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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.


Duct Dynasty: Are Smart Vents Really That Smart?

Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News, May 25, 2015, by David Richardson.

"The concept behind the smart vent goes back to a myth that is decades old. The myth is that if you close the supply registers to rooms you don’t use, you’ll save energy by not heating or cooling those rooms. Sounds logical, right?  To understand some of the interactions these devices can cause with an HVAC system, you have to understand how dampering supply registers affects static pressure and system airflow. It’s also important to know how fans in HVAC equipment respond to these changes in static pressure."

Inverters: Efficient, Comfortable, Quiet: Ductless Technology Moves into Ducted ASHPs

Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News, May 25, 2015, by Joanna R. Turpin.

"Once the hallmark of high-efficiency ductless equipment, more manufacturers are incorporating inverter-driven compressors into their ducted air-source heat pump (ASHP) offerings. The reasons for this are simple: Inverter technology improves energy efficiency, provides better comfort, and offers quieter operation."

Barriers to Industrial Energy Efficiency: Report to Congress

U.S. Department of Energy, June 2015.

"This report examines barriers that impede the adoption of energy efficient technologies and practices in the industrial sector, and identifies successful examples and opportunities to overcome these barriers. Three groups of energy efficiency technologies and measures were examined: industrial end-use energy efficiency, industrial demand response, and industrial combined heat and power. This report also includes the estimated economic benefits from hypothetical Federal energy efficiency matching grants, as directed by the Act."

Natural Ventilation: Bringing Fresh Air Into Commercial Buildings

The Construction Specifier, June 2015, by Michael P. Toohey.

"This article discusses the history of ventilation, describes its principles, and compares it with mechanical ventilation. The issues examined consider when specifying a separate window and actuator compared to an integrated natural ventilation system; it also addresses the options available for natural ventilation."

2 Simple Steps to Choosing the Right Motor

Pumps & Systems, June 2015, by Mike Stockman.

"Every pump industry professional faces the challenge of choosing the most efficient system for a particular application. This process is complicated by the uncertainties of efficiency regulations, mandates and parameters, especially when efficiencies alone do not tell the whole story. Sometimes the most efficient motor is not the best choice. By using two simple calculations, pumping professionals can determine the best motor—as well as the best pump and drive—for each application."

Deploy Grid Energy Storage Using Best Practices From Existing Installations

Solar Industry, June 2015, by Chris Thompson.

"...there are several commonalities between solar and grid-tied storage, and important lessons from the solar industry provide substantial guidance in energy storage application. Performance, pricing and packaging are the 'three Ps' of storage project deployment, derived from our direct experience in both solar and storage project deployment over the last few years."

Sandy Grove Middle School [NC]: Mitigating Cost with Net-Zero Design

Net Zero Buildings, May 2015, by Barbara Horwitz-Bennett. [Scroll to page 8.)

"The public and private sector team up to deliver an energy-positive school with a finely tuned energy profile, resulting in projected savings of $16M over 40 years."

8 Drains on Building Efficiency, 5 Ways to Fix Them

Building Operating Management, May 2015, by Ronald Kovach.

An article in four parts:
Part 1: 2 Ways Building Energy Performance Deteriorates
Part 2: Role of Staff, Training, Building Data in Loss of Energy Efficiency
Part 3: Maintenance Plan, ‘Walk-Around’ Audits Can Help Restore Energy Efficiency
Part 4: Comparative Data, Coil Cleaning Can Help Restore Energy Efficiency

Multiple Benefits of Multifamily Energy Efficiency for Cost-Effectiveness Screening

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), June 16, 2015, by Rachel Cluett and Jennifer Amann. [Free registration required to view full-report.]

"This report describes the multiple benefits of energy efficiency in multifamily retrofit programs and discusses particular ways of establishing their value so administrators can include them in cost-effectiveness testing."

Defining Indoor Air Quality: IAQ Means Different Things to Different People, Organizations

Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration News, June 8, 2015, by Joanna R. Turpin.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as "associations, such as ASHRAE, and individual states, including California and New Jersey, have put forward standards and regulations that address IAQ issues, but the definition of IAQ still remains somewhat nebulous. Perhaps that is because so many factors affect IAQ — everything from poor ventilation and high (or low) humidity to pesticides, mold, and radon. In addition, it can be a challenge to quantify proper IAQ, particularly when occupants in a space have varying tolerances to different contaminants and irritants."


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