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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.


Category: HVAC/R


Enduring Summer’s Deep Freeze

New York Times, July 4, 2015, by Kate Murphy.

"Why is America so over air-conditioned? It seems absurd, if not unconscionable, when you consider the money and energy wasted — not to mention the negative impact on the environment from the associated greenhouse-gas emissions. Architects, engineers, building owners and energy experts sigh with exasperation when asked for an explanation. They tick off a number of reasons — probably the most vexing is cultural."

Are Your HVAC Controls Helping or Hurting?

Buildings, Aug. 1, 2015, by Janelle Penny.

"Sophisticated controls can be a great way to boost the energy efficiency of your HVAC system, but if they’re not installed properly or used correctly, you may end up wasting energy without realizing it."

3 Options for HVAC Energy Savings

Building Operating Management, June 2015, by James Piper.

"Even with today’s falling energy prices, facility managers are looking for ways to reduce the energy use of HVAC systems. New technologies and improvements in existing technologies are giving facility managers options. While advances can be seen in practically all HVAC systems, some of the most significant advances are coming in three particular areas: variable refrigerant flow systems, rooftop units, and geothermal systems."

Is VRF Right for Your Next Project?

Consulting-Specifying Engineer, June 2015, by Amara Rozgus.

"Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems can be specified into a variety of buildings, especially those that require flexibility. An overview of these systems and some best practices have been provided by Julianne Laue, PE, LLED AP BD+C, BEMP, senior energy engineer at the Center for Energy Performance, Mortenson, Minneapolis."

A Healthy Dose of Efficiency [Hospitals]

Business Energy, June 2015, by David C. Richardson.{}

"Hospitals may prioritize medical equipment, but can't ignore their unique HVAC needs."

Case Study: Working Example: Zero Net Energy Center

High Performing Buildings, Summer 2015, by Michael Hummel and others.

"To prepare electrical apprentices for working in the sustainable building industry in Northern California, the Zero Net Energy Center is a working example of an emerging phenomenon. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 595 (IBEW) and the Northern California Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) created a world-class learning environment for apprentices to gain hands-on experience with cutting-edge technology and electrical systems. The ZNEC also addresses the need to repurpose the existing building stock in the U.S. by transforming a typical 1980s suburban office building into a modern net zero energy showcase. "

Case Study: From Darkness to Light: Engaging Employees to Save

High Performing Buildings, Summer 2015, by Scott Bowman and Carey Nagle.

"Moving from a cave-like warehouse to an environment filled with daylight represented a dramatic shift for employees of the Iowa Utilities Board and Office of Consumer Advocate (IUB/OCA). Employees jumped on board with the energy-efficiency efforts, giving up comforts such as individual coffee makers, and opening and closing windows as needed to operate the natural ventilation system. An integrated design that maximizes passive strategies provides significant energy savings, but employee cooperation, especially involving plug load reduction, has proven key to reaching and maintaining performance goals. "

Predicting the Future of RTUs [Rooftop Units]

Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News, June 15, 2015, by Jen Anesi.

"With the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and industry stakeholders currently working together on a negotiated rulemaking setting new energy conservation standards for commercial package equipment, and with codes and standards mandating increased ventilation and higher efficiencies for this equipment, manufacturers are finding innovative ways to meet and exceed expectations while creating comfortable, healthy indoor environments for building occupants."

Degrees of Freedom in HVAC Controls Design

ASHRAE Journal, June 2015, by John Varley.

"Stable control of an HVAC system can only be achieved when the number of controlled variables are less than or equal to the degrees of freedom (DOF), which represents the maximum number of variables in the control system that can be manipulated by it. In complex HVAC applications, the number of points in a system, such as an air handler control sequence, can exceed 100. Therefore, understanding the DOF in such a system is essential in realizing a stable control sequence. This article reviews the process of calculating the DOF and applies it to an air-handling system to inform the HVAC design community of its ease of application and benefits to the design process."

Blue Devils Go Green: Duke Converts Steam Plant From Coal to Gas

Heating/Piping/Air Conditioning Engineering, June 2015, by Greg Carnathan and Cheryl Piner.

"University ends 80-year dependence on coal."


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