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Anaerobic Digester Could Bolster Economic and Environmental Goals

May 19, 2016: Have you sidestepped Interstate 5 in southern Thurston County to get a closer look at our local dairy farms, creameries, wineries, nurseries, and organic vegetable farms along the “Bountiful Byway”? If so, you know firsthand that a notable feature of rural excursions on sunny days is odor, especially when dairy producers spread manure as fertilizer.

Our alternative fuels specialist, Jim Jensen, is working with stakeholders to evaluate how a community anaerobic digester could use manure, food waste, and other organic wastes to address this odor issue and produce renewable energy, biofertilizers, and other marketable products. The Phase 1 report just released lays the foundation for building a community digester to advance rural Thurston County’s economic and environmental goals. read more ...

Researching Energy Information

April 21, 2016: We just published a fresh factsheet about the WSU Energy Library, a unique, full-service library at our Olympia location. The WSU Energy Library provides energy-related information to all Washingtonians. Read it here!

We Won! The Jeffrey A. Johnson Award Honoring Excellence in the Advancement of Building Energy Codes

March 24, 2016: The team nominated by the WSU Energy Program for this prestigious national award – Chuck Murray, Washington Dept. of Commerce; Gary Nordeen, WSU Energy Program; and David Baylon, Ecotope – was recognized at the 2016 DOE National Energy Codes Conference for their leadership in establishing building energy codes that support energy efficiency goals.

From the WSU Energy Program award nomination:

For many years, the state of Washington has had one of the most innovative and rigorous residential energy codes in the nation. It is also a state with a very high level of compliance with its code. The team we are nominating for the Jeffrey A. Johnson Award has led innovations in Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) development and implementation that have made those twin successes possible. A key to their success in improving energy efficiency in Washington state residences is addressing this issue from various angles: influencing policy, providing training and technical assistance, vetting new energy-efficient technologies, and analyzing results to support code changes. The three nominees integrate their insights to catalyze the changes that keep the WSEC among the most rigorous and effective state energy codes in the country.

Congratulations to Chuck, Gary, and David for their decades of hard work that earned them this recognition.


Re-inventing the Energy Landscape Thanks to ARRA

March 1, 2016: Much of the good work accomplished by the WSU Energy Program in recent years was catalyzed by funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). These projects include operating the U.S. Department of Energy Recovery Act Clearinghouse, establishing Washington state’s Community Energy Efficiency Program, supporting resource conservation management programs in schools and local government, and evaluating promising energy-efficient technologies and determining their potential in real-world markets.

ARRA funding encouraged energy engineers and scientists across the U.S. to re-invent the energy landscape. This Energy Department article, The Recovery Act and Clean Energy, details how far we’ve come.


Enormous Growth in Number of Solar PV Systems in WA

January 28, 2016: Sunny news for a wintery Thursday: In 2015, the number of solar PV systems certified by our solar specialist for the WA Renewable Energy System Cost Recovery Program grew by more than 50 percent over 2014 numbers. Clearly it's working! 

E3T Showcase Webinar: Multifamily New Construction Technology Roundup

December 15, 2015: Register now for this Thursday's E3T webinar, featuring presentations by Seattle City Light's Meghan Pinch and Ecotope's Jonathon Heller. Noon to 1:00 p.m., Dec. 17.  read more ...

Consortium Collecting Information about State's Public School Buildings

November 13, 2015: The Washington State Legislature has requested the assistance of our Plant Operations Support Consortium to inventory and assess the condition of Washington’s schools. This information will help our elected officials make informed decisions about school facilities essential to support basic education throughout the state. read more ...

Leading Clean Energy Development for Thurston County

October 28, 2015: Thurston County, LOTT Clean Water Alliance, Puget Sound Energy, and The Evergreen State College have partnered with the WSU Energy Program to assess the feasibility of converting dairy, food, and other organic wastes into multiple renewable energy and agricultural resources. read more ...

New Issue of Shop Talk Now Available

October 20, 2015: Our Plant Operations Support Consortium staff just published the fall edition of Shop Talk. read more ...

Energy Department Announces State Energy Program National Evaluation Results

October 6, 2015: For every dollar spent through state energy programs, participants received about $3.50 in utility bill savings over the lifetime of the efficiency measures installed.
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Bioenergy Advances Highlighted in New WSU Energy Program Factsheet

September 4, 2015: The WSU Energy Program team is influencing bioenergy development across the state, as detailed in our new factsheet. Take a look! read more ...

Duct Test Training Offered in Olympia on Sept. 9

September 1, 2015: This free training on duct testing protocols is due to a code requirement in the Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) that requires mandatory duct testing if HVAC ducts are located outside of the conditioned space.


Attendees receive a certificate documenting completion of the minimum requirement to test ducts for 2012 WSEC compliance. To learn more and sign up, read more ...

Five Tips to Help Schools Maximize Energy Efficiency During Summer Break

August 18, 2015: Our Plant Operations Support Consortium helps many school districts and other public facilities across the state respond to issues that affect energy consumption, among many other things. Energy Manager Today has published five tips to help schools maximize energy efficiency during summer break. read more ...

Harvesting Clean Energy to Support Agritourism

August 6, 2015: The Bountiful Byway in rural Thurston County, Wash., invites visitors to take a closer look at agricultural processes and buy local products from rural vendors.

The work needed to keep the farms operating must go on even when visitors are present. And it is easy to see that conflicts may arise when dairy producers use sunny days that are perfect for tourism to fertilize cropland with stored manure.

To solve the problem that occurs when visitors and farm smells collide, our bioenergy team is evaluating potential digester projects that would use organic materials from farms to produce marketable energy from biogas.

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"Staying Smarter Than Your Buildings" theme of Energy/Facilities Conference

May 8, 2015: This week, the WSU Energy Program's Plant Operations Support Consortium hosted the 11th Annual Energy/Facilities Connections Conference in Leavenworth, Wash. Presenters and attendees explored the theme, "Staying Smarter Than Your Buildings."

WSU Energy Program Director and State Representative Jake Fey noted the timeliness of this theme in his greeting to conference attendees: "Modern technology and processes allow us to track and manage buildings like never before to optimize efficiency and effectiveness. However, keeping pace with it is an endless and sometimes daunting task."

In recognition of the innovative solutions to daunting problems that two Consortium members have implemented, King County Government and Peninsula College each received an Energy/Facilities Conference Innovation award on the first day of the conference. Congratulations to our winners!

Networking events, technology demonstrations and myriad educational sessions brought together building facilities professionals from across the state to learn from industry leaders and from each other.


New Video: Fresh Air for a Healthier Home

April 8, 2015: The WSU Energy Program building science experts just released a new video: Fresh Air for a Healthier Home. This consumers’ guide to residential ventilation systems is presented in six segments so you can focus on just the information you need.

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Industrial Companies Earn State Energy Efficiency Awards

March 25, 2015: Governor Jay Inslee today honored nine industrial companies in Washington for outstanding leadership in improved energy performance at the third annual Washington Industrial Energy Leaders awards ceremony in Olympia.

“Energy efficiency means an improved bottom line for industries,” Inslee said. “A thriving industrial sector helps create and keep jobs in our state, support a strong economy and provide a cleaner environment for future generations.”

This year, six Governor’s Awards and three Sponsor’s Awards were presented.

Governor’s Awards:

  • The Boeing Co. for Leadership by Example, with Puget Sound Energy, Seattle City Light and Snohomish PUD as the serving utilities.
  • The City of Tacoma Central Wastewater Treatment Plant for Leadership in Energy Performance, with Tacoma Power as the serving utility.
  • Quincy Foods, LLC for Leadership in Energy Performance, with Grant County PUD and Cascade Natural Gas as the serving utilities.
  • Shields Bag & Printing Co. for Leadership in Innovation, with Pacific Power and Cascade Natural Gas as the serving utilities.
  • Lineage Logistics honorable mention for Leadership in Energy Performance, with Puget Sound Energy as the serving utility.
  • Inland Empire Paper Co. honorable mention for Leadership in Innovation, with Avista Utilities as the serving utility.

Sponsor’s Awards:

  • North Pacific Paper Corp. for Leadership in Energy Performance, with Cowlitz PUD as the serving utility.
  • Inland Empire Paper Co. for Leadership in Innovation, with Avista Utilities as the serving utility.
  • King & Prince and UniSea, which share a facility, joint award for Leadership in Innovation, with Puget Sound Energy as the serving utility.

Twenty applications were submitted, according to Christine Love, Washington State University Energy Program industrial services manager: “Tonight’s award winners represent the companies that ranked highest among this inspiring group.”

“Industry leaders face increasing pressure to reduce operating costs and find a more sustainable way to do business,” said Jake Fey, director of the WSU program. “The most innovative industry leaders realize that they can accomplish both of these goals by enhancing energy efficiency.”

The Washington Industrial Energy Leaders program recognizes companies that are making exceptional progress toward improved energy efficiency. The program is sponsored by the WSU Energy Program, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Washington State Department of Commerce and Bonneville Power Administration, the program’s founding sponsor.  

“BPA is very proud of the energy achievements of this year’s award winners,” said Richard Génecé, BPA vice president of energy efficiency. “Their commitments to efficiency and innovative approaches are examples of why the Northwest is a national leader in energy efficiency.”

The ceremony included Inslee, executives from industry and their serving utilities, state leaders and representatives from energy efficiency organizations.


Representative Jake Fey Introduces Solar Energy Bill

February 5, 2015: Representative Jake Fey, who is also the Director of the WSU Energy Program, introduced House Bill 1927 this week. Representative Norma Smith is the co-sponsor of this bill.

HB 1927 creates a solar production incentive program aimed at increasing installation of solar energy systems in the state, encouraging broader market participation, and facilitating development of a solar industry whose manufacturing and installation practices are economically and environmentally sustainable.

The proposed legislation was developed in collaboration with stakeholders from across the state, including solar installers, equipment manufacturers, utilities, customers, and advocacy groups, as described in Washington Solar Stakeholder Process.

The bill was first read on February 3 and has been referred to the House Technology & Economic Development Committee.

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New Lamp Innovations Ensure “Light Bulb Freedom”

January 27, 2015: The Seattle Times reports that a new bill introduced in the state Legislature would allow incandescent lamps that are manufactured in Washington state to be sold in the state.* 

But the good old days are not coming back. Consumers' lighting choices have expanded wildly in just a few years. No longer limited to incandescents – tiny, fragile space heaters that also squeeze out some light – consumers can now choose energy-saving lamps that provide light at various color temperatures and are often available at deep discounts. 

For clear insights about your choices in the lamp aisle, call the energy experts at the WSU Energy Program.

*Per federal law, incandescent lamps for certain applications are no longer sold if an energy-efficient alternative is readily available.


Delivering Energy Efficiency to Communities throughout Washington State

January 20, 2015: Thurston Energy recently launched a new weatherization rebate plan for rental homes and homes heated with propane, oil or wood to help owners save on the purchase and installation of ductless heat pump systems and weatherization projects.

Thurston Energy is one of several energy efficiency programs in communities across the state that is administered by the WSU Energy Program. The Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP), created by the Washington State Legislature in 2009, encourages homeowners and small businesses to make energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades. Over 30,000 residential units and 1,300 small businesses in the state have received energy efficiency upgrades so far.

 read more ...

Schools Selected for Pellet Heat Pilot Project

January 20, 2015: The WSU Energy Program in partnership with the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction today announced the selection of the two schools that will participate in the Wood Pellet Heat in Schools pilot program. 

Through this program, Tekoa High School in Whitman County and Darrington Senior/Middle School complex in Snohomish County will trade their fuel oil heating systems for a wood pellet solution as their primary heat source. 

WSU Energy Program renewable fuel researchers will oversee the installation and operation of the pellet heating systems, analyze the results, and present the pilot program findings. 

 read more ...

Biofuel Researchers Working to Reduce Forest Fire Impacts while Providing Clean Heating Fuel

January 8, 2015: The Tacoma New Tribune article, “Forest-thinning could help prevent another year of destructive fires, state officials say,” indicates that harvesting biomass from the state’s forest lands could help reduce forest fire impacts and provide a renewable source of heating fuel.

WSU Energy Program biofuel technology experts are in the thick of this research. They are working with K-12 schools to use wood pellets made from tree trimmings and other forest debris as a heating fuel that can replace fuel oil and propane. Our Renewable Energy team will publish the results of this pilot program when available.

 read more ...

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