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Energy Newsbriefs

Articles for March 4, 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.


This is a reminder that your WSU Energy Library is providing the service, Bill Tracking for the current Washington State Legislature, on its website. This is a list of energy-related bills with their status through this 2013 session. This Library list is updated regularly. Each bill number is hot-linked to the legislative website that provides the text of the bill and a great deal of related information, including daily updates.


"Zero Waste and Plant Optimization" was written by Ron Kotrba, Editor, Biodiesel Magazine; it was published in the January/February 2013 issue of that journal. For Big Island Biodiesel refinery, zero waste means that every kind of waste is realized as profit making; a managing engineer at the plant discusses how this has been accomplished. Plant optimization is not unrelated to zero waste but it is more than just that, as is explained by the president of a biodiesel firm. A consultant to the industry discusses a product that is said to assist in the optimization effort.


"New Modelling Software System Tracks Carbon Stored over Time in Products Made from Canada’s Harvested Wood" (scroll to page 4) was published in the December 2012 issue of Information Forestry and written by Michael Magnan. The author explains that wood products continue the storing of carbon that begins with living trees. As a result, structures made with lumber may be excellent alternatives to those using building materials such as concrete and steel whose production consumes energy and emits carbon, in high levels in both cases. This article describes new software that allows users to develop models appropriate to specific cases of harvested wood. The user can track carbon that is sequestered until the product starts emitting carbon as it breaks down in a landfill or in controlled burning.


"Bracing for Climate Change" is an eight-Web-page article by Michael Cockram, published in the January/February 2013 issue of GreenSource; it is, also, a Continuing Education opportunity for a more in-depth study of the topic. It shows some very interesting approaches to living with climate change as it differently impacts geographic regions and smaller areas within regions. Among other things, it is suggested that the energy performance of buildings must be raised to much higher levels. The article draws attention to a study focused on climate change and the built environment.

Green Building and Climate Resilience: Understanding Impacts and Preparing for Changing Conditions is a 2011, 260-page study by Larissa Larsen et al. at the University of Michigan, and by Chris Pyke and Sean McMahon from the U.S. Green Building Council. This study includes an Executive Summary on pages 6-7.


"Not So Simple Machines" was written by Lee S. Langston, ASME Fellow, and Professor Emeritus, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Connecticut Storrs; it was published in the January 2013 issue of Mechanical Engineering. This is a review of new developments (for new applications) in the ancient machinery known as gears.


"Measuring the Costs and Benefits of Nationwide Geothermal Heat Pump Deployment - A Progress Report" was written by Elizabeth C. Battocletti, Bob Lawrence & Associates, Inc., and by William Glassley, Department of Geology, University of California, Davis; it was included in the November 2012 (Volume 31, Number 3) issue of the Geo-Heat Center Quarterly Bulletin,. This is a report on the state of the GHPsRUS (Geothermal Heat Pumps are U.S.) Project. It is hoped that, by producing cost-benefit analyses for using geothermal heat pumps in 30 metropolitan areas, the GHPsRUS Project will lead to increased interest in new GHP installations across the country.

"Residential Futures: Thought-Provoking Ideas on What’s Next for Master-Planned Communities" is a 36-page, 2012, discussion paper from the Urban Land Institute – Terwilliger Center for Housing. Master-planned communities have been hard hit by the recession making it difficult to forecast the forms that residential development will take.


"Energy Farms: Is the Time Ripe?" by Peter Brown, Principal, Euro Marketing Tools, was carried in the January/February 2013 issue of Biodiesel Magazine. It suggests that co-location is the logical way forward in the development of renewables.


"Community Wind Myths" is a two-page, January 2013, fact sheet from the Wind and Water Power Technologies Office (WWPTO) of the U.S. DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program; it was authored by Frank Oteri of NREL. Citing specific, published research that is Web-accessible to the reader, myths about wind are shown to be contrary to known facts. The myths involve issues of land use and land values, quality of human and other life, human health, and economics, generally.


"The Harvesting Life: Feedstock Demand and Economic Opportunity Are Creating a New Biomass Job Force" (scroll to page 16)was written by Luke Geiver, Features Editor, Biomass Magazine; it was published in the January 2013 issue of that same journal. This article shows how the purposeful growing of energy feedstock and the harvesting of agricultural residue are creating new business opportunities. These, in turn, are creating new jobs.

 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