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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.


Manufacturers in U.S. Energy Department’s Better Plants Program Save More Than $2 Billion in Energy Costs; Program Expands to Help America’s Water Systems

U.S. Department of Energy News, Sep. 30, 2015.

"Today, as the U.S. Department of Energy prepares to kick off October’s National Energy Action Month, the department announced that manufacturers in its Better Buildings, Better Plants Program (Better Plants) have racked up an estimated $2.4 billion in cumulative energy cost savings over the last five years. Across America, manufacturers spend more than $200 billion each year to power their plants. As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to double energy productivity, American manufacturers and water and wastewater treatment agencies made a voluntary commitment to improve energy intensity by about 25 percent over ten years, or an equally ambitious level for their sector, through the Better Plants Program. Today, the department also announced that nine partners have met their energy efficiency targets this year."

Verifying Energy Efficiency Job Creation: Current Practices and Recommendations

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Sep. 2015, by Casey J. Bell, and others.

"Among the many benefits ascribed to energy efficiency is the fact that it can help create jobs. Although this is often used to motivate investments in efficiency programs, verifying job creation benefits is more complicated than it might seem at first. In this paper we identify some of the issues that we believe contribute to a lack of consistency in attempts to verify efficiency-related job creation. We then propose an analytically rigorous and tractable framework for program evaluators to use in future assessments."

Flexible Aerogel Blanket in Cryogenic Applications

Insulation Outlook, Aug. 2015, by Neal Waaks.

"A thorough discussion of aerogel's physical properties and potential benefits for cryogenic applications." Includes applications in piping and equipment in LNG facilities.

Smart Grid Trailblazers Identify Future Needs through the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project

Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA) Bulletin, Sep. 2015, by Tim Ledbetter.

"The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, a five-year effort to advance knowledge and understanding of smart grid approaches and technologies, concluded earlier this year. But the project's outcomes are expected to inform smart grid deployment well into the future."

Energy Efficiency in Water & Wastewater

Pumps & Systems, Sep. 2015, by Jeff Bergman.

"VFDs [Variable Frequency Drives] can reduce energy consumption and water loss in variable pumping systems."

Desiccant Air Dryer Control: Seeing Isn’t Always Believing

Compressed Air Best Practices, Aug. 2015, by Ron Marshall.

"Many thousands of dollars of annual electrical savings are being achieved worldwide using special purge reduction controls on desiccant air dryers. These controls reduce the expensive purge air that must flow through the dryer to regenerate the desiccant beds. But, unexpected problems with these controls can cause hidden problems that can reduce or eliminate the savings."

Keep Hydraulic Fluids Contaminant Free

Maintenance Technology, Aug. 2015, by Ken Bannister.

"Despite their complexity, hydraulic systems are very forgiving beasts—almost too forgiving for their own good. They’ll tend to perform inefficiently for a long time before catastrophic failure occurs. Unfortunately, this forgiving nature can foster a widespread, apathetic approach toward failure prevention, efficiency optimization, and service life-cycle management. Fluid is the most important part of any hydraulic system and when systems fail, the cause is most often related to fluid/fluid contamination. Those failures usually take other critical equipment and processes with them."

Review of the DOE Final Rule for Integral Horsepower Motors

Pumps & Systems, Sep. 2015, by John Malinowski.

"At the end of May 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the Final Rule that amends the regulation for integral horsepower motors. Until the rule takes effect June 1, 2016, motor manufacturers will continue to operate under rules from the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), which took effect in December 2010. This means that almost all low-voltage, three-phase motors sold for use in the U.S. will need to be premium efficiency per National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) MG 1-2014, tables 12-12 and 20B."

New Fluorescent Lamp Rules to Shake Up T8 Category

Lighting Management & Maintenance (LM&M), Aug 2105, by Craig Delouie. (Scroll to page 24.)

"In January 2015, DOE announced new energy standards for general-service fluorescent lamps, which will take effect January 26, 2018. The new rules strengthen energy standards for 4-ft. T8 linear and 2-ft. T8 U-bend, while both strengthening and expanding covered wattages for 4-ft. T5 and T5HO linear lamps. Eight-foot lamps did not see any change."

Cool Advice On Hot Motors

Maintenance Technology, Aug. 2015., by Jim Bryan.

"The effects of excessive temperature on motor performance are notorious. After moisture, they are the greatest contributor to bearing and winding failures. Understanding the source of increased temperature is key to correcting the problem and improving the reliability of your facility’s motor fleet."


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