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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.


Examining the Net Savings Issue: A National Survey of State Policies and Practices in the Evaluation of Ratepayer-Funded Energy Efficiency Programs

ACEEE, Jan. 15, 2014, by Martin Kushler, Seth Nowak & Patti Witte.

"Determining the net savings impacts of a program is one of the most prominent and longstanding challenges in the utility energy efficiency field. ACEEE conducted a national review of state approaches to the net savings issue in order to help policymakers, regulators, utilities, and other interested parties better understand this issue and how their peers are addressing it." Free registration required to view full report.

Site Assessment for Solar Water Heating Systems

Home Power Magazine, Feb./Mar. 2014, by Vaughan Woodruff.

"Without a proper site assessment, you may be putting your solar thermal system at risk for poor performance."

Using Duct Surface for Leakage Testing?: Simple Testing Isn’t Always the Most Accurate

Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News, Jan. 6, 2014, by David Richardson.

Author questions "the metrics that have been in place for residential duct leakage testing for years. Are they the most accurate metrics to use for determining duct leakage in a residential duct system? Would this be the best metric to use for quantifying duct leakage in residential duct systems?"

Solar PV: Commissioning and O&M Tools

SolarPro Magazine, Feb./Mar. 2014, by Brian Mehalic and David Brearley.

"Do you ever wonder what tools solar professionals carry when they are performing quality control, commissioning, or operations and maintenance activities on commercial and utility-scale PV systems? We did—so we found out."

Energy Efficiency: Information Drives HVAC Savings

Building Operating Management, Jan. 2014, by Jerome Conraud.

A 5-part article on the Energy Management Information System (EMIS) at McGill University:
  1. Information, Technology Help McGill University Save On HVAC Costs.
  2. Energy Management Information System Helps McGill University Cut Down On HVAC Energy Usage.
  3. Focus On Demand Can Help Cut HVAC Energy Costs.
  4. Energy Audits, Retrocommissioning Are Keys To Energy Management Plan.
  5. Set Design Standards, Review Them Often To Maximize HVAC Energy Savings.

Controls: 6 Steps to Better BAS Performance

Building Operating Management, Jan. 2014, by James Piper.

A 4-part article on optimizing Building Automation Systems (BAS):
  1. Proper BAS Installation, Operation Are Keys To Reaching System's Potential.
  2. Operator Training, Adequate Staffing Levels Help Reach Full Potential Of BAS.
  3. To Maximize BAS Benefits, Focus On Overcoming Resistance To Change, Bad Habits.
  4. Retrocommissioning Keeps BAS Working At Peak Efficiency.

Critical Facilities: Data Center Deliberation

Building Operating Management, Jan. 2014, by Loren Snyder.

A 4-part article on energy use in data centers:
  1. Air-Flow Management, Economizer Use And Understanding PUE Can Help Improve Data Center Efficiency
  2. How HVAC Economizers Can Help Data Centers Meet Energy Codes, Energy Star Ratings And ASHRAE Standards
  3. Managing Data Center Air Flow With Hot Aisles, Cold Aisles Can Help Drive Energy Efficiency
  4. Tailor Data Center Energy Strategies To Business Needs

The Impact of Cloud Computing on the Development of Intelligent Buildings

Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA), Jan. 2013, by Casey Talon, Senior Analyst with IDC Energy Insights.

A new white paper from CABA's Intelligent & Integrated Building Council (IIBC) that "assesses and promotes the next generation of intelligent building technologies, plus a whole-building approach that optimizes building performance and savings through the integration of enterprise cloud technology."

Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products: Proposed Determination of Hearth Products as a Covered Consumer Product

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office (EERE),  Dec. 31, 2013.!documentDetail;D=EERE-2013-BT-DET-0057-0002

"The U.S. Department of Energy has tentatively determined  that hearth products meet the criteria for covered products because classifying products of such type as covered products is necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of EPCA (which is to improve the efficiency of covered consumer products to conserve the energy resources of the Nation), and the average annual U.S. household energy use for hearth products is likely to exceed 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year."

Researchers: There is more to biofuel production than yield

Biomass Magazine, Jan. 16, 2014.

"When it comes to biofuels, corn leads the all-important category of biomass yield. However, focusing solely on yield comes at a high price. In the current issue of the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences, Michigan State University researchers show that looking at the big picture allows other biofuel crops, such as native perennial grasses, to score higher as viable alternatives."

The full paper is available at


The Energy Newsbriefs Blog is a continuation of the weekly Energy Newsbriefs. Please bookmark this site and return frequently. Although we will not be accepting comments from within the Blog, we would be happy to hear from you by email at