Energy affordability is continuing to be a critical issue as American consumers feel pain at the pump and are receiving higher energy bills amid winter storms.

On Tuesday, President Biden said that his Administration is “prepared to deploy all the tools and authority at our disposal to provide relief at the gas pump.” The remarks came amid rising concerns that gas prices will soar even higher if Russia chooses to invade Ukraine.

However, energy prices surged well before Russian-Ukraine tensions rose this year. A recent analysis shared that Biden’s energy policies cost U.S. households more than $1,000 in 2021 alone.

Meanwhile, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told state regulators this week that the Department of Energy is ready to work hand in hand with them in building a clean energy future by updating America’s infrastructure, as the Department seeks to deploy funds made available by the Investment and Jobs Act passed last November.

Looking for more energy news? Check out our top five favorite stories from the week below!

5Top of class in sustainable energy

The University of Iowa was recognized as one of the top institutions in the country in using sustainable energy by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The university succeeded in reverse engineering boilers to run on biomass fuels, as well as experimenting with other coal alternatives. The Daily Iowan reports that the university’s coal usage is down 87 percent from what it was before the biomass program began and said the university is on track to be zero coal by 2023, two years ahead of its 2025 target date.

4Public wireless EV charging comes to Detroit

Electreon, a wireless and in-road wireless electric vehicle charging technology company, will deploy its first public wireless EV charging road system in Michigan. Electreon’s charging infrastructure can wireless charge EVs while they are in motion and stationary. Brighter Side of News reports that the company said it is the first in the world to be successfully demonstrated on public roads.

3Homes as climate-change havens

Earthships are homes made out of recycled materials like tires, cans, and bottles, which are off the grid and climate resilient. Now there are now “earthships” in nearly every state, costing anywhere from $200 to $400 per square foot to build. CNBC reports that they use about one-sixth the power of a regular house and are made from at least 40% recycled materials.

2Solar panels sans sunlight

The idea of solar panels that don’t need sunlight might sound crazy, but it’s not completely impossible. A student at Mapua University in the Philippines created solar panels using luminescent particles from fruit and vegetable waste. By using particles like this, he created a solar film capable of capturing ultraviolet rays that convert into visible light and are then used to generate energy. BGR reports that when scaled up, the panels could enable buildings to completely run off their own electricity.

1Rest, relax and recharge

Ever dreamed of taking a cross-country road trip without spending hundreds of dollars on gas? It’s now easier than ever to do that in an electric vehicle. A huge amount of accommodations, including private homes, around the world are installing EV chargers for guests to use. Matador Network reports that 850,000 of Airbnb’s host properties around the world now have EV chargers for guests.