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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.


Biodiesel a Fuel Option for Army Workboats

Engineering360 (IEEE), Aug. 31, 2016, by John Simpson.

"A three-year study to evaluate the feasibility of using biodiesel fuel in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) floating plant operations has concluded that the use of such fuels does not negatively affect engine performance and can reduce production of selected environmentally sensitive emissions."

A New Era of Refurbishment [Hydropower]

Hydro Review, Sept. 2016, by Mark Bitter, Randy Furbush, Jacob Hostler, Adam Lyman, and Loren Nouss.

"To improve performance and get more life out of a unit that had been generating electricity for more than a century, the project's owner decided to use a combination of mechanical refurbishment and polymer composite coatings."

The 8 Most Interesting Things Going On in Solar

EC&M, Aug. 2016.

"Keeping up with the ever-changing world of solar can be a daunting task. Well, we’re here to help. Here are the eight most interesting things going on in the field of solar power right now."

Community-Scale Solar Can Power Corporations, Too

Rocky Mountain Institute, Aug. 31, 2016, by Thomas Koch Blank and Titiaan Palazzi.

"A new option for corporations interested in fueling their operations with clean energy is arising: community-scale solar. An insight brief from RMI’s Shine initiative, which aspires to aggressively accelerate the deployment of community-scale solar systems in the U.S., details the opportunities that community-scale solar offers. Corporations are entering the renewables market in force, and they will find much to like in the community-scale solar market segment."

Buy Energy-Efficient Products: A Guide for Federal Purchasers and Specifiers

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, July 2016.

"In a single year, energy-efficient product purchases could save the federal government almost a half billion dollars worth of energy. By purchasing products that exceed the minimum required efficiency levels, buyers can save the government even more energy and money. Federal employees and contractors must take an active role in ensuring that the government receives products that meet efficiency requirements. This document provides an overview of product purchasing requirements and shows you how to write compliant contracts, find funding, and confirm product compliance."

Net Positive Energy Buildings

ASHRAE Journal, Aug. 2016, by Dylan Connelly and Laura Fedoruk. (Article Summary only.)

"DPR Construction’s retrofitted San Francisco headquarters building achieved approximately 20% net positive energy its first year of operation using efficient systems including HVAC, electrical and PV. And, in late 2015, it was certified as a net zero energy building. The office building demonstrates the capabilities of integrated, innovative, and replicable design. And, it proves that sustainable buildings can reduce energy use and improve indoor environmental conditions, while being cost effective. It has become a hub for learning and collaborating on many sustainably minded design projects."

New-Old Refrigerant: Carbon Dioxide for Industrial Refrigeration

ASHRAE Journal, Aug. 2016, by Donald L. Fenton.

"CO2 is one of the five natural refrigerants and over the past 20 years has gained popularity, particularly with low-temperature refrigeration for industrial systems."

You Can’t Make Bricks Without Straw: Building a Residential Energy Code Support Program from a Utility Perspective

ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Aug. 2016, by Donald C. Boza, Jr., Chad Miller, Joshua Rego, Cherish Smith, and Stu Slote.

"Improvements in building energy codes cannot be fully realized unless targeted stakeholder education, training and outreach is provided to support increased understanding of and compliance with the minimum requirements... This paper presents an approach developed to assess the energy savings and benefit-costs associated with implementing an energy code education, training and outreach program in Michigan."

Beyond Compliance: The DOE Residential Energy Code Field Study

ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Aug. 2016, by David Cohan, Jeremy Williams, Rosemarie Bartlett, Mark Halverson, and Vrushali Mendon.

"For each state, energy use intensities (EUI’s) were calculated for a home just meeting the state prescriptive code requirements and compared to an EUI representing the collected field data. Results suggest that, on average, energy codes deliver most or all expected energy savings for the code adopted in a given state, overall—the opposite of conventional wisdom. At the same time, many sampled homes failed to meet at least one key code requirement, and many of the non-key requirements were not met. Also, the adopted code varied by state so there is clearly more energy savings potential available from adopting new codes. This rich new data set will
drive important discussions on the value and role of energy codes

Integrated Design for Affordable, Factory Built Homes

ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Aug. 2016, by Eric Ansanelli, Devanshi Dadia, Jordan Dentz, Zoe Kaufman, Emanuel Levy, Pournamasi Rath, and Greg Barker.

"In many respects that impact energy efficiency, manufactured housing is an anomaly in the shelter business. The industry builds to a national standard, most of the construction is done in a controlled manufacturing environment typically far removed from the building site, and portions of the home are completed by installers outside the control of the factory.... However, this is about to change as the industry energy standards, last updated in 1994, will be raised to levels roughly equivalent to IECC 2015, an unprecedented leap in efficiency regulation."


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