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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.

 


Saving on Natatorium Energy Costs with Green Options

The Construction Specifier, Oct. 2014, by Ralph Kittler.
http://www.constructionspecifier.com/saving-on-natatorium-energy-costs-with-green-options/

"When it comes to designing indoor swimming pool facilities, it is critical to ensure not only a healthy interior environment, but also energy efficiency. New technologies can provide both optimal natatorium environmental control and curtail utility consumption when specified."

The Fight Over Solar Moves from Net Metering to Rate Design

Utility Dive, Nov. 3, 2014, by Herman K. Trabish.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/the-fight-over-solar-moves-from-net-metering-to-rate-design/327742/

"Fights over electricity rates are brewing all across the country. Utilities say new rate proposals will protect customers who haven’t moved to solar and energy efficiency. But those who have moved say the proposals only protect utilities." "There are two categories of rate restructuring and rate design changes bubbling up,” explained Environmental Law & Policy Center Sr. Attorney Brad Klein. “The first is to move cost recovery from the variable per-kilowatt-hour charge and increase the monthly fixed charge. The other is to impose a monthly dollars-per-kilowatt charge on owners of distributed generation.”

EnergyIQ™: Action-Oriented Energy Benchmarking

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
http://energyiq.lbl.gov/

"In isolation, benchmarking can inspire action but provides no practical guidance. With sponsorship from the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program, the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is building the next generation of energy benchmarking methods to address this problem. EnergyIQ—the first "action-oriented" benchmarking tool for non-residential buildings—bridges this gap by providing a standardized opportunity assessment based on benchmarking results, along with decision-support information to help refine action plans."

Vacuum Steam Heating: Past, Present...Future?

District Energy, Fourth Quarter, 2014, by Igor Zhadanovsky.
http://www.districtenergy-digital.org/districtenergy/2014Q4?sub_id=DOwgMT0rNL8TV#pg29

"Every so often, a technology that had been abandoned for a long period of time comes back to life thanks to new developments that make it viable and competitive once again. While it's too early to predict with certainty, this may be the pattern that we see for one of the heating industry's oldest technologies: vacuum steam heating. This article describes the evolution of that technology, its benefits and drawbacks, and a new approach that may make it a cost-effective option in the 21st century.

Preparing for Distributed Generation in the Northwest

Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA) Bulletin, Oct. 2014, by Charlie Black. (open PDF, then scroll or jump to page 26)
http://www.nwppa.org/External/WCPages/WCWebContent/WebContentPage.aspx?ContentID=1928

"In recent years, electric utility customers have begun showing greater interest in distributed generation. Declining costs and expanding availability of on-site electric generating systems, such as roof-mounted solar photovoltaic equipment marketed and installed by third-party service providers, are causing residential and business customers to consider self-supply as an attractive alternative to relying exclusively on centrally generated power delivered via the utility grid."

A Bright Future for Veterans [Armed Forces Retirement Home, DC]

Environmental Design + Construction (EDC), Oct. 2014.
http://www.edcmag.com/articles/95909-95909-a-bright-future-for-veterans

Excellence in Design Winners 2014:
"The AFRH New Commons Health Care Center, The Scott Building, located on the Old Soldier’s Home grounds in Washington, D.C., is a unique space that combines assisted living user needs, campus-wide program requirements, a historic site and environmental considerations into a multiuse facility. The AFRH Campus is home to more than 500 military veterans from all branches of the armed forces."

BIRDS Is for Sustainability: New NIST Tool for Evaluating Building Performance, Trade-offs

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Oct. 2014, by Mark Bello.
http://www.nist.gov/el/economics/20141007_birds.cfm

"Designing a building that simply meets local code requirements is not necessarily the optimal way to do it when you consider all the long-term costs. Now, building professionals in more than 200 U.S. cities can use a new database developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to evaluate whether it pays to exceed code requirements for energy efficiency by tallying expected costs, kilowatts expended, carbon emissions and other impacts over a planned commercial building's lifetime. Called BIRDS (Building Industry Reporting and Design for Sustainability), NIST's new database and software tools are designed to assess three major determinants of building sustainability: energy, environmental and cost performance."

A Different Approach to Understanding Power Factor (Last of Three Parts)

Pumps & Systems, Nov. 2014, by Joe Evans.
http://www.pumpsandsystems.com/pumps/november-2014-different-approach-understanding-power-factor-last-three-parts

"Two methods can be used to improve PF with capacitors. Static correction involves using capacitors to correct a single load. They can be installed at several locations. Static correction can be the most effective method, but it can also be the most expensive. Bulk correction uses a bank of capacitors that improve PF for different parts of a facility. These capacitors can be switched in and out of the circuit depending on the monitored PF."

Future Solar Cost Reductions Hinge on Raising Solar Cell Efficiencies

Solar Industry, Oct. 2014, by Michael Puttre.
http://www.solarindustrymag.com/issues/SI1410/FEAT_01_Future-Solar-Cost-Reductions-Hinge-On-Raising-Solar-Cell-Efficiencies.html

"Lowering the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of solar photovoltaic power is probably the No. 1 issue facing the industry. For most of the last decade, the focus of that effort has been reducing the costs of solar panels."

Efficiency Beyond Design: Energy Codes

Building Operating Management, Oct. 2014, by Greg Zimmerman.
http://www.facilitiesnet.com/energyefficiency/article/Outcomebased-Building-Codes-Could-Be-Industry-Gamechanger--15369?source=FeaturedBOM-10/2014#

"Outcome-based codes offer a new way to bridge the gap between good design and high-performance operations."

A four-part article:
Part 1: New Energy Code Approach Could Be Industry Game-Changer
Part 2: Outcome-Based Energy Codes Link Operations To Design
Part 3: How Would Outcome-Based Energy Codes Be Enforced?
Part 4: With Outcome-Based Codes, Who Is Responsible For Performance During Measurement Period?
Part 5: ICC Votes On Energy Code Compliance For IgCC

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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