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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: Buildings


Building Internet of Things: Emerging Tools for Green Buildings

Building Operating Management, Oct. 2015, by Robert Knight.

An article in 4-parts: Exploring the promise and challenge of the Building Internet of Things for facilities.
1) Value of Internet of Things to Green Buildings
2) IoT Lighting Controls Taking the Lead in Efficient, Green Applications
3) Complexity of Commercial Buildings a Challenge to IoT Applications
4) Big Future Predicted for IoT, but a Simple Definition Is Elusive

Specifying Acoustical Ceilings in Green Buildings

The Construction Specifier, Aug. 2015, by Kenneth P. Roy.

"Until now, acoustics in commercial office buildings had not been a formal part of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating systems except on a case-by-case basis. The new LEED v4 criteria, however, now takes into account the value of good acoustics in enhancing occupant satisfaction and productivity."

It's All About the Data: How the Building Performance Database is Informing Decisions on Energy Efficiency

U.S. Department of Energy, Aug. 25, 2015.

"Filling a gap in the market, the BPD provides public access to anonymized data on hundreds and thousands of buildings and homes.  Increased access to energy-related information in buildings allows end-users to make key decisions on energy efficiency projects, policies and programs. For the first time, users can compare variables across regional markets, uncover data trends, and draw conclusions that would otherwise be impossible or costly to identify."

Energy Efficiency: Data Should Drive Energy Upgrades

Building Operating Management, July 2015, by Richard Lubinski.

"It’s important for facility managers to understand the importance of data before, during, and after energy efficiency projects. Data can be your friend. Data — which as we’ll see, comes from such sources as utility bills, meters, submeters, and data loggers — guides energy audits (also called energy assessments) that lead to the creation of energy conservation measures (ECMs) that in turn will serve the building’s interests. Those audits also provide reliable estimates of energy savings and return on investment (ROI) — an important benefit, since measurement and verification (M&V) are essential with energy upgrades."

Retrofit Guide for Building Automation

Buildings, July 2015, by Janelle Penny.

"Building automation systems (BAS) can do so much more than energy management. Intuitive interfaces can help FMs find hot spots, catch malfunctioning equipment, and target maintenance where it’s most needed. The market is flush with options for your facility, but buying one of these systems is a complex decision that must be customized for each building. Maximize your investment and hit the ground running with these BAS purchasing tips."

Teaching the Arithmetic of Deep Retrofit Value

Rocky Mountain Institute, July 28, 2015, by David Labrador.

"Does it make business sense to do a deep energy retrofit on a commercial building? Many investors currently overlook the retrofit’s value beyond its energy cost savings, but now their asset managers will be able to do a more complete calculation and paint a fuller picture of a retrofit’s value. Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) have partnered to create a series of online courses that debuted this month."

Why Your High-Efficiency-Lighting May Not Be Very Efficient At All

National Lighting Bureau News, July 14, 2015.

"Silver Spring, MD: Imagine, if you will, the world’s most efficient lighting system; a system so efficient that it provides all the lighting needed by a 100-person workforce for  the fantastically small sum of just $100 per year; that’s $1 per person per year. Can a lighting system be any more efficient than that? Yes, it can, says National Lighting Bureau Chair James M. “Jim” Yorgey, P.E., LC, CTS: “While having a highly efficient lighting system is important, it’s even more important – from a bottom-line point of view – that the lighting system contribute to the enhanced efficiency of other systems that are affected by lighting, human systems in particular.”

Perspectives on Lighting Retrofits

Business Energy, June 2015, by Carol Brzozowski.{}

"Improved efficiency and safety, lowered costs and maintenance."

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. "
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