UCSB’s Institute for Energy Efficiency kicks off a two-day summit on efficient energy practices at Corwin Pavilion today.

The event – which features notable speakers from Intel, Google and other global energy players and scholars – begins at 8 a.m. today and ends at 5 p.m. Thursday. According to the Santa Barbara Summit on Energy Efficiency Web site, the attendees will discuss the latest developments in energy technology and how these advances can be made available to the commercial sector.

Daniel Colbert, executive director of the Institute for Energy Efficiency, said the summit seeks to combine scientific, economic and political thought about energy use and development.

“This is the only event dedicated to bringing academics who are conducting cutting-edge research in energy efficiency out of their labs and face-to-face with their industry peers, policy makers and investors,” Colbert said in a press release. “We’ll have two days of knowledge sharing and strategy building, accelerating commercialization of these game-changing technologies.”

What the summit may reveal, Colbert said, is that the future of energy may not lie in producing more of it, but rather using existing energy more efficiently.

“People tend to overlook the simplest solution to most problems,” Colbert said in a press release. “In the case of the world’s access to and consumption of energy, simply using existing energy more efficiently is the cheapest and easiest way to make more energy available.”

As part of the summit, a town hall-style meeting is set to take place at 11 a.m. on Thursday, and it will be moderated by Emmy Award-winning former news anchor Forrest Sawyer. The panel, titled “Policy and Technology: Conflict or Synergy?” will discuss the relationship between energy research and development and government energy policies and will be broadcast live on the summit’s Web site.

Intel’s Vice President Justin Rattner will give the opening keynote address today at 8:30 a.m., and representatives from Southern California Edison, Cisco Systems and SunPower will also be speaking at the summit. Additionally, speakers from the U.S. Dept. of Energy and the Dept. of the Interior are scheduled to discuss the current and future status of efficient energy use throughout the conference.

The summit is set to conclude with final remarks from Colbert. On-site registration for the whole summit begins at 7 a.m. today, with prices ranging from $350 for UCSB staff, students and faculty to $750 for the standard admission rate.