residential energy efficiency


Residential energy conservation has stagnated somewhat in the last 3 or 4 years. I do not know what the dampers are, whether it is price or attitude for instance. New houses are a lot more efficient but the efforts to improve existing housing stock have stalled. Here is an article about those latest techniques.

http://www.nyserda.ny.gov/Energy-Efficiency-and-Renewable-Programs/Residential/Emerging-Technologies-and-Accelerated-Commercialization.aspx

Emerging Technologies and Accelerated Commercialization (ETAC) in the Residential Sector

Opportunities to achieve energy-efficiency gains in the residential sector beyond traditional building and retrofit techniques have been limited by underutilization of emerging technologies that are commercially-available, but face barriers to widespread adoption in the industry. Technologies and techniques such as solid state lighting, lighting controls, home energy management systems, smart-grid integration, micro-combined heat and power, and super insulation have proven benefits. But they have seen limited market adoption, due to obstacles such as upfront costs, consumer and builder awareness and the lack of infrastructure support, including activities such as supply chain development, sales training and installer certification.

The ETAC initiative seeks to address the barriers to market acceptance by facilitating in-field demonstrations and the subsequent technology transfers. Widespread, large-scale demonstrations will incorporate these technologies into energy-efficiency projects, where the savings potential will be monitored and validated. In parallel, other marketplace needs will be addressed, such as the development of a training curriculum for designers and specifiers, installer-certification standards, consumer-education materials, and maintenance processes. Following the demonstration period, results will be communicated to the marketplace via various means such as case studies, presentations, and webinars.

While this specific initiative is focused on emerging technologies in the residential sector, NYSERDA will also demonstrate emerging technologies for the multifamily and commercial/industrial sectors through parallel ETAC initiative

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I thought I would start us out with a song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOMaqe0LOmo

The days when all the lies are proven false is right here and right now. Wind, solar and geothermal can replace coal gas and oil. And hthey can do it in the industrial heartland. It is the future and ain’t it grand?

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/10/17/us-germany-renewables-boom-idUKTRE79G0N420111017

 

Analysis: Renewable “gold rush” powers Germany’s north shore

 

 

ROSTOCK, Germany | Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:04am BST

(Reuters) – Renewable energy has created a “gold rush” atmosphere in Germany’s depressed north-east, giving the country’s poorhouse good jobs and great promise.

The natural resources attracting investors and industry are of a simple variety: wind, sunshine, agricultural products and farm waste such as liquid manure.

The rush to tap green resources in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state is reminiscent of the frenzies that came with gold or oil discoveries in past centuries. The buzz can be felt in towns and sparkling new factories across the Baltic shore state.

“Renewable energy has become extremely valuable for our state,” said its premier, Erwin Selling, in an interview with Reuters. “It’s just a great opportunity — producing renewable energy and creating manufacturing jobs.

“From an industrial point of view we’d been one of Germany’s weaker areas. But the country is abandoning nuclear power. That will work only if there’s a corresponding — and substantial — increase in renewables. It’ll be one of Germany’s most important sectors in the future. We want to be up there leading the way.”

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This is so bogus. Wind Farms are seen as a “burden” on the community so money is made available from the government to compensate individual households. I do not really know how dollars are changed into pounds but lets call it 70%. That would mean that any household in the US would be eligible for 650 $$$ per year for being near a wind farm. That amounts to what?  Redistribution of tax income or is this actually a subsidy? Hard to tell but here it is:

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/archives/33978

The government’s planned compensation to households near new wind-farm developments may not be enough

The government this week announced a plan to compensate households near new wind-farm developments to incentivise them to accept them. Steve Gibbons, discussing provisional findings from on-going research, suggests that the level of compensation may not cover the costs involved.

News yesterday morning suggests that communities near new wind-farm developments could be in for some form of compensation, through lower electricity prices or other payment schemes. The BBC reports that the compensation could be worth as much as £100,000 per community. This is probably welcome news for residents potentially affected by wind-farm developments, although provisional findings from on-going research suggests that this level of compensation may not cover the costs involved, in terms of environmental, health and other impacts. I find that an operational wind farm reduces housing prices by around 7% up to 5km from the wind farm site. Some rough calculations based on these estimates suggest that the implied social costs on the local community (within 5km) amounts to about £80 million per operational wind farm, or about £500 per household per year.

An extended (user friendly) abstract of the research follows below:

Renewable energy technology has potential global environmental benefits in terms of reduced CO2 emissions and slower depletion of natural energy resources. However, like most power generation and transmission infrastructure, the plant, access services and transmission equipment associated with renewable electricity generation may involve environmental costs. This is particularly so in the case of wind turbine developments, where the sites that are optimal in terms of energy efficiency are typically in rural, coastal and wilderness locations that offer many natural environmental amenities. These natural amenities include the aesthetic appeal of landscape, outdoor recreational opportunities and the existence values of wilderness habitats. In addition, for residents local to operational wind turbines have reported health effects related to noise and visual disturbances.

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They even site the old “health related issues” which have never been proven to exist. Go there and read. More next week.

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I mean really if they are going to drop their insistence on solar panel installations as part of a retrofit then why keep the name? Are they now a software company or are they now a software and then install whatever company? Good questions with no answers. It would be like Tide if it were to stop making soap and started making dishwashers. Would they keep the name and why?

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/a-peak-at-solarcitys-new-energy-efficiency-software?

Has SolarCity Created the Amazon 1-Click for Energy Efficiency?

 

“We believe SolarCity has the best database of residential energy use of anyone in the world.”

 

Stephen Lacey: June 28, 2013

 

After SolarCity shifted its energy efficiency strategy and pulled back from doing residential retrofits in-house, the solar services behemoth is moving straight into intelligent efficiency.

 

GTM’s Eric Wesoff recently reported on SolarCity’s evolving business plan and the resulting changes that company executives say will scale residential efficiency in the same way solar services have scaled residential solar.

 

But solar is very different from efficiency. For the most part, solar is very standardized and installations are uniform from home to home. Efficiency retrofits encompass an extraordinarily broad category of activities and skills. Incentives are also quite different for efficiency, making it more complicated from a financial perspective. That’s why only a handful of U.S. solar contractors have offered efficiency as an in-house service.

 

SolarCity decided that doing the retrofit work itself was not the best way to scale. Instead, it has turned from manpower to the power of big data.

 

The secret sauce is a “simulation engine” that shows homeowners exactly how much they’re spending on energy everywhere in their house. The initial database was created using information from 16,000 home energy audits performed over the last five years. It relies on an algorithm developed at the Department of Energy that crunches 100 million calculations per home for each individual energy efficiency audit (which is still performed by SolarCity when installing solar).

 

“The simulation software looks at every component in a home in relation to one another,” said SolarCity COO Peter Rive. “Every ten minutes, it thinks about what one thing is doing and about its effect on the rest of the systems within the home.”

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The jackonapes in congress prattle on about how there is no Global Warming, and even if there is it ain’t man made. Those in the pocket of Big Coal want to find a way to make it cleaner. Like there is a way and America dithers on while China and India rush ahead. The song should go America the stupid with amber waves of insanity. Still at least the president has put something out there.

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/06/obamas-climate-change-speech-three-words-less-coal-finally/66565/

Obama’s Climate Change Speech in Just Three Words: Less Coal, Finally

 

Philip Bump 4,220 Views 9:20 AM ET

The process of climate change is complex and involves a vast array of contributors. But slowing climate change largely relies on one thing, cutting carbon dioxide emissions, and cutting carbon dioxide emissions heavily relies on reducing the use of coal. For all of the president’s intricate proposals during his speech on the topic of climate change today at Georgetown University, nothing is as important as his plan to reduce America’s use of coal.

It’s important to consider the president’s proposals within an economic context. As Senior Administration Officials™ noted during a call on the topic last night, the president made a pledge to reduce carbon (dioxide) emissions in 2009 that the United States has made great progress in achieving. This is largely due to three things out of Obama’s control, however: the slow economy, a drop in electricity demand (in part due to the slow economy), and the increased use of natural gas for electricity production. Electricity production comes down to money, after all; if you figured out a way to generate gigawatts of power by leveraging the power of bare skin, America would be a nudist camp before sunset. We don’t love coal, we love that coal is cheap and is, by now, well-integrated into our power infrastructure.

Obama’s push to reduce coal use has two parts.

Decrease domestic coal use by limiting carbon emissions at power plants. Again: This is the most important part of Obama’s speech, bar none. If he dropped everything else in his plan, this idea would still warrant a significant amount of attention, both here and abroad.

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Good article and it just goes to show that America is always behind. We cede way to much to the powerful and pay the price. I would be willing to bet that we could half those numbers again with the proper research and development.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2013/06/11/europes-clothes-dryers-consume-half-as-much-energy-as-americas/?ss=business%3Aenergy

William Pentland

William Pentland, Contributor

Europe’s Clothes Dryers Consume Half As Much Energy As America’s

Like the vast majority of U.S. households, I own a clothes dryer that accounts for a non-trivial share of my electricity consumption. Like the vast majority of my fellow Americans, I would likely pay a lot less to dry my clothes if I lived in Europe.

Based on a new study by Ecova, an energy consulting firm in Spokane, WA, Europe’s embrace of new heat pump technologies is largely responsible for the transatlantic disparity in the energy efficiency of clothes dryers. Unlike Europe, heat pump technology has yet to arrive in North America.

There are 87 million residential dryers in the U.S. These clothes dryers account for 6% of residential electricity consumption, which is roughly equivalent to the electricity consumed annually by the entire state of Massachusetts (60 billion kWh per year). The annual cost of operating America‘s clothes dryers adds up to about $9 billion.

The energy efficiency of North American clothes dryers has made at most modest gains over the past two decades. By contrast, the energy attributed to washer use has decreased by about 70% since 1992.

Ecova compared the energy consumption of currently available European heat pump dryers to North American conventional electric dryers spanning a wide range of sizes, prices, features, and manufacturers.

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Other things have not changed. I mean we are still burning coal to fuel electric generators, 30 years after we should have stopped. We still flirt with the idea of Nuclear Powered power plants. But here is part of the Georgia Code, a State not known for anything progressive.

http://www.southface.org/learning-center/library/res-code-faq#24

22.    What is the difference between a mass wall and a basement wall, and what are the insulation requirements for both?

A mass wall is a heavy wall that is more than half above grade wall and is constructed of a fairly massive material (e.g., concrete, block, insulated concrete forms, masonry cavity, non-veneered brick , adobe, compressed block, rammed earth, and solid logs). A basement wall is a wall that is more than half below grade and encloses conditioned space. Insulation requirements for basement walls and mass walls depend on the location of the insulation and the type of insulation (whether it is continuous or insulation installed in a cavity). Requirements also vary by climate zone. Below is a table detailing the insulation requirements in the energy code.

Wall Type Insulation Location and Type Climate Zone 4 Climate Zone 3 Climate Zone 2
Basement Wall Interior – Continuous R-10 R-5 R-0
Basement Wall Interior – Cavity R-13 R-13 R-13
Mass Wall Interior-Cavity R-13 R-13 R-13
Mass Wall Exterior or Integral- Continuous R-5 R-5 R-4
Mass Wall Interior – Continuous R-10 R-8 R-6

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If you are a glutton for punishment, go there and read. More next week.

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I think that the Smart Grid is a 2 edged sword. On the one hand it makes integrating renewable energy sources into the grid much easier. On the other hand it could be a step towards big brother. Whatever the case it is coming no matter what.

http://gizmodo.com/5995249/how-nest-will-save-you-more-money-by-teaming-up-with-utility-suppliers

How Nest Will Save You More Money By Teaming Up With Utility Suppliers

The smart thermostat from Nest just got a little smarter: by teaming up with utility providers, the device can now predict when power will be in high demand and price, and tweak your heating accordingly.

The new system links the device to a collective, cloud-based knowledge of utility companies. If you’re with an Energy Services-aware power company, the thermostat will learn of upcoming peak energy periods—where power is in high demand and prices rocket as a result—which are sometimes known as rush hours. With that data, it will fine tune your heating, using less energy while it’s expensive.

The cloud will also feed the device data about seasonal discounts, allowing it to fine tune the heating to save you as much cash as possible over the longer term, too. Sadly, only Austin Energy, Green Mountain Energy, Reliant and Southern California Edison have joined forces to make the scheme happen so far. There are deals to be had with provides, though—customers of National Grid can get a $100 rebate through Nest, and Reliant offer a free thermostat with some plans—and it seems likely that other provides will join the fold soon.

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Well to be fair, they actually think it is going to be natural gas, but at least they mention solar.

http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Shell-Predicts-that-Natural-Gas-or-Solar-will-Become-the-No.-1-Energy-Source.html

Shell Predicts that Natural Gas or Solar will Become the No. 1 Energy Source

By Charles Kennedy | Sun, 03 March 2013

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) has just released new forecasts for its ‘New Lens Scenarios’ program, which aims to predict how current business decision and policies may unfold over time and affect the markets in the future.

Peter Voser, the CEO of Shell, explained that the scenarios “highlight the need for business and government to find ways to collaborate, fostering policies that promote the development and use of cleaner energy and improve energy efficiency.”

The scenarios take two different approaches: one considers the world with a high level of government involvement, and the other looks at the markets when they are given more freedom to develop naturally.

With high government involvement in dictating energy and policies, Shell believes that natural gas will flourish to become the number one energy source in the world over the next couple of decades, overtaking coal and helping to reduce carbon emissions.

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Well I got a new computer and so I am back. The old computer is getting the data transferred from it so I can have it on the new system.  I do not have many tools at hand as a result. This  system has to have the data transferred to it soon so I will not post here again for awhile. But here is a sign of progress.

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/homes/rossetto-vermont-house

Super Energy-Efficient Home in Vermont

Waitsfield, VT

Oct 10 2008 By Rob Wotzak

Modest House Built to Scandinavian Green Standards

This modest home may not seem out of the ordinary, but energy efficiency specialist Efficiency Vermont calls it extraordinary — “Best of the Best” and “the most energy efficient home in the state,” to be specific. With a HERS score of 95.3 out of 100, and four years of energy bills to document its performance, the building deserves the accolades. Builder Al Rossetto leaves nothing to chance: he has used the same construction details to lock in five-star Energy Star ratings for every home he has built since.

Is Vermont the new Scandinavia?
The shallow, frost-protected footing is possibly this home’s most unusual detail. Northern Vermont’s deep frost line and rocky soil make building conventional foundations a challenge. A shallow bed of gravel surrounded by a horizontal apron of rigid foam insulation — a system used in Scandinavia for decades — worked well here.

When paired with an insulated concrete form (ICF) foundation, this system ended up saving energy and materials. The walls and roof are all structural insulated panels (SIPs), which go up quickly and provide a tight shell. Energy efficient windows with triple glazing and multiple low-e layers (also standard equipment in Scandinavia) complete the package.

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