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Category Archives: ‘Energy Efficiency’
Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter
ClimateWire: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Makers of computers and other electronics could be forced to cut how much power those products use as the California Energy Commission looks at mandates for lower consumption.
The agency has taken preliminary steps toward devising new rules that would shrink how much energy 15 different products can consume. Those include computers, monitors, game consoles and set-top boxes as well as several kinds of lighting, faucets, toilets, water meters, commercial clothes dryers, pool pumps and motors.
It's the latest move on power consumption by the Golden State, which previously has required manufacturers nationwide to reconfigure televisions and refrigerators. Last year it completed first-in-the-nation rules for plug-in battery chargers like those that power mobile phones, cameras and power tools.
California's actions typically have wide implications. The Department of Energy began looking at consumption rules for battery chargers not long after the state imposed its mandate.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059981095Share This Post
Out of the basement and into the fire
Katherine Tweed: May 15, 2013
The home hot water heater is hardly the cool kid in the appliance schoolyard. It doesn't receive daily human interaction. It mostly dwells in the basement. There is no former Apple designer bringing us a new, sexy water heater.
But that doesn't mean the appliance is completely forgotten. There is a tussle brewing in Washington over the second-largest energy hog in the house. The lowly hot water heater has long been part of load control programs run by electric utilities. Some hot water heaters also receive significant rebates as part of utility energy-efficiency programs. Now the two programs are potentially pitted against each other because of proposed energy conservation standards for residential hot water heaters put forth by the U.S. Department of Energy.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/hot-water-heaters-when-energy-efficiency-fights-demand-response?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=Headline&utm_campaign=GTMDailyShare This Post
“I don’t think people truly understand what just happened.”
Stephen Lacey: May 9, 2013
Conventional wisdom says that buildings are a sprawling, untamable black hole for energy. But a new analysis of federal data shows that the U.S. buildings sector has made enormous strides in efficiency over the last six years -- potentially eliminating the need to build any new power plants to support growth in the sector through 2030.
When sustainable architecture guru Edward Mazria looked at the EIA's latest Annual Energy Outlook, he noticed two surprising things: one, that 2030 projections for building energy consumption continue their steep decline; and two, that America plans to add over 60 billion square feet of new buildings by then. So even as a huge portfolio of new buildings is constructed in the next two decades, the energy needs in those buildings will be low enough to prevent the need for any new power plants to service them, concluded Mazria.
"There is no longer any need to build power plants to meet growth in the buildings sector," said Mazria. "This is a monumental shift."
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/federal-data-shows-sweeping-savings-in-energy-usage-by-us-building-sector?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=Headline&utm_campaign=GTMDailyShare This Post
“It’s difficult to get big banks off the sidelines.”
Katherine Tweed: May 1, 2013
JPMorgan Chase personnel have a lot of conversations about financing energy efficiency products. Despite the talk, “we don’t have a whole lot to show for it,” Granville Martin, executive director of environmental affairs at JPMorgan Chase said at the Advanced Energy Conference in New York City.
Despite being the largest tax equity investor in wind and solar in the U.S., Martin said that energy efficiency, in any flavor, just doesn’t seem to work for JPMorgan Chase.
Martin spoke on a panel about New York state’s forthcoming $1 billion green bank, and what role it should play to bring large investors into the energy efficiency fold. “There’s just a lack of organic demand,” said Martin, who suggested the green bank could act as an aggregator of demand to let large banks understand the demand better and then market the opportunity, especially to existing clients.Share This Post
Lights are getting smarter by the day.
Stephen Lacey: May 1, 2013
As was shown by the flood of announcements leading up to the Lightfair conference last week, all the major LED companies are focusing on implementing intelligent platforms for controlling lighting fixtures in industrial and commercial buildings. A range of new partnerships are being formed to make it easier for LED manufacturers to produce "intelligence-ready" products, which may also create new opportunities for setting modern communications standards in lighting.
Lights offer the perfect entry point for building intelligence. In many cases, a smart lighting system is the first thing in a building that connects discrete pieces of equipment to central controls. Audra Technologies, Digital Lumens and Daintree Networks, a few emerging and fast-growing companies with platforms that granularly control lights, recognize the opportunities to expand to other pieces of equipment in buildings. As they grow their capabilities, they see themselves as far more than lighting companies.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/survey-nearly-half-of-new-lighting-projects-use-automated-controls?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=Headline&utm_campaign=GTMDailyShare This Post
A recent study on the effect of 'green' marketing on light bulb purchases underscores the role ideology plays in energy efficiency. To sell more energy efficient products, companies should rethink eco-advertising.
By David J. Unger, Correspondent / May 1, 2013
Want more people to buy efficient light bulbs? Ditch the "eco-friendly" label.
That's one possible takeaway of a new study on the politics of energy efficiency. It's a reminder that the sharp debate over America's energy future doesn't reside solely in Congress but stretches all the way down to the aisles of the local hardware store. If manufacturers want to boost sales of an energy efficient appliance or other product, they should tout something other than its environmental benefits.
Otherwise, conservatives won't buy them.
"There’s an existing negative bias against these products," said Dara O'Rourke, an associate professor of environmental and labor policy at University of California, Berkeley, in a telephone interview. "Certain people view them, some rightly or wrongly, as working less well and costing more."
Even when the economic benefits are clear, politics can dampen purchases.Share This Post
May 1, 2013, 1:52 pm
A new survey has found that consumers want more fuel efficient cars and also support the new federal fuel economy standards that the federal government plans to reach by 2025.
The survey, conducted by the Consumer Federation of America, polled 1,001 adults by telephone. The results, released on Monday, indicate strong public support for the 54.5 mile per gallon federal fuel economy standards. It also suggested strong intentions on the part of most vehicle buyers to seek improved fuel economy on their next vehicle.
According to the survey, 85 percent of respondents said they supported the 54.5 m.p.g. rule and 54 percent strongly supported it. Those results cut across political lines, according to the poll, with support from 77 percent of the Republicans surveyed, 92 percent of the Democrats and 87 percent of the independents. Eighty-eight percent of those participating in the poll said that fuel economy would be an important factor in their next car purchase, the survey said, and 59 percent said it would be a “very important” consideration.
To read the entire article go to: http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/01/survey-shows-strong-support-for-fuel-efficiency-standards/?src=recgShare This Post
Echelon, Osram and the smart street light network
Jeff St. John: April 11, 2013
Networked street lights are a fascinating space where the latest in city-scale, energyefficient lighting and digital networking combine. We’ve seen a ton of new entrants into the field, from smart meter players like Sensus, Silver Spring Networks (SSNI) and ABB’s Tropos Networks adding streetlights to their mix of networked end-points, to LED contenders working with cities and contractors to tap the extra efficiency and functionality inherent in those digital sources of light.
On Wednesday, lighting giant and Siemens subsidiary (and would-be spinoff) Osram announced it was launching its own networked street lighting solution, using technology from San Jose, Calif.-based networked street lighting stalwart Echelon (ELON). The Osram-Echelon combo promises to squeeze up to 40 percent more energy efficiency out of a city or utility street light system, compared to just using high-efficiency lamps alone.
For Echelon, it’s a big new partner for a powerline carrier (PLC) technology that’s been connecting streetlights to central control systems for more than a decade. Echelon’s system connects about 1 million street lights around the world, running city lighting networks in locations from Anchorage, Alaska to Oslo, Norway, and points in between. In China alone, the company is hoping to install 500,000 smart street lights by 2014.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Will-Street-Lights-Become-the-Nodes-of-the-Networked-City?utm_source=DailyShare This Post
It depends on who you ask.
Katherine Tweed: April 12, 2013
People love the idea of saving money and energy. It’s just the execution that’s the problem.
Survey responses are all over the place when it comes to efficiency upgrades. A small lighting survey by a major lighting company found that 30 percent of homes don’t use incandescents anymore. But a new study released by the Shelton Group, Utility Pulse 2013, shows that efficiency efforts are slowing overall.
The overall trend in the survey is that energy-efficient investments are pretty stagnant.
So what could pick up the pace? Shelton found nearly three-quarters of the 1,000 survey participants said that knowing their neighbors’ consumption data would influence their own actions.
One problem, however, is unrealistic expectations. One quarter of respondents said there’s absolutely nothing their utility could do to earn a perfect customer score. People are frustrated about rising rates, but unwilling to put up with outages after major storms. Nearly half of the survey participants who have invested in energy-efficiency measures said they aren’t seeing the bill impact they expected.Share This Post
An LED to replace fluorescent tubes gets record-setting lab test results.
Jeff St. John: April 11, 2013
The race to make the best and brightest LED continues, this time in tube form. Philips, the Dutch lighting giant, announced Thursday that it has made an integrated LED system to replace the ubiquitous fluorescent tube lights we’ve all suffered under, one with an unprecedented 200 lumens per watt of high-quality white light in laboratory tests.
Getting that high performance out of commercially available products will be another matter, of course. LED competitor Cree announced a 200-lumens-per-watt white LED in December, but as a single-die emitter. Cree also has shown 276 lumens-per-watt single-die white light in lab settings. Typically, we’ve seen lab ratings drop significantly as products are moved to market, as the irregularity of materials supply and manufacturing process combine with a still-complex channel to get cutting-edge LEDs installed and working properly.
As for the fluorescent tube replacement, Samsung announced a then-record-setting 140-lumens-per-watt tube in September, with plans to introduce it first in Japan. Based on energy savings over time, Samsung claimed a two-year payback on its tubes, with up to twice the efficiency of the fluorescents they’re replacing.Share This Post
Additive manufacturing may blur the lines between the residential, commercial and manufacturing sectors.
Stephen Lacey: March 28, 2013
3-D printing, also known by its technical name of "additive manufacturing," is a concept that makes tech-heads and entrepreneurs bubble with excitement. President Obama even gave 3-D printing a shout-out in his recent State of the Union address, talking about a government-sponsored lab in Ohio for testing and scaling new technologies: "There's no reason this can't happen in other towns," he said.
Indeed, 3-D manufacturing could make any town a hub for the production of goods -- or any home for that matter. As costs for 3-D printing technology continue to drop, theoretically, in the near future, anyone could produce toys, car parts, batteries, clothing, and a range of other products the consumer (now the manufacturer!) dreams up.
This could dramatically improve the efficiency of the economy. In an oft-cited study, the Department of Energy estimated that 3-D printing can reduce energy costs by 50 percent and cut material costs by 90 percent. This could also change our definitions of what constitutes the manufacturing sector, the commercial sector and the residential sector. Is a commercial business that is printing and selling medical products now a healthcare manufacturer? Is a guy printing custom car parts out of his garage now an auto manufacturer?
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/3d-printing-and-the-future-of-the-energy-efficient-economy?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=headline&utm_campaign=GTMDailyShare This Post
By DAVID POGUE
Published: March 20, 2013
People sometimes have trouble making small sacrifices now that will reward them handsomely later. How often do we ignore the advice to make a few diet and exercise changes to live a longer, healthier life? Or to put some money aside to grow into a nest egg? Intellectually, we get it — but instant gratification is a powerful force.
You don’t have to be one of those self-defeating rubes. Start buying LED light bulbs.
You’ve probably seen LED flashlights, the LED “flash” on phone cameras and LED indicator lights on electronics. But LED bulbs, for use in the lamps and light sockets of your home, have been slow to arrive, mainly because of their high price: their electronics and heat-management features have made them much, much more expensive than other kinds of bulbs.
That’s a pity, because LED bulbs are a gigantic improvement over incandescent bulbs and even the compact fluorescents, or CFLs, that the world spent several years telling us to buy.
LEDs last about 25 times as long as incandescents and three times as long as CFLs; we’re talking maybe 25,000 hours of light. Install one today, and you may not own your house, or even live, long enough to see it burn out. (Actually, LED bulbs generally don’t burn out at all; they just get dimmer.)
You know how hot incandescent bulbs become. That’s because they convert only 5 to 10 percent of your electricity into light; they waste the rest as heat. LED bulbs are far more efficient. They convert 60 percent of their electricity into light, so they consume far less electricity. You pay less, you pollute less.
But wait, there’s more: LED bulbs also turn on to full brightness instantly. They’re dimmable. The light color is wonderful; you can choose whiter or warmer bulbs. They’re rugged, too. It’s hard to break an LED bulb, but if the worst should come to pass, a special coating prevents flying shards.
Yet despite all of these advantages, few people install LED lights. They never get farther than: “$30 for a light bulb? That’s nuts!” Never mind that they will save about $200 in replacement bulbs and electricity over 25 years. (More, if your electric company offers LED-lighting rebates.)
Surely there’s some price, though, where that math isn’t so off-putting. What if each bulb were only $15? Or $10?
Well, guess what? We’re there. LED bulbs now cost less than $10.Share This Post
Home weatherization is lowering energy use for heating and cooling. But your electronics are stripping those gains.
Stephen Lacey: March 15, 2013
Heating and cooling have historically accounted for the majority of energy use in American homes. But that has changed.
A new survey from the Energy Information Administration shows that heating and cooling made up less than half of residential energy use for the first time in 2009. A decade and a half earlier, they were responsible for nearly 60 percent of consumption in the typical home. There aren't many surprises there. Building materials and equipment have gotten way better, local and federal efficiency incentives have expanded, and more people have moved to warmer climates.
The more surprising finding is how much energy consumption for appliances, lighting, and all kinds of other consumer gadgetry has expanded. As the figure below shows, the 10 percent drop in heating and cooling was completely offset by a 10.6 percent increase in electronics:
This shift happened even as improved federal standards made our appliances more efficient. According to the Department of Energy, today's clothes washers use 70 percent less energy than in 1990 and dishwashers use 40 percent less energy.
And these figures are from 2009, the most recent year that full reporting was available through the EIA survey. At that time, the smart phone revolution was just taking off and tablets like the iPad hadn't even been released. The ecosystem of techno-gadgetry has exploded since then.Share This Post
on March 15, 2013 at 9:09 PM, updated March 15, 2013 at 9:18 PM
FirstEnergy Corp. has mounted a new, behind-the-scenes campaign to get rid of state energy efficiency standards that are hurting its bottom line.
The Akron power company tried but failed to get the standards scuttled or frozen just before Christmas by asking legislators to slip an amendment into unrelated legislation. But lawmakers scattered when the tactic was publicly revealed.
This time, FirstEnergy is sending a form letter written by its lobbyists to some of its larger commercial and industrial customers, asking them to fill in their company's name and send it by Friday to the Ohio Senate, which is trying to decide whether to tinker with the efficiency rules.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2013/03/firstenergy_corp_is_urging_its.htmlShare This Post
There’s a reason why one of the largest U.S. construction companies likes green design so much.
Stephen Lacey: March 7, 2013
During the U.S. recession, new construction activity declined substantially. But construction of green buildings increased by 50 percent between 2008 and 2010. Why? Building owners no longer see green design as "cute," they often see it as a cost savings tool or a true value-add to their portfolio.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/podcast-green-building-market-still-strong-in-a-weak-economy?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=headline&utm_campaign=GTMDailyShare This Post