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Energy Newsbriefs

Articles for February 18, 2013

ENERGY NEWSBRIEFS is a weekly current awareness service provided by the WSU Extension Energy Program Library and written by Angela Santamaria, WSU Energy Library Manager, to assist users in tracking developments in the energy field. To view past issues or to subscribe to receive an email notification of the publication of a new issue, go to the Energy Newsbriefs home.

Please be aware that although every URL is checked for accuracy prior to the publication of Energy Newsbriefs, URLs are, for various reasons, subject to change. Further, servers sometimes fail to connect to working URLs.


"A Paler Shade of Green" was authored by John H. Scofield, Professor of Physics, Oberlin College, and published in the January 2013 issue of HPAC Heating/Piping/AirConditioning Engineering. The author examines the LEED credentials of Oberlin's Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies and argues that both the building and its LEED credentials fall far short of expectations.

"RSF Influences New High Performance Buildings" is a January 24, 2013, press release from NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory). The Research Support Facility (RSF) is a net-zero energy, Platinum-LEED facility on U.S. DOE's NREL campus in Golden Colorado. The facility is, actually, a double-Platinum one, having received a second Platinum certification in November 2013, this time for a new wing that is more efficient than the original building – see "Maximizing the Maxed: Improving Design of One LEED Platinum to Earn Another" (Buildings, December 28, 2012). But RSF is more than a net-zero energy and double LEED-Platinum success; it is serving as a model and inspiration for the design and construction of other high-performance buildings around the country. This press release covers challenges met and overcome in its discussions of several noteworthy projects including the Bullitt Foundation headquarters in Seattle, an unnamed municipal administrative building in Salt Lake City, and Cornell University's Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City.


"WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin: The State of Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere Based on Global Observations through 2011" is a four-page bulletin, published November 19, 2012 by the Atmospheric Environment and Research Division of the Research Department of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).


The following two articles were carried in the January 2013 issue of Buildings:

  1. "2013: Are Facility Management Budgets on the Brink of Recovery?" by Janelle Penny, Associate Editor of Buildings, reports on the results of a recent Buildings survey that indicates that a consensus exists on this topic. Those surveyed feel that, generally, the outlook is good for some increased spending on facilities. While some of their needs (maintenance, for one example) will remain a hard sell, their budgets for capital expenses are expected to hold without any cutting. Other important challenges were noted. They include code compliance and energy-related costs, and, further, sustainability has become a major issue, possibly overriding concerns about the economy. Strategies for the facilities manager to employ in future budgeting are offered, and the sidebar "How to Implement Investment-Based Budgeting" is included.
  2. "Exemplifying Energy Management: Meeting Massive Goals," by Christopher Curtland, Assistant Editor of Buildings, is a case study of the Earth Rangers Centre, a 2006 LEED-Gold NC (new construction) building on the Kortright Living City Campus in Woodbridge, Ontario. The organization achieved LEED-Platinum EB (existing buildings) next, relying largely on its intensive and continuous, energy management effort which is well-described by the author.


"Climate Controlled," by Carol Brzozowski, is a three-web-page article published in the January/February 2013 issue of Distributed Energy; it includes the sidebars "HVAC in High Demand" and "Fine Tuning for Better Efficiency." The article features case studies of the retrofits at the New York City Center, the Sarasota, Florida, home of Benz Research and Development, and the North Jackson Elementary School in Georgia.

"Creating Energy-Efficient, Low-Risk Data Centers – ASHRAE Unveils Third Edition of Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments" was authored by Don Beaty, PE, FASHRAE, and of DLB Associates; it was published in the January 2013 issue of HPAC Heating/Piping/AirConditioning Engineering. The article offers some background information to explain how changes have occurred in acceptable temperature and humidity ranges. Also, it explores several topics of core importance to managers of data facilities including measurement points, envelopes, IT equipment, economizer use, and ASHRAE data for optimizing energy efficiency.

"Heat Exchanger Will Save WSU Thousands of Dollars," by Kaylee Ray, WSU News Intern, was published in the February 4, 2013, issue of WSU News. The heat exchanger is cooling the computer rooms on Washington State University's main campus in Pullman and saving the university $34,000 on its utility bill every winter. The technology is well-described.

"To Beam or not To Beam?" was written by Peter Simmonds, Ph.D., Senior Associate at IBE Consulting Engineers, and Head of IBE's Advanced Technology Group; it was published in the January 2013 issue of ES (Engineered Systems). The author provides the mechanical engineer, tasked with the design of an HVAC system, the means to decide for which applications would active beam technology be the sensible choice.

"Why Thermal Complaints Persist," by staff, was published in the January 2013 issue of Buildings. It replies that question with an interesting and not obvious answer: the targeted temperature (even when not occupant adjustable) is often not correctly set. It is suggested that, for one thing, the targeted temperature is set too high for all seasons. Generally, occupants prefer cooler temperatures than the one set for them: while the ASHRAE range for winter is 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit, 72 degrees is preferred by most. Similarly, while the ASHRAE range for summer is 74-79 degrees Fahrenheit, 74 degrees is preferred by most.

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© 2013 Washington State University Extension Energy Program. This publication contains material written and produced for public distribution