including RMI’s Nissan-award winning Hypercar, Inc., work during the 1990s. Since then, RMI has pushed the industry towards integrated platform design, lightweighting, advanced drive trains, energy storage and innovative fueling options through research and project engagements. We create breakthrough efficiency solutions in our core automotive and freight/trucking sectors and have expanded into fleet and integrated transport systems.”
    • See RMI, Mobility + Vehicle Efficiency.
  • Industry
    • “Despite steady and impressive progress in the energy efficiency of U.S. industry, major shortfalls persist. RMI’s collaborations in many industrial sectors, lately redesigning more than $30 billion worth of facilities, have confirmed major opportunities for profitable and practical further savings—often unexpectedly large and cheap—in both new and retrofitted facilities.  The key is integrative design, which can often make very large energy savings cost less than small or no savings.  RMI is shaping these insights into focused efforts to expand the adoption of integrative design in key industrial sectors and to transform how engineering is taught and practiced.”
    • See RMI, Industry.