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Energy Newsbriefs

Articles for February 25, 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.


"California Dairy Shows Little Things Equal Sustainability," written by Walt Cooley, Editor, Progressive Dairyman, and posted on that journal's website on January 15, 2013. Reduced parlor on-time, automated driving, and lighter-weight farm vehicles are three examples of how energy is being saved at a California dairy.

"Corn Cobs On Deck for Cellulosic Feedstock" (scroll to page 22 of this 24-page issue), by staff, was included in the January 2013 issue of Agricultural Research, a USDA publication. It reports on field research showing that removing post-harvest corn cobs from soil protected by a mix of plant residue resulted in no overall effect on the amount of protection the remaining residue offered.

BUILDINGS – Commercial

The following two articles were published in the January 2013 issue of Interiors & Sources:

  1. "Green for Less" was written by Edward W. Woodill, III, Founder and Design Principal of Studio 3 Designs. It offers the concept of "green integration" to those interested in greening their existing commercial facilities but find the LEED process daunting and too costly. Green integration could be a route to LEED certification, but it might, alternatively, be a way to achieve a very high level of sustainability and excellent life-cycle cost savings without any actual LEED recognition.
  2. "Redefining the Ordinary" by Robert Nieminen, Editor, Interiors & Sources, explains the latest in the design of commercial office interiors. For one thing, the "open office" allowed for the reduction of overall office space which remains common practice. On the other hand, the "open office" proved to be a bit too open so commercial interiors are including more rooms for individual work and small group collaborations that, in either case, are free from the intrusion of noise from typical office activities. But the big news, in what is called the "new normal," is the penetration of home design into the commercial setting encouraging workers to be social, collaborative, and individually productive the entire workday which may last well after 5 p.m. Three articles in the same Interiors & Sources issue amplify the points made in the editorial:
    1. "The New Normal: Doing More With Less" was authored by Holley Henderson, ASID, IIDA, LEED Fellow, and Founder of H2 Ecodesign.
    2. "The New Normal: The Results-Oriented Office" was written by Margie Monin Dombrowski.
    3. "The New Normal: Collaborative Products" was written by Adam Moore.

BUILDINGS - Residential

"Laser Distance Meters" was written by Bruce Greenlaw, Contributing Editor, JLC (Journal of Light Construction); it appeared in the January 2013 issue of that publication. This twenty-year-old tool complements, the author emphasizes, more traditional measuring products. Six laser distance meters (LDMs) are compared in 19 categories.


"Trimmings Costs with Composting" was written by Nora Goldstein and published in the January 2013 issue of BioCycle. This is a full description of the waste-diversion effort of Weis Markets, Inc., which has 163 stores in several states (Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia). The sidebar "Bagged Compost Closes the Retail Loop" is included.


"Plan to Double U.S. Energy Productivity by 2030 through Energy Efficiency Announced Today" was posted on the RealEstateRama website on February 8, 2013. The Alliance to Save Energy’s Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy released its report which spells out its 34-page, Energy 2030 plan – see the Summary of the plan beginning on document-page six.


"Smart Grid at a Crossroads: Refining the Business Case for Advanced Distribution Investments" by Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly; it was published in the January 2013 issue of that journal. This is a review of the topic through interesting interviews with experts from a variety of smart-grid-related firms.

"Smart Grid Triple Play," by Ed Ritchie, was carried in the January/February 2013 issue of Distributed Energy. The word "triple" in the title refers to the threefold advantage that a smart grid can offer: distributed energy, thermal storage, and demand response. They are discussed through particular examples: the participation of New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, Colorado) in the DOE RDSI program, the LonMark International and OpenADR standardization collaboration, energy storage at Great River Energy (Elk River, Minnesota), and others.


"Tool-Steel Carbides" was written by Dan Herring, The Heat Treat Doctor and published in the January 2013 issue of Industrial Heating. The author reviews the benefits (strength and resistance) and the disadvantage (cracking) of carbides introduced in the heat treatment of tool-steel. Several specific carbides are discussed in the context of how they would perform given particular applications requirements.


"Wastewater’s ‘Roadmap’ to Sustainability" was written by Rick Carter, Executive Editor of Maintenance Technology and published in the January 2013 issue of that journal. It describes the effort by the Water Environment Federation (WEF) to educate everyone about the fact that wastewater can be an energy generator. The sidebar "Leader of the Pack: East Bay M.U.D. [Municipal Utility District]" features the first wastewater utility to achieve net-positive energy, the East Bay Utility M.U.D. in Oakland, California.

 Past issues of Energy Newsbriefs are available here.

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