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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.


CPI to Produce Biogas from Seaweed Using Anaerobic Digestion

Biomass Magazine, Aug. 13, 2015.

"The Centre for Process Innovation has announced that it is leading a £2.78 million ($4.34 million) U.K.-based collaboration to help strengthen the U.K.’s position as a world leader in industrial biotechnology. The three year project—'SeaGas’—is working on producing biomethane from seaweed through anaerobic digestion (AD)."

Study Suggests Residential Pellet Offgassing a Nonissue

Biomass Magazine, Aug. 12, 2015, by Anna Simet.

"According to results from a new study released by the University of New Hampshire, indoor storage of pellets in homes using the fuel for heat does not pose a risk of generating carbon monoxide (CO) levels above recommended thresholds. The issue has been contentious in the Northeast, said Adam Sherman, executive director of Vermont-based Biomass Energy Resource Center."

Energy Efficiency in the Clean Power Plan: Take One

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Aug. 12, 2015, by Cassandra Kubes.

"On August 3rd, EPA released the final Clean Power Plan (CPP), a rule that sets performance rates and individual state targets for carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. Now that the emissions targets are set, energy efficiency plays a prominent role as a proven strategy that states can use to reduce energy, cut emissions, and boost the economy."

Venting Vapor

Building Science Corporation, July 15, 2015, by Joe Lstiburek.

"Sometimes the obvious is not so obvious. And sometimes the not so obvious becomes obvious. For example installing leaky ductwork in a vented attic is a pretty dumb idea. It leads to negative pressures and high air change that depending on the time of year and climate zone results in part load humidity problems, ice damming, excessive energy use, loss of comfort, whatever. If radon were valuable we would mine it this way. Where there is an attached garage we call it the Kevorkian option. Everyone pretty much gets it."

Why RECs Matter: The Case for Renewable Energy Credits

North American Windpower, July 2015, by Roger W. Rosendahl.

"RECs can be a meaningful incentive and a flexible facilitator of renewable portfolio standards."

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."

Methodological Comparison of Cost-effectiveness of IECC Residential Energy Codes

ICF International, submitted to the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition, Jul. 21, 2015.

"ICF was asked to conduct an analysis of building energy codes, comparing life-cycle cost analysis (LCC) – the predominant method used to evaluate the cost effectiveness of energy codes and other public policies – with two other cost-effectiveness methods: simple payback and mortgage cash-flow. Since a significant proposal before Congress would designate simple payback as the principal basis for energy code cost-effectiveness, representing a departure from decades of policy analysis practice, it is important to provide a robust comparison of simple payback to the LCC and mortgage cash-flow methods. ...this study provides a rigorous, consistent, quantified comparison of these three methodologies."

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."

Expensive Doesn’t Always Mean Efficient: Correctly Sizing, Selecting, and Installing Equipment...

Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration News, June 22, 2015, by Joanna R. Turpin.

"HVAC systems now come with higher efficiencies than ever, with air-source cooling equipment surpassing the 25-SEER mark and gas furnaces achieving more than 98 percent AFUE. Customers who pay for these highly efficient (and expensive) systems expect them to achieve those ratings and provide superior comfort, and, if they don’t, they are often disappointed and even angry. When high-end equipment does not live up to consumer expectations, the culprit is almost always improper installation.

The bottom line: Properly sizing, selecting, and installing HVAC equipment is critical to ensuring energy efficiency and comfort

Technology Solutions Case Study: Overcoming Comfort Issues Due to Reduced Flow Room Air Mixing

U.S. Department of Energy, Building America, March 2015.

"The U.S. Department of Energy Building America team IBACOS studied when HVAC equipment is downsized and ducts are unaltered to determine conditions that could cause a supply air delivery problem and to evaluate the feasibility of modifying the duct systems using minimally invasive strategies to improve air distribution."


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