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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: Commercial


Right Light: How to Recommission and Revitalize Lighting Control Systems

Building Operating Management, July 2015, by Desiree Hanford.

Article in 3-parts:
Part 1: How to Recommission and Revitalize Lighting Control Systems
Part 2: Knowing the Types of Lighting Control Systems and How Often Recommissioning Is Needed
Part 3: At Peace Institute in Washington, D.C. , Complex Lighting Controls Get an Ongoing Commissioning

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."

Saving Water with Cooling Towers

ASHRAE Journal, Aug 2015, by Frank Morrison.

"Saving water with cooling towers. At first glance, this statement seems counterintuitive. Cooling towers save energy but aren’t they major users of water? This article will help readers understand the critical role evaporative heat transfer systems play in a sustainable environment, explore how water is consumed in such systems, and review the strategies that help minimize the use of both water and energy."

Case Study: Zero-Net Energy Transit Center

Consulting-Specifying Engineer, July 2015, by Mark Walsh-Cooke and Carolyn Sarno Goldthwaite.

"The John W. Olver Transit Center zero-net energy (ZNE) [Greenfield, MA]project is a high-performance building designed with reduced energy loads, passive design strategies, maximized efficiency of mechanical and electrical systems, and on-site power generation."

Using Less Energy to Keep Drinks Cold

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Aug. 5, 2015, by Joanna Mauer.

"Late yesterday, the Department of Energy (DOE) proposed strong new standards that would reduce the energy consumed by beverage vending machines to keep drinks cold. The proposed standards would cut energy use by 25-65% relative to the least-efficient machines available now, and save money for schools, hospitals, hotels, and other businesses and institutions where beverage vending machines are used."

Conserving, Tracking Commercial Buildings’ Water Use

Consulting-Specifying Engineer, July 2015, by Mark Graf.

"The immediate interest in a building’s energy efficiency typically focuses on heating and cooling systems, and with conserving nonrenewable resources like power and gas. Throughout the world, however, there is increased pressure to track and conserve water in nonresidential buildings."

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."

10 Cooling Tower Maintenance Tips

Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration News, June 22, 2015, by Baltimore Aircoil Co.

"A well-maintained unit will continue to function at the original optimum efficiency. Over time, a neglected cooling tower’s leaving water temperature will increase, raising energy costs by up to 6 percent for every 2°F increase. However, a well-maintained cooling tower will continue to function at the original optimum efficiency, keeping energy costs low. These simple preventive cooling tower maintenance tips can help users save up to 15 percent on electricity costs. Routine maintenance also helps to conserve water and extend the operating life of cooling equipment."

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."

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."


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