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E-zine: September 2006

Welcome to the Energy Center's electronic magazine (or 'E-zine'). This E-zine provides abstracts from trade and professional publications on technology-related topics. We will alert you when we discover information about new products and technologies. Most of these journals are available in the Energy Resource Center.


Water efficiency in high-performance homes

Concern about water conservation has led to the PEC’s hosting of two Water Conservation Showcases. This Home Energy article looks at the performance of new homes with comprehensive packages of water conservation features. The technologies included low-flow faucets, low-flow showerheads, low flush toilets, Energy Star dishwashers; top-performing clothes washers, electronic-demand water heaters, “smart” irrigation” and water efficient landscaping. Although the test sample was small, just 4 homes, results suggest that 20-30% overall water savings can be achieved with available technologies at an estimated cost of $1000. Results also suggest that occupant behavior and activity patterns can match or overwhelm the superior performance of these water-efficient technologies.

Home Energy www.homeenergy.org May/June 2006

Definitive data

This author suggests using a performance monitoring and public display system to demonstrate the efficiency of a green building. “Building Dashboards” can be used to engage, entertain, educate and empower your target audience and targeted to that audience. Article suggests various data displays and interactivity tools with which to engage your audience.

Environmental Design and Construction www.edcmag.com May 2006

New DOE web site

The DOE has announced a new website that provides information on a variety of topics: building science reports, energy compliance software, code information, videos and more. Looks like a wealth of information here and worth taking the time to bookmark and browse.

Building Energy Codes Resource Center http://Resourcecenter.pnl.gov

Confronting the climate change crisis: What is the evidence and what can we do about it?

Climate scientists have agreed for years that mankind is changing the climate, the media is finally sounding the alarm. This article examines the science around climate change, explaining how atmospheric gases, acting like the glass in a greenhouse, transmit incoming sunlight, but absorb outgoing radiation, thus raising the average air temperature on the surface of the earth. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a major byproduct of fossil fuel production and the most influential greenhouse gas. CO2 levels are not at 380ppm and rising at about 2 ppm per year. An increase in temperature can release CO2 from the ground and seawater and conversely, a rise in greenhouse gases can trigger a rise in temperature. The two effects reinforce each other. Electricity production accounts for 42% of our total carbon emissions and burning of transportation fuels accounts for 32 %. Targeting electric generation and transportation fuels will address almost 75% of CO2 emissions. Consequences of not taking action to reduce emissions are dire. Energy efficiency and renewable energy will play major roles in addressing this problem

Solar Today www.solartoday.org July/August 2006


High exposure

Boston’s most famous garden, The Commons, dates back to 1634, but the city may soon be known for smaller gardens, on building tops, as cool roofs sprout up. This article looks at three high-profile projects: MIT’s Ray and Maria Stat Center, 601 Congress Street and 29 Garden Street. These projects take advantage of many green roof benefits including stormwater retention, heat mitigation and insulation.

Eco-Structure www.eco-structure.com May/June 2006

First green data center

Designing a data center to meet LEED requirements was a unique challenge, since datacenters use a significant amount of electricity and no “green” model exists. The Urbana Tehcnology Center, Fannie Mae’s Maryland data center, achieved that goal.

The design team was creative in every aspect, all the mechanical, electrical and computer systems were selected for maximum energy efficiency, lighting was reduced 50% while complying with high security standards. In addition to environmental benefits, the UTC provides a healthier, more comfortable workplace for employees.

Environmental Design and Construction www.edcmag.com July 2006


Lighting technologies produce energy savings

A reminder that the U.S. spends about $60 billion annually on lighting expenses opens this article that examines the energy savings of new technologies such as cost-effective dimming ballasts and the commercial availability of digital addressable dimming systems. Market pressures, including adoption of ASHRAE 90.1 and Title 24 in California, the commitment of the government to energy reduction outlined in the EPAct 2005, and the growth in adoption of LEED ratings, encourage the development of more efficient lighting technologies. Both conventional and advanced lighting controls as well as multiple energy management systems can achieve lighting energy savings. Mini-case study of a hospital lighting retrofit is included.

Energy & Power Management http://www.energyandpowermanagement.com/ May 2006

Illuminating changes: conventional lightbulbs may soon be obsolete

First of a 2-part Science News feature that looks at lighting’s environmental and human impacts. The cost of lighting,in energy, dollars and environmental impact are huge and driving massive efforts for efficiency and conservation. Solid state technologies, computer-chip-like LED’s, organic light emitting diodes (OLED) offer opportunities for savings. Some developing nations are pioneering solid-state home lighting. Since 1997, the Light Up the World Foundation, has provided more than 14,000 homes in 12 countries with LED task lamps.

Science News www.sciencenews.org May 20, 2006


Setting the stage for liquid-cooled solutions

The heat-producing hardware of new IT technologies requires significant cooling solutions. Various infrastructure vendors are suggesting liquied-cooled solutions as alternatives to accommodate as much as 30 KW-per-rack or more. Liquid-cooled hardware is defined as data center equipment in which the primary heat transfer medium is a liquid that exists internally within the electronics. Five scenarios with new technologies are presented and discussed.

Energy & Power Management www.energyandpowermanagement.com July 2006

Green and Renewables

Major US utility facilitates citizen wind power

Midwest utility Xcel Energy is developing project that facilitates local ownership of small scale wind projects. Minnesota has launched a statewide initiative to develop 800 MW of community based wind power. The state’s Community –Based Energy Development (C-BED) program creates a structure for electric utility payments that allow these projects to receive a high tariff in early years when they are paying off debt in exchange for a lower tariff in later years. The aim is to create an attractive market structure for citizen developers while avoiding additional costs for taxpayers and electricity customers.

Windpower Monthly {www.windpower-monthly.com} February 2006

What’s the payback?

This article overviews how to generally calculate the return on a residential solar electric system. The most important factors include high electric rates, financial incentives, net metering policies and good sunlight! The ways to measure economic value, compound annual rate of return, cash flow, and increase in property resale value are discussed. Charts on comparing solar to other home remodeling projects as well as various payback calculators and other resources are included.

Solar Today www.solartoday.org May/June 2006

Plugging in to renewable communities

Researchers are moving towards developing technologies that take advantage of a two-way grid, one that operates in two directions – both distributing and accepting electricity. The next generation hybrid electric vehicles will have the ability to store excess electricity for timely return to the grid. These “two-way” plug-ins are called vehicle-to-grid (V2G) hybrids. The article supposes an RE community, with “energy-responsible” homes, plug-in hybrids that help to minimize energy and fuel use and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Solar Today www.solartoday.org May/June 2006

Quantum-dot leap

The complex physics of solar energy have recently been examined in a new light as experiments on nanocrystals, or quantum dots, have shown photons at solar energies unleash multiple electrons. Typically, when a photon of sunlights hit a solar cell it releases a single electron sent on its way as electric current. If this multiple-exciton effect pans out it could result in much greater efficiencies of solar cells. Conventional solar cells operate at 15-20% efficiency, research teams calculate up to 42% conversion efficiency with the new technology.

Science News www.sciencenews.org June 3, 2006

Why Wall Street is turning green

Goldman Sachs became the first global investment bank to adopt a comprehensive environmental policy acknowledging the value of “ecoservices”, and serving notice to other financial market leaders that social/environmental issues impact the net worth of our “global equity culture”. It is also pledging to reduce emissions at fossil fuel power plants under its ownership and committing to investing $1 billion in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Goldman Sachs is encouraging the Bush administration to adopt new public policies to respond to the global climate change threat. The global economy absorbed over $145 billion in climate related losses last year and that figure is estimated to grow to more than $300 billion per year over the next two decades. Goldman Sachs recognizes that there is opportunity where there is risk.

Green@work www.greenatworkmag.com March/April 2006