Monday, November 28, 2011

Up on the Rooftop: Updating HVAC Rooftop Unit Performance

For those that are interested in improving the performance of their light commercial building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system check out this upcoming webinar on December 13, 2011. Mark Cherniack, Senior Program Manager of New Buildings Institute and Kristin Heinemeier, Senior Engineer, Western Cooling Efficiency Center, University of California at Davis will present on this topic. These speakers will also provide updates in two key areas of heating and cooling performance improvement in the light commercial buildings sector: 1) advanced controls and 2) performance monitoring, including fault detection and diagnostics. It should be informative so check it out!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Breakthrough Berkeley Mist Sealant Technology: Potential to Save Americans $5B Per Year

There is a silent and deadly pocketbook killer out there - leaky ducts. According to this article, residential and commercial buildings typically lose about 25-40 percent of heating and cooling energy through leaky ducts and this equates to about $5 billion lost every year. That's a big chunk of change. Well it looks like the smart folks at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have created a novel way to take care of this leaky duct epidemic and help the cause of energy efficiency. They've developed a "mist" that when blown into a pressurized duct system will seal the cracks and holes. Non mas leaky ducts (and empty pocketbooks). Think of this mist as a super pookie on steroids! Energy-efficiency, like scientists, may not be sexy but it's certainly cool and smart because it will save a big chunk of change in heating and cooling costs. Congrats and a big thank you to those good women and men at Lawrence Berkeley!

Colorado PUC Green Lights Xcel Contract for More Wind Power

Sweet. More renewable wind power at a cheaper rate for Xcel customers. Xcel received permission from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to purchase 200 megawatts of wind from a wind farm in Limon, Colorado. Even though Xcel will meet the state's renewable energy standards ahead of time, they still bought more wind power than necessary because the price was lower than they typically pay. The contacted price is good for 25-years.

Why Businesses See Profits in Sustainability

This article in the Economist, "Why Firms Go Green" shows that businesses are beginning to lead the way by implementing business sustainability methods. Not only will business sustainability practices help reduce the amount of natural resources consumed, but they can cut precious costs. We all know that businesses exist to create wealth, so why not increase your business' social, economic and environmental capital by implementing sustainability practices throughout the enterprise? Larger companies like Alcoa, SAP, and Unilever are baking sustainable processes in their operations. But these methods aren't just for big business, small-to-medium sized businesses and non-profits can benefit from sustainability initiatives as well. I'm glad to see the Economist pick up on the growing trend of sustainability in the business world.

Wishful Thinking

*Before adding PV, wind, or solar thermal to your residential or commercial structure, the first step is to analyze this structure's energy consumption through a professional energy audit. I'd like to see some public education on the importance of an energy audit for any structure. Remember Smokey the Bear's forest fire shtick drilled into our heads over the last few decades? How about something like, "Henry the House" desperately wanting to know how much energy he consumes and wastes throughout the day?

*With over 300 sunny days a year on the Front Range is it too much to ask for solar PV and thermal modules on every residential and commercial unit (after an energy audit of course)?

*How about affordable plug-in electric cars that go more than 100 miles on a charge with PV and wind powered recharging stations?

*Dreaming of companies large and small adopting business sustainability practices to maximize profits, reduce their carbon footprint, and enhance the lives of their employees and the communities that surround them.


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