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Energy Newsbriefs

Articles for July 1, 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.


"New Battery Design Could Help Solar and Wind Energy Power the Grid" is an April 24, 2013 press release from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Researchers from SLAC and Stanford University have designed the battery in response to the need to store energy generated at wind and solar installations for later use when wind and/or solar input is down. The press release includes an interactive schematic of current battery design that switches to the new lithium-polysulfide one developed by the researchers, a video demo of the new battery, and other, possibly useful, links.


A three-part article, by Jennifer Warnick, on Microsoft's effort to make the smart buildings on its main campus even smarter in order to increase their efficiency levels was published on the GreenBiz website:

  1. "How Microsoft Quietly Built the City of the Future," published May 6, 2013, gives a bit of the history of the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington and explains how campus buildings, built at different times with different building systems, sensors, and controls could be, eventually, managed as one. A team developed a new system that could understand all the others so that facilities engineers could read data to discover and correct underperformance from their desktops.
  2. "Inside Microsoft's Living, Breathing Building," published May 7, 2013, elaborates on the sea change in the workload experienced by facilities engineers when the buildings were able to deliver reliable data on a large scale. Further, it shows a bit about how the software works and how the engineers interact with it.
  3. "How Microsoft Plans to Transform Buildings Worldwide," published May 8, 2013, explains that Microsoft will make its smart buildings software available to all building facilitators.


"Underwater Work: Sonar Scans Reveal Sedimentation Issues with Shoshone Powerplant Intake" was authored by Tracy B. Vermeyen, PE, Hydraulic Investigations and Laboratory Services Group, U.S. Department of the Interior; it was published in the May 2013 issue of Hydro Review. The head loss that has resulted in lower power generation at Shoshone has been shown, as suspected, to be consistent with a large amount of accumulated sediment blocking intake.


The Home Power website has a tab which includes five categories (sub-tabs) to select for information on saving energy in the home; here are the categories: Basics, Electricity, Design & Construction, Equipment & Products, and Project Profiles.

"Standard Work Specifications for Single-Family Home Energy Upgrades Summary" is a November 2012 two-page fact sheet by James Jones, NREL. It discusses the DOE-developed Standard Work Specifications for Single-Family Home Energy Upgrades. The specifications define the "minimum requirements for high-quality residential upgrades," which should be helpful to those in the industry, program administrators, and homeowners.

"Spring and Summer Energy-Saving Tips" is a Web page from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office of the U.S. Department of Energy. The site offers many tips for energy savings for the warmer months.


The following two (undated, but recent) articles, by staff, were posted on the North American Clean Energy website:

  1. "Going Green: Corps Builds Largest Induction Solar Wall in the Country" is about the installation at the Defense Logistics Agency's (DLA) Eastern Distribution Center in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. The solar thermal collectors are associated with an energy savings of $350,000 per year.
  2. "Student-built Solar House Becomes Permanent Research Facility at University of Calgary" reports on the Canadian zero-energy structure that competed in the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon.


"Energy Efficiency Potential of the U.S. Freight System: A Scoping Exercise" (full text is free to view with registration) is a 28-page, May 10, 2013, research report, by Ben Foster and Therese Langer, for ACEEE (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy). ACEEE is aiming to learn what research says about two things: how much energy and greenhouse gases could be reduced in the freight transportation sector and whether even more reductions would be possible if different strategies were employed. The report includes an Executive Summary on PDF-pages 5-6 (document-pages iii-iv).

Past issues of Energy Newsbriefs are available here. Generally, subscription information for the journals cited above can be found at the home page of their web sites. © 2013 Washington State University Extension Energy Program. This publication contains material written and produced for public distribution