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Energy Newsbriefs

Articles for October 22, 2012

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.


"Solving a Great Biodiesel Mystery," by Ron Kotrba, Editor, Biodiesel Magazine, was published in the September / October issue of that journal. Biodiesel has a problem with clogging filters in vehicles and in dispensers in a small minority of applications. Testing and further research are underway and described in this article; No. 1-B grade biodiesel is being watched carefully to see if it can resolve all instances of clogging.


The following seven articles appeared in the September + October 2012 issue of GreenSource:
  1. "Beacons for a Brighter Future," by Sara Hart, Acting Managing Editor, GreenSource, is a case study of Timayui and La Paz Preschools in Santa Marta, Colombia. Architecture adapts to the poverty and danger of a part of the world still reeling from the violence of guerillas, paramilitary groups, and drug cartels. The adaptation presents a show of permanence, safety, beauty, bright (day lit) interiors with excellent connections to the outdoors for play and gardening, rainwater collection (though there is not much rain) for the gardens and bathrooms, thermally-efficient walls, and louvers and skylights that release warm, tropical air out of the buildings.
  2. "On Target," by Nadav Malin, is a "revisit" of a case study of the Bank of America in Manhattan. Not an energy-efficient building per se, One Bryant Park uses systems that generate and store energy on site. These systems help to make up for the building's high initial use of energy. This is a complicated, though interesting, story.
  3. "The New Cool Data Centers," by Nancy Solomon, is a six-Web-page, in-depth article showing how the IT industry is responding to more and more demands for power and efficiency. The article is, also, a Continuing Education opportunity.
  4. "Heading toward Net Zero," by Ingrid Spencer, Contributing Editor, GreenSource, is a case study of the new, under-budget, LEED-Gold, Gloria Marshall Elementary School in Spring, Texas. The design of the building is strong on conserving energy, water, and materials.
  5. "Learning Lab," by Hattie Hartman, Sustainability Editor of The Architects' Journal (AJ), is a two-Web-page case study of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO) in Wageningen. Research on bacterial DNA, biodiversity, and other aspects of the environment is conducted at NIOO, which is part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. NIOO is housed in a facility that was designed to follow the cradle-to-grave philosophy of architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart.
  6. "Science Experiment," by Joann Gonchar, AIA, Special Contributing Editor, GreenSource, is a two-Web-page, case study of the Bertschi School Living Science Building in Seattle. The building is expected to be a positive-energy building that produces more energy in the course of a year than it uses in that time. It is hoped that Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification will be awarded, making the building the fourth in the world to achieve that distinction.
  7. "Sensitive Solutions," by Alanna Malone, Assistant Editor, GreenSource, is a case study of a LEED-Gold, high-rise school ("campus") for special needs students in Manhattan. The design for the facility combined attention to both the needs of the students – low noise levels, calming colors – and the requirements of a modern sustainable building that is resource efficient and low in carbon emissions.


The following two articles were published in the August 2012 issue of Geo-Heat Center Quarterly Bulletin:
  1. "Envisioning a Model for Innovative EGS Development in the San Francisco Bay Area" was authored by Rachel Silverman, Mechanical Engineering, Cornell University. The high cost of drilling may be reduced if areas with geology appropriate to certain new drilling technologies are brought together.
  2. "Reactwell – Underground Geothermal Biomass-to-Oil Production Platform" was written by Brandon Iglesias, ReactWell, L.L.C., Tulane University. Synthetic crude oil is produced underground with a combination of biomass, gravity, and geothermal heat in a geothermal reactor. The question under investigation is whether it can be done economically.


"The New Energy Map: How the Northwest Power System Has Changed," by staff, appeared in Spring 2012 issue of Council Quarterly (a publication of the NWPCC (Northwest Power and Conservation Council). The NWPCC is a four-state compact comprised of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington; it was authorized by Congress in the 1980 Northwest Power Act. This article gives a brief recent history of the coincidence of energy supply and demand, energy markets, energy efficiency as an energy resource, renewables integration, fish and wildlife survival, and the role of the Council in these and other important, related issues.


"Fall and Winter Energy-Saving Tips" is a Web page, revised (and re-named) seasonally, from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office of the U.S. Department of Energy. The site is now offering many tips for energy savings for the cooler months.


"Home Is Where the Job Is," by staff, was published October 5, 2012 in USA Today. About 10% of Americans are working, full- or part-time, from their homes. This article has some interesting data that have applications in various areas including transportation planning.

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.

© 2012 Washington State University Extension Energy Program. This publication contains material written and produced for public distribution. Permission to copy or disseminate all or part of this material is granted, provided that the copies are not made or distributed for commercial advantage, and that each is referenced by title with credit to the Washington State University Extension Energy Program. Copying, reprinting or dissemination, electronic or otherwise, for any other use requires prior written permission from the Washington State University Extension Energy Program.