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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.

 


A Tale Of Three Boiler Plants

Engineered Systems, Jan. 2016, by Daniel McJacobson.
http://www.esmagazine.com/articles/97513-a-tale-of-three-boiler-plants

"School, warehouse, office building … the boiler stories they tell put the focus back on specific circumstances and smart pre-design study to ensure their systems (and budgets) enjoy the best of times for as long as possible. There is a widely held belief that high efficiency is always best. However, this is not necessarily the case."

Key Improvement Made in Solar Cell Voltage Technology

Washington State University News, Feb. 29, 2016, by Tina Hilding.
https://news.wsu.edu/2016/02/29/146010/#more-146010

"Researchers improved the maximum voltage available from a cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cell, overcoming a practical limit that has been pursued for six decades and is key to improving efficiency. The work is published in the Feb. 29 issue of Nature Energy. The effort was led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in collaboration with Washington State University and the University of Tennessee."


Restrain Rising Plug Loads

Buildings, Jan. 2016.
http://www.buildings.com/article-details/articleid/19754/title/restrain-rising-plug-loads.aspx

"In the quest for whole building energy efficiency, FMs cannot ignore plug loads, which account for a growing share of commercial building consumption. These loads pose some different challenges than those of central energy loads like lighting and HVAC."

Are Chilled Beams Viable in Humid Climates?

Buildings, Jan. 2016, by Daniel Kailey.
http://www.buildings.com/article-details/articleid/19494/title/are-chilled-beams-viable-in-humid-climates-.aspx

"As the effort to improve energy efficiency in buildings increases, many new technologies are under consideration by designers, builders, and owners.  The use of chilled beams, a technology that has been successfully employed to improve energy performance in European buildings for decades, is gaining popularity in the United States. But can this technology be used effectively in the hot, humid environments that much of the U.S. experiences every summer?"

CHP Update: Policies, Partnerships, and Challenges

Power Magazine, Feb. 2016, by Thomas W. Overton.
http://www.powermag.com/chp-update-policies-partnerships-challenges/

"Though combined heat and power (CHP) is getting increasing attention as a means of efficiency and reducing carbon emissions, the sector’s traditional challenges remain. But some generators and policymakers are working hard to deploy CHP in new and more economic ways."

Measuring the True Costs and Benefits of Energy Storage - Part 1

North American Clean Energy, Jan./Feb. 2016, by Catherine Von Burg.
http://www.nacleanenergy.com/articles/22174/measuring-the-true-costs-and-benefits-of-energy-storage

"Part One: A quick guide to calculating cost & safety
A variety of new energy storage systems have emerged as business and government leaders rush to make advances in renewables and energy savings. Those systems include different chemical compositions, form factors (cylindrical cell, pouch, prismatic, flow), and battery management systems (BMS). That can make choosing a battery system challenging, even confusing. However, checking a few simple performance metrics can help calculate the true costs and benefits of competing systems. And it can help distinguish between what might look like a good price up front from what’s actually a better buy in the long run."



Air Barriers for Metal Buildings

Insulation Outlook, Feb. 2016, by William Beals.
http://www.insulationoutlook.com/io/article.cfm?id=IO160204

"Air barriers have been discussed and used in different ways since the 1930s. The purpose of an air barrier is to limit uncontrolled air leakage into and out of the building’s envelope. A building’s envelope is defined as roof, wall, and floor area that encloses a heated or cooled area. Uncontrolled leakage will result in increased energy usage due to the heat or cooling lost."

Empowerment Over Protection: How Solar and DERs Can Help the Disadvantaged

Utility Dive, Feb. 23, 2016, by James Tong and Jon Wellinghoff.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/empowerment-over-protection-how-solar-and-ders-can-help-the-disadvantaged/414273/

"The boom in rooftop solar has sparked concerns about a “green divide” and even undertones of class warfare. And it’s true that solar customers to date have tended to be more affluent than average households. Although recent data suggest that solar is now expanding into neighborhoods of more modest incomes, fear persists that solar policies will continually favor the wealthy at the expense of everyone else, particularly the most vulnerable. Critics thus demand reforms and fees for solar customers. What they overlook, however, is how policies designed to protect the poor can actually make them worse off."

Select the Best VFD for Your Application

Maintenance Technology, Feb. 2016.
http://www.maintenancetechnology.com/2016/02/select-the-best-vfd-for-your-application/

"According to the technical experts at Mitsubishi Electric Automation, Vernon Hills, IL, there are several factors to consider when selecting variable-frequency drives (VFDs)."

Calculate the True Cost of Unreliability

Maintenance Technology, Feb. 2016, by Al Poling.
http://www.maintenancetechnology.com/2016/02/calculate-the-true-cost-of-unreliability/

"Although experts have espoused the virtues of equipment reliability for decades, countless manufacturing operations still suffer significant and unnecessary downtime due to equipment failure. Apparently these manufacturers haven’t bought into the benefits of failure-free operation. What will it take to get them to accept the time-proven benefits of reliability? Perhaps they will never be convinced by examples of other manufacturing operations, believing that they are somehow unique."

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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 library@energy.wsu.edu