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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: Residential


How Net-Zero Buildings Impact the Grid

GreenBiz, Aug. 8, 2016, by Paul Lee.

"Buildings account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. carbon emissions (PDF). This means that low emission buildings must be part of our clean sustainable future. Initiatives such as Architecture 2030 and California’s Title 24 are not only helping to pave the way by creating a general framework for sustainable buildings but also pushing the boundary with Net Zero Buildings (NZBs) or Zero Energy Buildings (ZEBs) that aim to almost completely offset a building’s adverse climate change impacts. These buildings will produce just as much energy as they consume and will be commonplace by 2020 and 2030."

Lending for Energy Efficiency Upgrades in Low- to Moderate-Income Communities: Bank of America’s Energy Efficiency Finance Program

ACEEE, July 28, 2016, by James Barrett and Brian Stickles .

"In 2011, Bank of America launched its Energy Efficiency Finance Program (EEFP) to help families, businesses, and multifamily building owners in low- to moderate-income (LMI) communities increase their energy efficiency and reduce their energy bills.... Under a contract with Bank of America to evaluate this program, we [ACEEE] analyzed data supplied by the participating CDFIs and Bright Power to assess the performance of the loan portfolios as well as the efficiency investments themselves. In general, we found that the loans are performing well. "

New Heat Pump Water Heater Changes the Game

Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, July 2016.

"Today, A. O. Smith, the largest manufacturer and marketer of water heaters in North America, introduced a dramatically efficient new model of heat pump water heater. Already three times more efficient than a standard electric water heater, A. O. Smith engineers refreshed the Voltex line to improve energy efficiency benefits and performance for homes in all climates, including homes that routinely deal with cold weather."

Tacoma Power Ductless Heat Pump Proposal Changes Washington State Energy Code

Northwest Public Power Bulletin, Apr. 2016, by Sonja Bert. -- scroll or jump to page 14.

"Tacoma Power's proposal to change the Washington State Energy code will soon make ductless heat pumps (DHPs) mandatory in some new construction homes. The change will save money for homeowners and help reduce the need for future power plants across the state."

What Matters When Purchasing a Small Wind Turbine?

Solar Today, Spring 2016, by Mick Sagrillo.

"What makes a manufacturer worth considering? With the plethora of small wind web sites out there, it’s might seem daunting to try to ferret out the wheat from the chaff, who is a legitimate small wind manufacturer and who is a huckster. Actually, it is simpler than it appears. Remember the discussion about turbine certification? (ST Winter 2015/2016) This is your screen. Any manufacturer not listed with a certified turbine should not be considered, period. No matter what they promise or how much they plead. Do you want to be someone’s beta test site or do you want a working wind system for decades?"

Energy Department Invests $14 Million to Increase Energy Efficiency of Nation’s Homes and Buildings

U.S. Department of Energy, May 9, 2016.

"As part of the Administration’s effort to cut energy waste in the nation’s buildings and double energy productivity by 2030, the Energy Department today announced $14 million to dramatically increase the efficiency of our nation’s homes and buildings. These projects will cut energy costs for thousands of American families and businesses, while leading to greater demand for new building products and technologies, many of which can be produced in the U.S."  Funding distributed through the DOE Commercial Buildings Integration Program (6 projects), and the DOE Building America Program (8 projects).

Should we Promote Heat Pumps to Save Energy and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, May 4, 2016, by Steven Nadel.

"In order to examine which applications are good for obtaining cost-effective energy savings from heat pumps, ACEEE conducted a pair of analyses that we are releasing today. One addresses opportunities to replace electric resistance heat with heat pumps and the other addresses replacing gas furnaces with heat pumps."

Next Step Homes Phase 1: Savings Validation

Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Apr. 21, 2016.

"The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance is leading a regional effort called Next Step Homes. The program encourages the design and construction of homes that are capable of achieving energy efficiencies significantly greater than required by current code. Energy 350 conducted a savings validation study for the 12 homes constructed in Phase I of the program."

Lifting the High Energy Burden in America’s Largest Cities: How Energy Efficiency Can Improve Low Income and Underserved Communities

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Apr. 20, 2016, by Ariel Drehobl and Lauren Ross.

"Energy burden is the percentage of household income spent on home energy bills. In this report we measure the energy burden of households in 48 of the largest American cities. We find that low-income, African-American, Latino, low-income multifamily, and renter households all spend a greater proportion of their income on utilities than the average family. We also identify energy efficiency as an underutilized strategy that can help reduce high energy burdens by as much as 30%. Given this potential, we describe policies and programs to ramp up energy efficiency investments in low-income and underserved communities."

This Earth Day, Let’s Look at How Much Energy We’ve Been Using

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Apr. 22, 2016, by Rachel Cluett.

"Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970, and that got us thinking about how households used energy back then. What did they use it for? Do we follow the same conventional wisdom for saving energy in our homes today, even though there are some obvious differences in the types of devices we use now?  We were curious to dig in and see how energy use has changed over the past 35+ years, and how that change shapes our efforts to conserve."


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