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Energy Newsbriefs

Articles for October 21, 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.


Grow Up!,” by Sara Hart, was published in the September + October issue of GreenSource. Controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) is an umbrella term for both older and newer approaches to growing food. While the article mentions three older ones (aquaculture, aquaponics, and hydroponics), it focuses on two newer ones – vertical farming and the related, building-integrated agriculture (BIA). Energy use will be one very important factor under consideration. Energy-efficient LEDs appear to provide plants with the same life-giving light that other lamps do, but use only one-quarter of the energy.


EV Charging Systems” was authored by Mike Holt, NEC Consultant, and published in the September 2013 issue of EC&M (Electrical Design, Construction & Maintenance). This is an excellent introduction to the electric vehicle that includes its power needs and the challenges it faces. It suggests ways a novice can meet technical requirements in the NEC (National Electrical Code).


Two Icons Go Green,” by Fred Bernstein, was carried in the September + October 2013 issue of GreenSource. The two icons are the Empire State Building and the U.N. Secretariat Building. The former’s extensive and expensive ($500 million) energy retrofit has a payback of three years which it will easily meet. The latter’s gutting and rebuilding (costing $150 million) now uses half the energy it once did. Both have dramatically cut their carbon footprints.

Stick-on Stone Worse than EIFS?” was written Clayton DeKorne, Executive Editor of JLC (The Journal of Light Construction) and posted in September 2013 on the JLC website. This cautionary article discusses how the newer adhered concrete masonry veneer (ACMV, also, “stick-on stone”) may be so failure-prone as to trump exterior insulation finish systems (EIFS). The article includes a helpful link to a 1992 article pointing out inadequacies of EIFS.

The following three articles were published in the September 2013 issue of Buildings:

  1. Envelope Failures and Forensics,” by Christopher Curtland, Assistant Editor of Buildings, gives, essentially, a maintenance check-list of things to do to avoid the failures in the first place; each item in the list is well-explained. Then, the author includes ways to help solve the mystery of the source of a failure that has developed – and “mystery” is not too strong a word to use given the elusive nature of the source of air and water leaks.
  2. Largest Net Zero Certified Building Shares Energy-Efficient Features,” by staff, is brief article about the LEED-NC Platinum regional office of DPR Construction, located in Phoenix. The building has, additionally, been declared a Net Zero Energy Building by the International Living Future Institute.
  3. Retrocommission for a Better Building,” by Jennie Morton, Associate Editor of Buildings, discusses retrocommissioning (sometimes known as EBCx, existing building commissioning) and how it can be employed even when there was never a commissioning done in the first place and regardless of performance expectations in the original design.


Electricity from Carbon Emissions,” by staff, published in the September 2013 issue of Buildings, is a brief article explaining how the greenhouse gas (CO2) may be used as a power source instead.


The following two articles appeared in the September issue of Building Operating Management; they discuss several different approaches to HVAC efficiencies; together they can assist the facilities manager in saving energy and increasing occupant comfort:

  1. “Ask an Expert: Jim Newman, Newman Consulting Group,” is a four-part article that covers several important aspects of HVAC systems including effective maintenance for good efficiencies and energy savings and, when necessary, choosing replacement equipment based on a proper evaluation of a facility’s current needs.
    1. Part 1: Unexplored Potential in HVAC Systems
    2. Part 2: Ensuring HVAC Operational Efficiency
    3. Part 3: The Details of Commissioning and Retrocommissioning
    4. Part 4: Determining the Correct HVAC Equipment Replacement
  2. 3 Energy-Saving HVAC Opportunities” by Loren Snyder, Contributing Editor for Building Operating Management, focuses on three other areas of opportunities for HVAC efficiencies.
    1. Part 1: Fan Efficiency Grades Can Help Decrease HVAC Energy Usage, Cut Energy Costs
    2. Part 2: Variable Refrigerant Flow HVAC Systems Can Save Energy, Money
    3. Part 3: Energy Recovery Is Becoming Common Way to Save on HVAC Costs


"Fall and Winter Energy-Saving Tips" is a Web page from the U.S. Department of Energy. The site is now offering many tips for energy savings for the cooler 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.