Bookmark and Share

Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.


Category: Residential


New Horizons for Energy Efficiency: Major Opportunities to Reach Higher Electricity Savings by 2030

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Sep. 2015, by Dan York, and others.

"Higher equipment standards and more stringent building codes are squeezing the amount of savings that energy efficiency programs can harvest. No single measure will yield a dominant share of energy savings for utility program portfolios, as have lighting programs in the past. This report examines the next large opportunities for energy efficiency savings. It analyzes 18 measures—including reduction of plug loads, conservation voltage reduction, and smart manufacturing—that could collectively save 22% of total projected electricity use in the year 2030."

Sizing Up Tesla Energy's Powerwall

Rural Electric Magazine, Sep. 2015, by Reed Karaim.

"Tesla Energy’s Powerwall, a home and commercial battery system expected to be available late this year, could be an important step forward in home energy storage, according to an assessment by NRECA’s Business and Technology Strategies (BTS) department."

Inverter Benchmarking Results in Smarter Residential Inverter Solutions

Solar Industry Magazine, Aug. 2015, by Michael Mills-Price.

"Today’s residential and small commercial solar photovoltaic inverter marketplace includes a myriad of solutions and choices... These products are expected to operate in electrically and environmentally harsh environments, with service lifetimes that can approach and exceed 20 years. The PV inverter landscape is also marked by many new entrants and products from established industry players. These dynamic market characteristics increase the importance of thorough due diligence in the inverter selection process. Independent third-party data can be very beneficial in choosing the optimal inverter solution. "

Pacific Northwest Residential Ventilation Effectiveness Study

Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Sept. 14, 2015, by Ken Eklund and others.

"This report presents the findings and conclusions of the Pacific Northwest Residential Ventilation Effectiveness study in houses with low air leakage. The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) commissioned the Washington State University (WSU) Energy Program to conduct the study, which included a total of twenty-nine houses in Washington State with five different types of ventilation systems. Exhaust ventilation (Exhaust Only (EO) and Exhaust with Inlet Vents (EI)) and heat recovery ventilation (HRV)/energy recovery ventilation (ERV) systems made up the largest share of the ventilation systems studied."

It's All About the Data: How the Building Performance Database is Informing Decisions on Energy Efficiency

U.S. Department of Energy, Aug. 25, 2015.

"Filling a gap in the market, the BPD provides public access to anonymized data on hundreds and thousands of buildings and homes.  Increased access to energy-related information in buildings allows end-users to make key decisions on energy efficiency projects, policies and programs. For the first time, users can compare variables across regional markets, uncover data trends, and draw conclusions that would otherwise be impossible or costly to identify."

Thermostatic Radiator Valves for Multiunit Residential Buildings

HPAC Engineering, July 2015, by Bill Boss.

"A simple, cost-effective way to combat overheating in older apartment buildings."

Study Suggests Residential Pellet Offgassing a Nonissue

Biomass Magazine, Aug. 12, 2015, by Anna Simet.

"According to results from a new study released by the University of New Hampshire, indoor storage of pellets in homes using the fuel for heat does not pose a risk of generating carbon monoxide (CO) levels above recommended thresholds. The issue has been contentious in the Northeast, said Adam Sherman, executive director of Vermont-based Biomass Energy Resource Center."

Venting Vapor

Building Science Corporation, July 15, 2015, by Joe Lstiburek.

"Sometimes the obvious is not so obvious. And sometimes the not so obvious becomes obvious. For example installing leaky ductwork in a vented attic is a pretty dumb idea. It leads to negative pressures and high air change that depending on the time of year and climate zone results in part load humidity problems, ice damming, excessive energy use, loss of comfort, whatever. If radon were valuable we would mine it this way. Where there is an attached garage we call it the Kevorkian option. Everyone pretty much gets it."

Methodological Comparison of Cost-effectiveness of IECC Residential Energy Codes

ICF International, submitted to the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition, Jul. 21, 2015.

"ICF was asked to conduct an analysis of building energy codes, comparing life-cycle cost analysis (LCC) – the predominant method used to evaluate the cost effectiveness of energy codes and other public policies – with two other cost-effectiveness methods: simple payback and mortgage cash-flow. Since a significant proposal before Congress would designate simple payback as the principal basis for energy code cost-effectiveness, representing a departure from decades of policy analysis practice, it is important to provide a robust comparison of simple payback to the LCC and mortgage cash-flow methods. ...this study provides a rigorous, consistent, quantified comparison of these three methodologies."

Expensive Doesn’t Always Mean Efficient: Correctly Sizing, Selecting, and Installing Equipment...

Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration News, June 22, 2015, by Joanna R. Turpin.

"HVAC systems now come with higher efficiencies than ever, with air-source cooling equipment surpassing the 25-SEER mark and gas furnaces achieving more than 98 percent AFUE. Customers who pay for these highly efficient (and expensive) systems expect them to achieve those ratings and provide superior comfort, and, if they don’t, they are often disappointed and even angry. When high-end equipment does not live up to consumer expectations, the culprit is almost always improper installation.

The bottom line: Properly sizing, selecting, and installing HVAC equipment is critical to ensuring energy efficiency and comfort
Pages: Prev1234567...8NextReturn Top


The Energy Newsbriefs Blog is a continuation of the weekly Energy Newsbriefs. Please bookmark this site and return frequently. Although we will not be accepting comments from within the Blog, we would be happy to hear from you by email at