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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.


Case Study: Working Example: Zero Net Energy Center

High Performing Buildings, Summer 2015, by Michael Hummel and others.

"To prepare electrical apprentices for working in the sustainable building industry in Northern California, the Zero Net Energy Center is a working example of an emerging phenomenon. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 595 (IBEW) and the Northern California Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) created a world-class learning environment for apprentices to gain hands-on experience with cutting-edge technology and electrical systems. The ZNEC also addresses the need to repurpose the existing building stock in the U.S. by transforming a typical 1980s suburban office building into a modern net zero energy showcase. "

Case Study: From Darkness to Light: Engaging Employees to Save

High Performing Buildings, Summer 2015, by Scott Bowman and Carey Nagle.

"Moving from a cave-like warehouse to an environment filled with daylight represented a dramatic shift for employees of the Iowa Utilities Board and Office of Consumer Advocate (IUB/OCA). Employees jumped on board with the energy-efficiency efforts, giving up comforts such as individual coffee makers, and opening and closing windows as needed to operate the natural ventilation system. An integrated design that maximizes passive strategies provides significant energy savings, but employee cooperation, especially involving plug load reduction, has proven key to reaching and maintaining performance goals. "

The Ins and Outs of Revolving Doors: Factors to Consider When Specifying the Right Door

Construction Specifier, July 2015, by Glen Tracy.

"The built environment is an energy-guzzler. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) states in this country alone, buildings account for 41 percent of energy use, 73 percent of electricity consumption and 38 percent of all CO2 emissions, and 13.6 percent potable water consumption. Globally, buildings use 40 percent of raw materials, or about 3 billion tons annually. Fortunately, the type of doors we select can have a big impact on a building’s energy profile."

The Business of Lighting [LED Decision Making]

Architectural SSL, June 2015, by Vilma Barr. -- scroll to page 23 of the digital article.

"What drives the decision to adopt LED? Is it pure energy savings? Is it cost? Is it novelty? We asked a number of people what their or their client's thinking was in context of places where LED has been embraced. The answers are quite surprising."

Predicting the Future of RTUs [Rooftop Units]

Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News, June 15, 2015, by Jen Anesi.

"With the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and industry stakeholders currently working together on a negotiated rulemaking setting new energy conservation standards for commercial package equipment, and with codes and standards mandating increased ventilation and higher efficiencies for this equipment, manufacturers are finding innovative ways to meet and exceed expectations while creating comfortable, healthy indoor environments for building occupants."

Plant Engineering: Lubrication Guides

Plant Engineering, June 2015.

"Friction is the enemy of efficiency. A sound lubrication strategy is essential to keep all the gears in your operation running at their best. The emergence of synthetic lubricants has helped improve the performance of machinery and has become an important part of any maintenance manager’s arsenal in the fight against friction.

The Guide will provide you with a comprehensive look at the available lubricants. This year's guide also considers the important issues of environmental impact of oils, greases and fluids, the need for a strong culture of lubrication excellence, and an in-depth look at some of the new standards in bearings and seals." 

Degrees of Freedom in HVAC Controls Design

ASHRAE Journal, June 2015, by John Varley.

"Stable control of an HVAC system can only be achieved when the number of controlled variables are less than or equal to the degrees of freedom (DOF), which represents the maximum number of variables in the control system that can be manipulated by it. In complex HVAC applications, the number of points in a system, such as an air handler control sequence, can exceed 100. Therefore, understanding the DOF in such a system is essential in realizing a stable control sequence. This article reviews the process of calculating the DOF and applies it to an air-handling system to inform the HVAC design community of its ease of application and benefits to the design process."

VFD Trends and Solutions for Drive Systems

Plant Engineering, June 2015, by Alex Ward.

"The increase in variable frequency drive (VFD) installations across the globe has meant that drives are being applied in more challenging system environments. Not only is the environment challenging, but drives also have a few inherited issues that can limit the overall system performance. Harmonics mitigation, filtering voltage spikes are two key issues."

Biogas-To-Energy Helps A New York Facility Toward Self-Sufficiency

Treatment Plant Operator, July 2015, by Doug Day.

"Ithaca’s clean-water plant has boosted biogas production and energy generation in a project that will yield $9 million in guaranteed savings over a 20-year contract. The Ithaca (New York) Area Wastewater Treatment Facility now generates nearly half its electricity on site, and the plant team hopes a new biogas system can eventually meet most if not all power needs."

Green Doesn’t Mean What it Used To in Today’s Utility Industry: How Utilities are Dealing with Legalized Marijuana

Northwest Public Power Association Bulletin, July 2015, by Lance Robertson. (Scroll of jump to page 26.)

"Utilities are looking at a number of issues, concerns, and opportunities, from the amount of electricity the cannabis industry uses to ensuring that the added power demand won’t reduce the reliability or safety of localized electric distribution systems. Many public utilities also are concerned that increased demand for electricity will force them to raise electric rates for all customers, while a handful of utilities see the emerging commercial cannabis industry as an opportunity to boost revenues lost due to the lingering effects of the Great Recession in the Pacific Northwest."


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