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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: Environment


Breakthrough Advancements in Biofuels Research?

Engineering360 (IEEE), Oct. 4, 2016, by Brad Buecker.

"After a look at some biomass basics, this article examines an example of research at ISU Iowa State University] regarding biofuels/biochemicals production methods."

Hydropower Isn’t Carbon Neutral After All, WSU Researchers Say

The Seattle Times, Sept. 28, 2016, by Lynda V. Mapes.

"Washington State University researchers have learned that reservoirs produce much more methane, a potent greenhouse gas, than previously understood."
Link to access the full-text article:

New Data Reaffirms Carbon Benefits of Biodiesel

National Biodiesel Board, Sept. 14, 2016, by Jessica Robinson.

"Wally Tyner, a professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, presented his research team’s latest findings today regarding the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of producing biodiesel from soybeans.  Those findings confirm that soybean oil offers very good carbon reduction when used to displace fossil fuel. Tyner is supported by the James and Louis Ackerman endowment."

Biodiesel a Fuel Option for Army Workboats

Engineering360 (IEEE), Aug. 31, 2016, by John Simpson.

"A three-year study to evaluate the feasibility of using biodiesel fuel in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) floating plant operations has concluded that the use of such fuels does not negatively affect engine performance and can reduce production of selected environmentally sensitive emissions."

The Greatest Energy Story You Haven't Heard: How Investing in Energy Efficiency Changed the US Power Sector and Gave Us a Tool to Tackle Climate Change

ACEEE, Research Report U1604, August 19, 2016, by Maggie Molina, Patrick Kiker, and Seth Nowak.

"An invisible resource is working quietly behind the scenes to provide American families and businesses with the power necessary to live and work. This resource lowers harmful pollution, creates US jobs, reduces energy burdens for those most in need, and strengthens community resilience. It also improves the bottom line for business, returns at least double its investment, and saves American households, on average, $840 dollars a year. Energy efficiency has become the nation’s third-largest electricity resource. With increased support it could become the largest—and one of the world’s core strategies to tackle climate change."

Proving its Long-Term Mettle: Longevity, Whole-Building LCAs, and Stainless Steel

The Construction Specifier, Aug. 2016, by Catherine Houska.

"Whether the project is a new building or major renovation, sustainability is an increasingly important factor in decision-making. Whole-building life cycle assessment (LCA) makes it possible to look at all phases of a building, from material extraction through construction to decommissioning and, when possible, recycling into a ‘new’ useful material. When it comes to comparing materials, increasingly available data, an ASTM standard procedure, and LCA analysis software are helping design professionals make better choices to reduce the building’s carbon footprint."

How Increasing Efficiency Can Stem Climate Change Impacts On the Energy-Water Nexus

ACEEE Blog, Aug. 5, 2016, David Ribeiro.

"In this post, we explore the roles of energy efficiency and water efficiency in moderating some of the adverse impacts of climate change that we covered in the prior post."

The Future of Air Conditioning for Buildings

U.S. Dept. of Energy, EERE, July 2016, by Navigant Consulting and Oak Ridge National Lab.

"This report characterizes the current landscape and trends in the global air conditioning (A/C) market, including discussion of both direct and indirect climate impacts, and potential global warming impacts from growing global A/C usage. The report also documents solutions that can help achieve international goals for energy efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions."

Pushing the Envelope: PNC Tower, World's Greenest High-Rise, Is A Study In Simplicity

Building Operating Management, Apr. 2016, by Ronald Kovach.

"For all the complexity of its systems and building envelope, the structure that is being touted as the greenest high-rise in the world is also a study in simplicity. The Tower at PNC Plaza, which opened in October in Pittsburgh, is using that most primal of objects — the sun — to help create essential building systems, namely HVAC and lighting. And a gigantic solar-fired version of another fundamental — hot air rising up a chimney — is also a vital part of how the building works. At the same time, it is the sun that has created the structure’s biggest surprises."

Understanding Highly Insulated Wall Assemblies’ Relationship with Global Warming

The Construction Specifier, Mar. 2016, by Jim Lambach.

"A well-insulated building envelope is the starting point in any energy conservation strategy. The embodied global warming potential (GWP) of the insulating material, as part of a complete wall assembly, must be weighed against the use-phase energy efficiency contribution to see the complete environmental picture. This article examines the impact of both high- and low-embodied GWP insulation materials on the ultimate benefit of highly insulated wall assemblies."
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