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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.


USDA Announces Restart of Biomass Crop Assistance Program for Renewable Energy

U.S. Department of Agriculture News Release, June 1, 2015.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that incentives will resume this summer for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners interested in growing and harvesting biomass for renewable energy. The support comes through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. BCAP provides financial assistance to establish and maintain new crops of energy biomass, or who harvest and deliver forest or agricultural residues to a qualifying energy facility."

A Survey of State and Local PV Program Response to Financial Innovation and Disparate Federal Tax Treatment in the Residential PV Sector

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, LBNL-181290, June 2015, by Mark Bolinger and Edward Holt.

"High up-front costs and a lack of financing options have historically been the primary barriers to the adoption of photovoltaics (PV) in the residential sector. State clean energy funds, which emerged in a number of states from the restructuring of the electricity industry in the mid-to-late 1990s, have for many years attempted to overcome these barriers through PV incentive and, in some cases, loan programs. While these programs (incentive programs in particular) have been popular, the residential PV market in the United States only started to achieve significant scale in the last five years – driven in large part by an initial wave of financial innovation that led to the rise of third-party ownership."


U.S. DOE Determination Regarding Energy Efficiency Improvements in the 2015 IECC

U.S. Department of Energy, Building Energy Codes Program, May 2015.

"In May, 2015, DOE issued a determination that the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) would achieve greater energy efficiency in residential buildings subject to the code. DOE estimates national savings in residential buildings of approximately:
  • 0.73% energy cost savings
  • 0.87% source energy savings
  • 0.98% site energy savings"

Come to Seattle for Smart Buildings

Sustainable, News, May 26, 2015.

"Seattle has settled on Smart Buildings as part of their next stage of economic growth....  The business plan centers around a Smart Buildings Center - a hub for collaboration on these technologies - and a degree program that trains professionals in the field at South Seattle College - a BA in Sustainable Building Science Technology that begins this year."

Guest Commentary: Microgrids: An Integrated Power Solution for Business

Business Energy, May 2015, by Michael J. Zimmer.{}

"North America continues to be a hotbed for microgrid development. Green Energy Corp., a US builder of commercial-scale microgrids, recently estimated that 24,000 US commercial and industrial sites could be developed with large-scale microgrid conversions."

Top 3 Industrial Barriers To Energy Efficiency & How To Overcome Them

CleanTechnica, May 27, 2015, by Scott Tew.

"It’s safe to say that most executives may not be experts on how much energy industrial facilities consume. As equipment manufacturers and solution providers, it is up to us to raise the level of awareness and provide reliable systems and services that can help organizations dramatically increase energy efficiency."

Duct Dynasty: Residential Duct-leakage Testing

Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News, June 15, 2015, by David Richardson.

"HVAC professionals across the country are experiencing a recent change that is driven by energy codes. This change is related to duct-leakage testing on new and often retrofitted HVAC systems."

DOAS Gaining Traction in US [Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems]

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

"Commercial building codes are mandating higher volumes of fresh-air intake than ever before. To help meet these ventilation requirements, more and more HVAC contractors and building owners are turning to dedicated outdoor air systems (DOAS). These systems most often run in parallel with other systems to deliver 100 percent outdoor air and handle latent loads. The units improve occupant health and comfort, and they are quickly gaining popularity in the U.S."

High-Performing Facades: Integrating Building Performance Analysis with Design

Journal of the National Institute of Building Sciences, April 2015, by Ajla Aksamija.

"High-performance, sustainable facades are defined as exterior enclosures that use the least possible amount of energy to maintain a comfortable interior environment, which promotes the health and productivity of the buildings occupants. This means that high-performing facades are not simply barriers between interior and exterior. Rather, these building systems both create comfortable spaces by actively responding to a structure's external environment, and significantly reduce its energy consumption."

How to Make the Utility of the Future an Energy-Efficient One: New ACEEE Report Series

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), June 10, 2015, by Maggie Molina. "Utilities have traditionally earned profits by simply selling more energy and building more power plants and infrastructure, which put their financial motivations squarely at odds with the goal of greater energy efficiency. Luckily, that business model has started to change, which is good news for the nation’s economy, environment, and for consumers who want more options for saving energy in their homes and businesses. With the proper regulatory tools in place, utilities’ financial motivations can be aligned with energy efficiency outcomes. ACEEE has been researching this issue for years, and today we are releasing a series of three new reports on a range of topics related to utility business models and energy efficiency." 1) Policies Matter: Creating a Foundation for an Energy-Efficient Utility of the Future 2) Beyond Carrots for Utilities: A Nat ... Read the rest of entry »


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