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Energy Newsbriefs

Articles for May 13, 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.


"Washington State Home Builders Lead the Nation in Energy Code Compliance" is a May 08, 2013, jointly-issued press release from the Washington State Department of Commerce and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA). Not only do the Washington State builders lead the nation in complying with "one of the most rigorous residential building energy codes in the country" – their compliance rates, at 96%-97%, are higher than the 90% urged by federal ARRA legislation – they are actually building higher than code in many cases. The full, 96-page, March 27, 2013, report on the study establishing the findings is "Washington Residential Energy Code Compliance"; it includes an Executive Summary on document-pages 1-4 (PDF-pages 6-9).

"Case Study of Envelope Sealing in Existing Multiunit Structures" is a 54-page, October 2012, document by Jordan Dentz, Francis Conlin, and David Podorson, all of the ARIES Collaborative. It describes the retrofit of a 244-unit complex in Durham, North Carolina, where the focus was on reducing air leakage by almost half.

The following four case studies were published in the Spring 2013 issue of High Performing Buildings:

  1. "Chandler's Catalyst" was co-authored by Jeff Stanton, AIA, and Jon Silhol, PE; both are LEED AP BD+C and both are of SmithGroupJJR. The authors describe the new City Hall in Chandler, Arizona, which has already begun to see some success in reaching its goal of revitalizing a nearly abandoned part of downtown Chandler. The building, in an extreme, hot-weather environment, is up to that challenge as well. Appropriate siting, green roofing, and strong attention to the building envelope are among the many features that protect its interiors from the heat and keep its energy footprint well-controlled.
  2. "Earthly Education" was written by Andy Schonberger, P.Eng., LEED AP BD+C, and Director of the Earth Rangers Centre. It is a case study of the renovation of the Centre, located in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, just north of Toronto. This educational institute for children, operating since 2004, is home to a number of animal "ambassadors" who aid in the children's instruction. The recent renovation has further increased the Centre's energy efficiencies and earned it a LEED Platinum certification for EB O&M (Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance).
  3. "Tastefully Sustainable" was authored by Jeff Blankman, Sustainable Manufacturing Manager, McCormick & Co. It discusses the case of the McCormick Distribution Center in Belcamp, Maryland. The warehouse, already having undergone an energy efficiency retrofit, was fitted for rooftop solar making it net-zero in terms of its electricity use. But the company has something more in mind. It hopes to compensate for the natural gas it uses as well as the electric power in order to become completely net-zero energy.
  4. "Urban Connections" was jointly written by Peter Van Der Meulen, AIA, LEED AP, of ZGF Architect LLP; and by Craig Briscoe, LEED AP BD+C, of Glumac. It describes Twelve | West, a building in Portland, Oregon which is notable for its employment of chilled beam technology, natural ventilation, efficient lighting, and many other sustainable features. Its EUI (energy use intensity) is 44.9 kBut/ft2.


"Commissioning for Optimal Savings from Daylight Controls" is a February 19, 2013, 84-page, final report prepared by the Energy Center of Wisconsin for the Minnesota Department of Commerce. While daylighting is incorporated into the design of sustainable buildings, it is, often, not well-implemented so that actual energy savings are dramatically less than they would otherwise be. Commissioning is shown to enable designers to realize that potential. (An Abstract and the Report Summary are provided on document-pages 1- 4 [PDF-pages 6-9].)


"Oregon's 2012 Success Proves Energy Efficiency Is Effective," by Beth Buczynski, lists some of the highlights of, and links to, the Energy Trust of Oregon’s 36-page, February 28, 2013, "Quarter 4 Report to the Oregon Public Utility Commission."


"A Plan to Fix Illinois’ Renewable Portfolio Standard," is an article by Kevin Borgia that was carried in the April 2013 issue of North American Windpower. The author explains problems in the state's RPS and suggests a way to solve them.

"When It Comes to the Environment, Many Conservatives Don’t Like Conserving" is a short article by John Timmer; it was posted on the ArsTechnica website on May 1, 2013. A recent study indicates what other studies had suggested earlier, that environmentalism has become quite politicized. The article explains how that plays out in consumers' purchasing choices.


"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