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Energy Newsbriefs

Articles for July 15, 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.


Following are four case studies and a fifth article, a "revisit" of a built facility after it has been occupied for three years; all appeared in the May + June 2013 issue of GreenSource:

  1. "Blueprint for Change," by Joann Gonchar, AIA, Special Contributing Editor, GreenSource is a case study of the high-profile Bullitt Center in Seattle. Aimed for net-zero energy, it is designed for the very high conservation of resources from materials to construct it to the day-to-day use of heat, light, and water by its occupants.
  2. "For Students, by Students," by Alanna Malone, Associate Editor, GreenSource is a case study of Galileo's Pavilion at Johnson County Community College, designed by architecture students at the University of Kansas. A budget on a shoe string, largely dependent upon donations, produced a building that appears to be performing well. More scrutiny on post-occupancy performance is needed, but difficult to secure for reasons explained in the article.
  3. "Highest Common Denominator," by Sara Hart, Managing Editor, GreenSource describes the New Orleans Bioinnovation Center, designed and partly constructed before Hurricane Katrina razed much of New Orleans. Among the many challenges met by its designers, water – whether from very heavy rains, constantly high humidity, or extreme levels of air-conditioning condensate – is the greatest.
  4. "Home on the Range," by Asad Syrkett, is a case study of the new headquarters of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Headquarters in Agoura Hills, California. The facility is designed to be a net-zero energy one.
  5. "Persistence Payoff," by Nadav Malin, revisits an office building that was a case study in an earlier GreenSource issue, Manitoba Hydro Place in Winnipeg. In the first year of occupation, the integration of the building systems was fine-tuned. On the whole, the building is performing very well, but there have been some lessons learned about the original design.


"The Energy Fix" is a collection of seven illustrated explanations of ways for the U.S. to become energy independent; it was published in the June 2013 issue of Popular Science:

  1. "Reinventing the Solar Array" was written by Erik Sofge. The new solar array includes "spin" solar cells that avoid shading one another.
  2. "How Waste Could Power the U.S. For Decades," by David Ferris, includes nuclear (radioactive) waste, gasification of trash, and waste heat from factories.
  3. "How Geography Drives Energy Development" was authored by Katie Peek. It shows what countries are exploiting what they already have in abundance: geothermal and hydro for Iceland, wind for Denmark, and wind and solar for Germany. A chart shows how much renewable energy, as a percentage of all energy generated, is produced by 34 countries; Iceland is at 100%, the U.S. under 10%.
  4. "Engineering Triumphs over Wave and Tidal Forces," by Erik Sofge, shows how great the energy potential is for both tides and waves.
  5. "Blades Get Bigger, Turbines Get Smarter," by Erik Sofge, describes changes in wind generation that would greatly increase yield.
  6. "How to Clean Up Fracking's Bad Rep" was written by Curtis Brainard. Three changes in production are suggested as acceptable alternatives to current practices: treating wastewater to eliminate contaminants and allow for water re-use, eliminating the need for water in the first place, and recapturing methane.
  7. "When Will the U.S. Reach Energy Independence?" was authored by Susan E. Matthews. The country's energy deficit, the difference between energy production and energy use, has been shrinking since 2005.


"Inside the World's Most Ambitious Eco-City," by Dan Baum, was published in the June 2013 issue of Popular Science. This is a very interesting report on the development of Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. The author points out that though Abu Dhabi is oil-rich, in Masdar, there is an emphasis on solar generation, and, beyond that, there is a laser-like focus on innovation in sustainability.


"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.

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