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Energy Efficiency Tips For College Students

Speaking as a graduate student who has been living on her own since March, I try every possible way to be energy efficient in order to help conserve our planet as well as help my wallet! At this day and age it seems like being energy efficient is a fad or trend but it should be looked as a way of life that is here to stay. There are many resources available for people to become educated and aware of the problems that are ongoing and finding ways of fixing them. It is up to us to practice energy efficiency in order to protect the environment and save some money while were at it.

When picking a location to live for college, opt to get a place closest to campus or on campus. This way you can walk or ride a bike to class instead of driving to school. My university is a commuter school and because of that they have made a go green ride incentive where students are grouped together depending on where they live and receive better parking if they decide to carpool. Although this is not the most popular option, more and more students are turning to it. Even in my cohort, students have posted on our message board if anyone wishes to carpool. This is something that has yet to be fully developed but it is on its way.

In the community where I live, I know that we can ask for a free air filter every month. Although replacing the filter monthly does create extra trash, the air conditioner will be able to run more efficiently with a cleaner air filter. Ideally buying a reusable air filter that is replaced once a month is the best solution, but for houses or apartment complexes that dont offer free air filters, the air conditioning will work more efficiently if the filter is replaced.

Since my days as a graduate student consist of going to class and then studying and reading, I tend to come home some days to have lunch or just do some work at my apartment instead of on campus. I have learned to open the blinds and let the sun shine in. Never will there be sunlight outside and light on in my apartment unless there is a storm or it is gloomy. The lights only go on when the sun sets. Reading and writing may be done near a window or even outside, whichever is your preference. In this manner, I end up saving half of what I would probably be using in electricity.

If you are living in a dorm room with a roommate and have separate TVs and/or refrigerators, attempt to consolidate and invest in one refrigerator. Label each of your items so that they are not confused and locate it in a common area for both of you to have access. Same goes with the television. From what I remember in college I hardly got to watch TV and one was definitely enough for me so there is no need to have a TV in each room. Again, use whichever TV and locate it in the common area so that both you and your roommate may enjoy it, as well as any guests you may have over.

One of the things that is a bit annoying about going away for college and living in an apartment is the fact that youre usually only there for a couple semesters out of the entire year. Some students opt to stay during the summer while others return home for a break. Luckily there is a plan offered by the Texas electricity company, Bounce Energy, called Nifty 9 which allows the customer to lock in a fixed rate for 9 months. This is ideal for those who are also living in an apartment while away at school for 9 months out of the year. With the Nifty 9, Bounce Energy also plan makes sure to also reward its customers. When you pay your bill on time you receive benefits such as bill credits, movie tickets, companion airfare, and a free electricity bill!

Whether it is through Bounce Energy or any other company, look into the plans and contracts that are offered to see which is most efficient for you and your situation. This research is sure to be homework that will definitely benefit you in the future!

How To Improve the Energy Efficiency of Baxi Boilers

With energy prices seeming to be constantly on the rise, homeowners are always on the lookout for ways of saving money through lower energy bills. Fortunately, one of the best ways of cutting energy is by taking steps to make a Baxi boiler more energy efficient. While Baxi already produces some of the most energy efficient boilers on the market, homeowners can always take further steps to help improve the environment and save them money on their next energy bill. Energy saving tips can range from the simple, like fitting pipes with insulation, to the extreme, like getting a brand new boiler installed. This article will look at just a few of the measures homeowners can take to make their boiler systems more energy efficient and thus cut their energy bills at the end of the month.

Use Room Thermostats

Installing a room thermostat is a great way of being able to control the temperature in individual rooms. Having better control over a homes temperature will go a long way in cutting down on wasted energy. Room thermostats can save consumers about 70 a year and they will go a long way towards protecting the environment. Once the room thermostats are installed, homeowners should turn down the temperature until it is warm enough to still be comfortable. Turning down the temperature just one degree can make a world of difference, and could save families 65 a year.

Hot Water Cylinder

Similarly, most UK families keep the temperature of their hot water cylinders up too high, which is not only wasting energy, but costing consumers more in higher energy bills. The ideal temperature for a hot water cylinder is 60 degrees Celsius, which is more than hot enough to still be comfortable for most homeowners. Water that is kept any hotter than this is not only wasteful, but it runs the risk of scalding human skin it comes into contact with. To make the hot water cylinder even more efficient, the main tank should have a tank jacket wrapped around it. Additionally, any pipes around the tank that are exposed should be insulated. Insulation will not only improve energy efficiency, it will also help the system last longer and perform better. The total cost for the tank jacket and insulation should cost no more than 30, while it could save families 60 a year in lower energy bills.

New Boiler

While all of the above recommendations are good and cheap to follow, by far the best thing people can do in order to cut their energy bills and improve their homes efficiency is to invest in a new energy efficient boiler. It is usually fairly easy to determine if a boiler is in need of replacing. Older boilers usually have a pilot light which burns continuously. The pilot light itself is not only wasteful, but these older boilers also have much lower efficiency ratings overall. Newer boilers have pilot lights which light automatically whenever the boiler is put into use, meaning that less gas is wasted when it is not actually being used by the homes occupants. In fact, the newer energy efficient models have an efficiency rating of up to 90 per cent. From a consumer standpoint, this increased efficiency could translate into an annual savings of over 300, not to mention a household that is much gentler on the environment. Of course, the main disadvantage of getting a new boiler installed is that they are very expensive, often running into the thousands of pounds. However, compared to the savings possible, a new boiler may be worth the investment. Furthermore, grants and trusts have been set up that can help the most disadvantaged improve their homes energy efficiency thus saving them money.

Many consumers are seeking to improve their households energy efficiency for a variety of reasons, ranging from wanting to save money on energy bills to trying to do some good for the planet. One of the best ways of cutting down on carbon emissions is by improving a houses current Baxi boiler system. By taking the measures listed above, whether that means buying a new energy efficient boiler or simply reducing a homes temperature by just one degree, homeowners will be doing their part to make the planet a little greener and their utility bills a little lighter.

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Energy Efficiency In Renovation

Energy Efficiency In Renovation

The process of renovating a home or business can be a intimidating one. You wonder to yourself, “Well, the home should be remodeled.” But you are not able to precisely make up your mind what needs to be worked on. Other than the evident eaky roof, rotten basement, archaic tiles, old fashioned decorations and color, you ponder to yourself that there must be more that you can do in order to add value into your home investment. Here are a couple of tips: Before anything, always consult with a professional contractor if you can before starting any major home renovation project. He can give you more professional consultation regarding the issues directly relevant to your home. Let us look at going green: Using Solar Powered Panels: if you live in abundantly sunny regions, it might be wise to invest in solar energy. Though somewhat expensive to install, solar powered energy is by leaps and bounds more proficient and generates no carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Solar power is utilized to create electricity for a home and also to create heat. Altering the shade of the outside paint: repainting the outside of your home, use lighter colors. They colors reflect solar radiation. Encapsulating your crawl space, basement or attic: most crawl spaces are vented to the exterior which can cause heat or cool air to be lost. Having your crawl space is appropriately insulated with conventional 20 mil vapor barrier liners can produce better energy savings. It has been documented that nearly twenty percent of energy costs come from heat diffused in the crawl space, basement and attic. Radiant Heating: think about installing radiant heating to increase your basement heating systems. LEED and USGBC endorse radiant heating systems as a safer, more energy efficient heating system. That is due to the fact that radiant heating heats a home from the floor up as opposed to moving around warm air that will simply rise and leave the ground level of a home chilly. Furthermore, radiant heating provides better stability in temperature inside a home, permitting one to reduce standard temperature settings while keeping the same warmth. Do it yourself Energy Examination: create the time to record your energy utilization habits. Figure out what you are using on a monthly basis and start applying some of the above methods to see those figures begin to decrease. One of the first things to search for when completing an energy audit is air leaks. It has been estimated that nearly thirty percent of energy per year is lost through air drafts alone. If you take the time and complete this evaluation of your energy consumption habits, you will definitely save money.

Hybrid Cars For Energy Efficiency

A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more discrete power sources to propel the vehicle. Common power sources include:

On-board or out-board rechargeable energy storage system (RESS) and a fueled powA hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more discrete power sources to propel the vehicle. Common power sources include:

On-board or out-board rechargeable energy storage system (RESS) and a fueled power source (internal combustion engine or fuel cell)

Air engine and internal combustion engines

Human powered bicycle with electric motor or gas engine assist

Human-powered or sail boat with electric power

The term most frequently refers to Hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) which comprises internal combustion engines and electric motors.

Early hybrid systems are being examined for trucks and other heavy highway vehicles with a few operational trucks and buses initial to come into use. The chief barrier seem to be smaller fleet sizes and the extra costs of a hybrid system are yet remunerated for by fuel savings, but with the price of oil set to persist on its upward trend, the tipping point might be reached by the end of 2008. Advances in technology and lesser battery cost and higher capacity etc. urbanized in the hybrid car industry are already filtering into truck use as Toyota, Ford, GM and others initiate hybrid pickups and SUVs. Kenworth Truck Company lately introduced a hybrid-electric truck, called the Kenworth T270 Class 6 that for city usage appear to be competitive. FedEx and others are preparatory to invest in hybrid delivery type vehiclesmainly for city use where hybrid technology may pay off first. The U.S. military is inspecting hybrid Humvees and other vehicles.

When the term hybrid vehicle is used, it normally refers to a Hybrid electric vehicle. These cover such vehicles as the AHS2 (Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Silverado, Cadillac Escalade, and the Saturn Vue), Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Honda Insight, Honda Civic Hybrid and others. A petroleum-electric hybrid normally uses internal combustion engines and electric batteries to control electric motors. There are loads of types of petroleum-electric hybrid drivetrains, from Full hybrid to Mild hybrid, which proffer varying merits and demerits.
While liquid fuel/electric hybrids in the late 1800s, the braking regenerative hybrid was invented by David Arthurs, an electrical engineer from Springdale, Arkansas in 1978-79. His home-converted Opel GT was reported to get as much as 75MPG and plans are still sold to this novel design, and the “Mother Earth News” customized version on their website.

Hybrid fuel (dual mode)

Additionally, vehicles that use two or more different devices for propulsion, some also deem vehicles that use discrete energy sources or input types (“fuels”) using the same engine to be hybrids, even though to avoid confusion with hybrids as described above and to use in the approved manner the terms, these are perhaps more suitably described as dual mode vehicles:

A few electric trolleybuses can switch between an on board diesel engine and
Overhead electrical power depending on circumstances (see dual mode bus). In principle, this could be pooled with a battery subsystem to create a true plug-in hybrid trolleybus, though as of 2006, no such design seems to have been announced.

Flexible-fuel vehicles can be able to use an assortment of input fuels (petroleum and biofuels) in one tank characteristically gasoline and bioethanol or biobutanol, though diesel-biodiesel vehicles would also meet the criteria.

Dual mode: Liquified petroleum gas and natural gas are diverse from petroleum or diesel and cannot be used in the identical tanks, so it would be unfeasible to build an (LPG or NG) flexible fuel system. As an alternative vehicles are built with two, parallel, fuel systems feeding one engine. While the replicated tanks cost space in some applications, the augmented range and flexibility where (LPG or NG) infrastructure is incomplete may be a noteworthy incentive to purchase.

Few vehicles have been modified to use another fuel source if it is available, such as cars customized to run on autogas (LPG) and diesels customized to run on waste vegetable oil that has not been processed into biodiesel.

Power-assist mechanisms for bicycles and additional human-powered vehicles are also integrated.

Fluid power hybrid

Hydraulic and pneumatic hybrid vehicles employ an engine to charge a pressure accumulator to drive the wheels through hydraulic or pneumatic (i.e. compressed air) drive units. The energy recovery rate is elevated and therefore the system is more efficient than battery charged hybrids, demonstrating a 60% to 70% increase in energy economy in EPA testing. Under tests performed by the EPA, a hydraulic hybrid Ford Expedition returned 32 mpgU.S. (7.35 L/100 km / 38.4 mpgimp) City, and 22 mpgU.S. (10.69 L/100 km / 26.4 mpgimp) highway

The most recent hybrid technology is the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). The PHEV is inclusive of a gasoline-electric hybrid whose battery pack (usually Li-ion) is upgraded to a superior capacity, which can be recharged by moreover a battery charger curved into the electrical grid or the gasoline engine (only if required). The car runs on battery power for the first 10 to 60 miles (16100 km), with the gasoline engine on hand for faster speeding up, etc.

After the battery is almost discharged, the car reverts to the gasoline engine to recharge the battery and/or return the car to the charging station. This may get around the fundamental barrier of battery range that has made nearly all pure electric cars impractical. Fuel rates, in principle, may be as low as 5 cents/mile. It’s not obvious yet whether converting an existing hybrid car will ever pay for itself in fuel savings.

The major problem is finding a good, cheap, high-energy battery packthe equivalent problem that has plagued the unpolluted electric car. If everyone plugged into the function grid to charge up their car this would seem to be just displacing the gasoline/diesel combustion crisis to the trait coal powered electrical generating plant. But, if cars were recharged tardy at night this would allow the base load of the electrical system to be more capable with a much more even base load and electrical power can also be generated by clean wind, hydro, tide power, etc. while most travel is regarding 30 miles/day this may be the cleanest personal transportation system at present available.

There is a “cottage” conversion industry for owner- existing hybrids, and more than a few huge auto industry groups (GM, Toyota, Mercedes etc.) plus the US Department of Energy are investigating this system. No chief car company (as of late 2007) offers PHEVs yet. The characteristic “cottage” industry conversion car is the Toyota Prius (cost of conversion $5k-$40k), as it is a full hybrid with sufficient power in its electrical system to maintain distinctive city speeds.

Fuel consumption and emissions reductions

The hybrid vehicle characteristically achieves greater fuel economy and lower emissions than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs), ensuing in fewer emissions being generated. These savings are mainly achieved by four elements of a typical hybrid design:

-Recapturing energy generally wasted during braking etc. (regenerative braking) this is a mechanism that condenses vehicle speed by converting some of its kinetic energy into a further helpful form of energy, particularly in stop-and-go traffic.

-having important battery storage capacity to store and recycle recaptured energy;

– shutting down the gasoline or diesel engine in traffic stops or while coasting or other idle periods;

– civilizing aerodynamics; A box shaped car or truck has to put forth more force to move through the air causing added stress on the engine making it toil harder. Improving the shape and aerodynamics of a car is a fine way to help better the gas mileage and also get better handling at the same time.

– By means of low rolling resistance tires; (tires these days are made to give a fine, smooth ride but hardly ever is efficiency taken into consideration. These tires cause a great pact of drag, once again making the engine toil harder, intense more gas mileage. Hybrid cars use special tires that are more exaggerated than regular tires and stiffer, which decreases the drag by about half, humanizing fuel economy by mitigating stress of the engine.

– relying on mutually the gasoline (or diesel engine) and the electric motors for peak power requires ensuing in a smaller gasoline or diesel engine sized more for normal usage rather than peak power usage.

These features make a hybrid vehicle chiefly efficient for city traffic where there are recurrent stops, coasting and idling periods. Besides noise emissions are condensed, mainly at idling and low operating speeds, in similarity to conventional gasoline or diesel powered engine vehicles. For constant high speed highway use these features are much less helpful in reducing emissions.er source (internal combustion engine or fuel cell)

Air engine and internal combustion engines

Human powered bicycle with electric motor or gas engine assist

Human-powered or sail boat with electric power

The term most frequently refers to Hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) which comprises internal combustion engines and electric motors.

Early hybrid systems are being examined for trucks and other heavy highway vehicles with a few operational trucks and buses initial to come into use. The chief barrier seem to be smaller fleet sizes and the extra costs of a hybrid system are yet remunerated for by fuel savings, but with the price of oil set to persist on its upward trend, the tipping point might be reached by the end of 2008. Advances in technology and lesser battery cost and higher capacity etc. urbanized in the hybrid car industry are already filtering into truck use as Toyota, Ford, GM and others initiate hybrid pickups and SUVs. Kenworth Truck Company lately introduced a hybrid-electric truck, called the Kenworth T270 Class 6 that for city usage appear to be competitive. FedEx and others are preparatory to invest in hybrid delivery type vehiclesmainly for city use where hybrid technology may pay off first. The U.S. military is inspecting hybrid Humvees and other vehicles.

When the term hybrid vehicle is used, it normally refers to a Hybrid electric vehicle. These cover such vehicles as the AHS2 (Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Silverado, Cadillac Escalade, and the Saturn Vue), Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Honda Insight, Honda Civic Hybrid and others. A petroleum-electric hybrid normally uses internal combustion engines and electric batteries to control electric motors. There are loads of types of petroleum-electric hybrid drivetrains, from Full hybrid to Mild hybrid, which proffer varying merits and demerits.
While liquid fuel/electric hybrids in the late 1800s, the braking regenerative hybrid was invented by David Arthurs, an electrical engineer from Springdale, Arkansas in 1978-79. His home-converted Opel GT was reported to get as much as 75MPG and plans are still sold to this novel design, and the “Mother Earth News” customized version on their website.

Hybrid fuel (dual mode)

Additionally, vehicles that use two or more different devices for propulsion, some also deem vehicles that use discrete energy sources or input types (“fuels”) using the same engine to be hybrids, even though to avoid confusion with hybrids as described above and to use in the approved manner the terms, these are perhaps more suitably described as dual mode vehicles:

A few electric trolleybuses can switch between an on board diesel engine and
Overhead electrical power depending on circumstances (see dual mode bus). In principle, this could be pooled with a battery subsystem to create a true plug-in hybrid trolleybus, though as of 2006, no such design seems to have been announced.

Flexible-fuel vehicles can be able to use an assortment of input fuels (petroleum and biofuels) in one tank characteristically gasoline and bioethanol or biobutanol, though diesel-biodiesel vehicles would also meet the criteria.

Dual mode: Liquified petroleum gas and natural gas are diverse from petroleum or diesel and cannot be used in the identical tanks, so it would be unfeasible to build an (LPG or NG) flexible fuel system. As an alternative vehicles are built with two, parallel, fuel systems feeding one engine. While the replicated tanks cost space in some applications, the augmented range and flexibility where (LPG or NG) infrastructure is incomplete may be a noteworthy incentive to purchase.

Few vehicles have been modified to use another fuel source if it is available, such as cars customized to run on autogas (LPG) and diesels customized to run on waste vegetable oil that has not been processed into biodiesel.

Power-assist mechanisms for bicycles and additional human-powered vehicles are also integrated.

Fluid power hybrid

Hydraulic and pneumatic hybrid vehicles employ an engine to charge a pressure accumulator to drive the wheels through hydraulic or pneumatic (i.e. compressed air) drive units. The energy recovery rate is elevated and therefore the system is more efficient than battery charged hybrids, demonstrating a 60% to 70% increase in energy economy in EPA testing. Under tests performed by the EPA, a hydraulic hybrid Ford Expedition returned 32 mpgU.S. (7.35 L/100 km / 38.4 mpgimp) City, and 22 mpgU.S. (10.69 L/100 km / 26.4 mpgimp) highway

The most recent hybrid technology is the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). The PHEV is inclusive of a gasoline-electric hybrid whose battery pack (usually Li-ion) is upgraded to a superior capacity, which can be recharged by moreover a battery charger curved into the electrical grid or the gasoline engine (only if required). The car runs on battery power for the first 10 to 60 miles (16100 km), with the gasoline engine on hand for faster speeding up, etc.

After the battery is almost discharged, the car reverts to the gasoline engine to recharge the battery and/or return the car to the charging station. This may get around the fundamental barrier of battery range that has made nearly all pure electric cars impractical. Fuel rates, in principle, may be as low as 5 cents/mile. It’s not obvious yet whether converting an existing hybrid car will ever pay for itself in fuel savings.

The major problem is finding a good, cheap, high-energy battery packthe equivalent problem that has plagued the unpolluted electric car. If everyone plugged into the function grid to charge up their car this would seem to be just displacing the gasoline/diesel combustion crisis to the trait coal powered electrical generating plant. But, if cars were recharged tardy at night this would allow the base load of the electrical system to be more capable with a much more even base load and electrical power can also be generated by clean wind, hydro, tide power, etc. while most travel is regarding 30 miles/day this may be the cleanest personal transportation system at present available.

There is a “cottage” conversion industry for owner- existing hybrids, and more than a few huge auto industry groups (GM, Toyota, Mercedes etc.) plus the US Department of Energy are investigating this system. No chief car company (as of late 2007) offers PHEVs yet. The characteristic “cottage” industry conversion car is the Toyota Prius (cost of conversion $5k-$40k), as it is a full hybrid with sufficient power in its electrical system to maintain distinctive city speeds.

Fuel consumption and emissions reductions

The hybrid vehicle characteristically achieves greater fuel economy and lower emissions than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs), ensuing in fewer emissions being generated. These savings are mainly achieved by four elements of a typical hybrid design:

-Recapturing energy generally wasted during braking etc. (regenerative braking) this is a mechanism that condenses vehicle speed by converting some of its kinetic energy into a further helpful form of energy, particularly in stop-and-go traffic.

-having important battery storage capacity to store and recycle recaptured energy;

– shutting down the gasoline or diesel engine in traffic stops or while coasting or other idle periods;

– civilizing aerodynamics; A box shaped car or truck has to put forth more force to move through the air causing added stress on the engine making it toil harder. Improving the shape and aerodynamics of a car is a fine way to help better the gas mileage and also get better handling at the same time.

– By means of low rolling resistance tires; (tires these days are made to give a fine, smooth ride but hardly ever is efficiency taken into consideration. These tires cause a great pact of drag, once again making the engine toil harder, intense more gas mileage. Hybrid cars use special tires that are more exaggerated than regular tires and stiffer, which decreases the drag by about half, humanizing fuel economy by mitigating stress of the engine.

– relying on mutually the gasoline (or diesel engine) and the electric motors for peak power requires ensuing in a smaller gasoline or diesel engine sized more for normal usage rather than peak power usage.

These features make a hybrid vehicle chiefly efficient for city traffic where there are recurrent stops, coasting and idling periods. Besides noise emissions are condensed, mainly at idling and low operating speeds, in similarity to conventional gasoline or diesel powered engine vehicles. For constant high speed highway use these features are much less helpful in reducing emissions.

Optimize Energy Efficiency By Using Solar Energy Sources

If you and your family are trying to ‘live green’ this year, you’ll definitely want to know more about passive solar energy sources. Solar power refers to the light and heat from the sun that is trapped and then converted into usable energy. Wind power, wave power, and hydroelectricity, are other, more common, forms of earth friendly energy technologies and are more commonly used to generate electricity for homes and businesses. Solar energy is by far the least used of the major renewable energy types. Although the use of solar energy has a long history, until recently it has not been possible to harness the massive amounts of energy needed to power a town or city. However, as an individual you can easily use solar technology to power your home. There are 2 types of solar power, active and passive, using an assortment of these resources your family can save a heap of money year after year on your utility bills. Plus you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and helping to care for the environment.
As a starting point look into using more passive solar energy, it’s easier to use and manage. In a perfect world we would all have south facing houses so that we could more easily utilize natural light. However, the world is not perfect nor are our houses. So we have to manipulate things a bit in order to make our homes more energy efficient. Natural light can involve any selection of materials with positive thermal characteristics. Such as double paned windows. Using drapes and blinds is a way to effectively use passive solar energy to help you reduce your energy costs year round. In the winter natural sunlight can warm a house and reduce the amount of energy used to heat your house. Open the blinds early and let in the natural light to warm the house. Then in the early evening begin closing your blinds and drapes to keep the heat from drifting back through your window panes. Of course, in the summer you do the exact opposite.
Active solar energy come from solar panels or solar water heaters. An array of photovoltaic solar panels hooked into your power grid or a battery pack is the perfect alternative to rising costs of electricity. Solar panels can be installed in any area of your home where the sun would naturally shine. Many people opt to have them installed on their roof, but that does not always have to be the case. If your backyard is large enough you can build your array off the ground. There are numerous Federal, State, and City rebates that can be applied for solar energy systems. Making the installation of solar nearly free, if not totally free. Of course if you own a cabin or a boat you can make your own solar panels. Other solar energy resources include, solar water heaters, solar attic fans, and solar powered lighting. They capture sunlight convert it into energy for immediate or later use.
Unfortunately, until recently, solar electricity has lagged behind other methods of renewable energy. Partly due to it’s high cost of installation. However, that is changing rapidly. Many people are choosing to make solar panels and create their own solar arrays. Depending on where you live you can qualify for government rebate programs and get a sizable chunk of your solar panel system paid back to you. Mass produced solar energy is, for the most part, still in it’s infancy, but for individuals who only need small amounts of solar power, it can be the easiest way to reduce your energy bill and live green.

Nj Energy Audit Is First Step Toward Energy Efficiency

Through an NJ energy audit, you will achieve lower energy consumption and a whole lot better energy performance throughout your home. You can also considerably lower your energy bills and even improve the quality of air in your home. There is something more that an energy audit can give you. It can make you qualify for up to $5,000 dollar-for-dollar direct rebates that you can directly use for the overall upgrade of your energy-using materials. To top that, you can also qualify for $500 tax credits until December 2013 from the federal government. If your house is over 10 years old, you can qualify for this energy rebate. Other points for qualification are air conditioner compressor that is older than 8 years, furnace that has been more than 10 years in use, and water heater that is older than 5 years.

Energy Audit Process

Savings for you can only come from improved energy efficiency. It all starts with an energy audit from the experts, such as an NJ energy audit. A highly trained energy auditing technician will give your home a thorough technical inspection including your furnace, attic, and crawlspace areas. The technician will also inspect your water heater, appliances, and air conditioning units. The findings and the resulting recommendations will be included in a report that will be subsequently submitted by the technicians auditing company to the New Jersey Clean Energy Program.

Improved Home Heating

An upgrade to your home heating is one of the best ways to make energy use more efficient in your home. These upgrade and improvements can be done by such companies that perform heating repair in South Jersey. The result is an overall efficiency upgrade to your energy-consuming systems at home. These technical experts professionally inspect your home heating system and provide recommendations for its improvement. Some technical recommendations include the use of a better thermostat for better heat control, installation of more thermostats for heat control in individual rooms, and change into a new and energy-efficient furnace.

Efficiency Lowers Energy Costs

Only when heating and air conditioning appliances are repaired, improved, and upgraded can we be assured that energy efficiency can be achieved. Likewise, only energy efficiency can bring about reduced energy bills and costs. One of the best ways to achieve all these is through the repair of heating appliances by professionally trained companies that accomplish heating repair in South Jersey. These companies and their technicians do the most effective repairs after a thorough inspection of your heating appliances. The result is improved quality of air in your home and reduced energy costs.

High Efficiency Furnace Vs Heat Pump Cost Comparison

For anyone that is interested in understanding how to control their utility costs I think it’s important to know the facts when it comes to a high efficiency furnace vs heat pump technology. In fact at the end of this article I’ve included a real life financial comparison of a Southern Ontario homeowner showing the total costs for a high efficiency furnace vs heat pump system and the numbers are very interesting.
Over the last couple of years there has been a huge movement towards high efficiency heating equipment. Both the federal and provincial governments have sought to encourage energy efficiency by offering rebates to those replacing low or mid efficiency equipment with “high efficiency” (usually characterized by > 95%).
Predictably, there has been much discussion about what this actually does, and more importantly, how valuable it is. I will not be the one to stand here and say that reducing your gas consumption by >5% to heat your home is not a worthwhile pursuit. Unfortunately, there is some dissention about what kind of cost premium this should command. Equally unfortunate is the fact that few people in the HVAC industry have bothered to make the case for higher efficiency. I see this as part of a greater discussion. Consumers are faced with these kinds of decisions constantly – does the premium you have to pay for a product end up being a long term savings?
I am here to emphatically say “YES”. The very fact that most heating systems now last in excess of 15 years tips the scales heavily in favour of efficiency. This is even more important as input costs rise (Natural Gas, Propane, Electricity and Oil). In fact, the justification is so strong that it makes conversion to new ultra efficient heat pumps a huge cost savings (with or without government incentives).
Cost Comparison of High Efficiency Furnace vs Heat Pump
The actual numbers can vary widely, but for starters, let’s consider a 2000 sq ft house built around 1970. With heating loads of ~ 45,000 b.t.u.s this house generated heating costs of around $2500 per year using a 90% efficient furnace. This furnace was nearing the end of its life and the customer was faced with replacing his heating system; either a high efficiency furnace with a 15 SEER A/C, or a 17 SEER Heat Pump with an electric back up system.
The costs for both systems were as follows:
Furnace and A/C: $8,600.
Heat Pump and Electric Back up: $12,400.
Both vendors accurately told the customer that their heating bills would be reduced. So the choice is easy, right? How could a system that costs almost one half more be better value? The answer lies in magnitude of the savings.
The furnace savings are easy to calculate – by improving the efficiency by 5%, the gas consumption should go down by 5% ($125 per year). The heat pump system, however, generated savings in the 30 – 35% range (very common with heat pumps). This represents annual savings of $750. The net improvement for the heat pump system then is $750 – $125 = $625. To calculate the payback divide the difference in savings ($625) into the cost differential ($12400 – $8600 = $3800). In this case the payback would be just over 6 years – giving you another 9 years to pocket the savings for a total 15 year savings of $5,625! Not to mention that heat pumps typically have warranties longer than furnaces!
Before you dismiss this because your situation is different consider that if you are paying more than $2500 a year for heating, the savings get even better! The difference is in how inexpensive the system converts inputs into heat (see our blog on Heat Pump Efficiency).
What does become relevant then, is how long you plan on staying in the home that you are buying the system for. For most people the system you will be buying might last longer than you will be in the home. For that reason, upgrading the heating system makes sense as well. The buyer of your house will be less likely to adjust your purchase price for an antiquated, inefficient heating system. In the end, it’s clear that when you compare high efficiency furnace vs heat pump technology the long term winner is in most cases aheat pump by a long shot.

Lessons Learned From A Failed Energy Efficiency Project

INTRODUCTION
You would think that energy efficiency is relatively simple: perform an energy audit, install the retrofits and then reap the energy savings. Unfortunately, it doesn”t always work that way. We performed an energy assessment of several stores of a major retail chain in the San Francisco Bay Area and identified a handful of low-cost retro-commissioning measures that had very promising potential. We quantified the expected savings and costs and returned after the project was installed. We then measured the savings using various methods and found either minimal or negative savings. The problem we discovered was that on nearly every measure, the contractors had repaired the hardware, but through various means had ensured that energy savings would not occur. This paper provides an account of the failed project at one store and the steps we took to remedy it. Specifically, this paper stresses the importance of Measurement and Verification and Commissioning of the retrofits.

DESCRIPTION OF THE BUILDING
The store, located in San Francisco, belongs to a well-known national retailer, whose name we will not divulge. The store is an aggregate of 3 buildings which have been joined together to comprise almost 1,000,000 square feet, of which over half is selling floor. Stock rooms and offices comprise the remainder of the space. The different buildings range between 8 and 11 stories tall.

The three buildings comprising the store were built at different times from the 1920s to the 1980s. Originally the buildings had different air handling, chilled water and hot water systems. Over the years, through energy conservation and facility improvement measures, the chilled water systems have been merged into one system.

There were no operating boilers in the store. Steam is provided to the store by an external vendor. Hot water is supplied to multi-zone air handling units and perimeter reheats in some areas of the store via heat exchangers.
There is one common cooling plant which houses two 500 ton centrifugal chillers (2004) which run all year. Chilled water is supplied to the Air Handling Units (AHUs) via primary/secondary chilled water loops. During the hottest months, both chillers run at around 90% full load””this happens about 5 days/yr. During the cooler months, one chiller runs at about 40% full load. If you have been to San Francisco you probably know that even in summer a typical day only reaches about 60 degrees . A properly designed and operating building in San Francisco should not need mechanical cooling most of the year, instead relying upon outside air to meet its cooling needs. This was obviously not the case .

A utility bill analysis identified an out of control building. Figure 1 presents twelve months of average usage per day versus average outdoor temperature. Each point represents a billing period. The superimposed red line represents the statistically insignificant trend. The lack of clear trend indicates that the building is either haphazardly controlled or that energy use varies due to some other variable. We believe mostly the former. During warmer periods (which are not that warm) the store uses more energy, indicating a variable cooling load based upon weather conditions. (An ideal system that uses outside air whenever possible should show a horizontal trend in this 48 to 66 degree temperature range.)

There are over fifty AHUs: a mixture of single zone, multi-zone, and variable air volume units. Each of the three sections contains different types of AHUs.
Electricity Costs for the store were over $2.5M per year. With the economic collapse in the fall of 2008, smart retailers were looking to cut costs wherever possible. One line item that could be cut was utilities. Saving 10% or more could add at least $250,000 to the bottom line.

BACKGROUND OF THE UTILITY PROGRAM
There may be several reasons why California uses less than 50% per capita of the energy than the rest of the country, but one major reason is the aggressive effort of the California Public Utilities Commission to cut energy usage. Commercial ratepayers of the investor owned utilities pay a fee in their utility bills that funds energy efficiency programs. These funds are then channeled to the investor owned utilities to promote energy efficiency. These utilities have over one hundred targeted programs aimed at different vertical markets such as: wineries, retail, hospitals, supermarkets, etc. Often these programs will include free energy audits or retro-commissioning services in conjunction with generous incentives to implement energy efficiency measures. In some cases, the utilities will pay for up to 100% of the cost for implementing the measures. The utilities administer some programs directly and outsource others. The outsourced programs are designed and administered by third party energy consultants.

Quantum Energy Services & Technologies, Inc. (QuEST), an energy consulting firm headquartered in Berkeley, administers a retail program for PG&E which covers the San Francisco Bay Area. This program offers retailers free retro-commissioning studies along with incentives to implement energy conservation measures found. The utilities give incentives to the building owners based upon the amount of energy saved. But in order for energy savings to be recognized by PG&E, these savings need to be measured and verified and then the savings calculations must pass a review by third party reviewers. Nobody gets paid if the work does not pass the third party review. The third party review process is necessary to prevent false claims of savings, or gaming of the system. The reviewers can be tough and require all assumptions to be documented and based upon published standards or guidelines. The drawback of third party review is that some measures are dropped as the Measurement and Verification (M&V) costs would be prohibitively expensive.

QuEST retained our company as a subcontractor to help out with the retail program. Our company performed Retro-Commissioning (RCx) services on 8 stores belonging to this unnamed retailer, and this paper is about one of the stores. However, the same story occurred at most of the stores. It wasn”t one failure, but many.

A NOTE ON THE LEVEL OF RCx RIGOR
RCx is different from energy auditing in that RCx typically involves a more detailed study of the building”s control systems and HVAC systems than energy audits. In addition, RCx typically focuses on repairing, recalibrating and reprogramming, rather than procuring new equipment. Simple paybacks for RCx projects typically are under 2 years. Examples of RCx measures are: repairing inoperable equipment, programming controls, demand control ventilation, and calibrating temperature sensors. Examples of energy audit measures (which are not considered RCx measures) are: installing energy efficient chillers, boilers or package units, converting single zone HVAC systems to variable air volume systems, and installing EMS systems. Energy audit measures often are more expensive and may have longer paybacks. On the other hand, true RCx studies are much more detailed, and thus much more expensive to conduct than energy audits. RCx studies usually involve data logging, functional testing of controls, operator training and post implementation commissioning which repeats much of the data logging and functional testing that was previously done. RCx is criticized by some as too heavy on the analysis, as it can require hundreds of hours of work just to perform the study, whereas energy audits consume much less labor.

In order to make the most efficient use of ratepayer dollars, in QuEST”s RCx program the amount of engineering time was scaled down to minimize the time spent on work that does not directly lead to energy savings. Rather than write commissioning plans, and 100-page Master List of Findings reports, the interim deliverable is instead an Excel workbook that describes the measure, states all assumptions and measured values, and calculates the savings. Equipment is data-logged or trended before and after the implementation of the measures. Calculations are made in Excel so they can be verified by third party reviewers. Written reports come later, but are less extensive than typical RCx reports.

ONSITE INVESTIGATION
Two engineers spent 3 days onsite examining the store”s mechanical systems, uncovering problems, and identifying RCx Measures. Our work to this point was nearly identical to an energy audit.
Once the RCx Measures were identified, the list of RCx Measures was given to the customer who then decided which of them should be pursued. The list also was approved by the third party reviewer.

MEASURES FOUND
We found the store could save about $300,000 in both RCx and Retrofit Measures, which, with incentives offered a simple payback of less than six months. That is 12% of their energy spend. The following measure types were identified and approved by all parties:

Retrofit Measures
1.Install Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) on Multi-Zone Air Handling Units (AHUs).
2.Installation of VSDs on secondary chilled water loops.
RCx Measures
1.Repair economizer control on some air handlers. Many outside air dampers were rusted in place. A two by six was used to prop one open.
2.Repair a small number of faulty VSDs, some of which were in bypass running at 100% fan speed.
3.Reconnect static pressure lines. Some VSDs were running at full speed because the lines running to the static pressure sensors in the ducting had been previously destroyed by contractors.
4.Repair/Replace stuck chilled water valves. These valves were cooling whether the AHUs called for cooling or not. As a result, sales floor temperatures ranged from 62 degrees to 70 degrees.
5.Connect some AHUs to the Energy Management System. These AHUs were running wild and had no control at all.

DATA LOGGING
Once the measures were selected by the customer, QuEST engineers placed data loggers to measure pre-implementation temperatures and power. Temperatures measured included Outside Air Temperature (OAT), Return Air Temperature (RAT), Mixed Air Temperature (MAT) and Supply Air Temperature (SAT). Fan Motor kW were also logged for those units on VSDs. Spot measurements were taken of Fan Motor kW for AHUs that were not on VSDs.

SAVINGS CALCULATION
Energy savings were estimated using bin data simulations. Like-type AHUs were combined. Special care was taken in calculating energy savings to ensure that savings were not double-counted. Each energy conservation measure was modeled assuming the prior measures were already implemented. We integrated the interval data that we collected into the bin data simulations. To do this, we created regressions of our variables (RAT, MAT, SAT, kW) versus OAT. These regressions were used to project RATs, MATs, SATs and kW for other outdoor air temperatures that were not included in our sample.

INSTALLATION
Once we had estimated savings using our bin simulation models and provided measure costs, the customer decided which measures to implement. They then hired contractors to implement the measures. VSDs were installed and repaired, economizer dampers repaired, AHUs connected to the EMS system, etc.

M&V PROVES NO SAVINGS
Once the implementation was completed, QuEST engineers returned to the site and again data logged the same temperatures and power as before. The resulting data, RATs, MATs, SATs and kWs, was again regressed against OAT. Using the regression, RATs, MATs, SATs, and kW values were again extrapolated and placed into the bin simulations.

The resulting calculations demonstrated the unthinkable. Not only were the energy conservation measures we had recommended not saving energy, the affected systems at the store were using more energy than before! Actually, this could be seen from just looking at the interval data. It was obvious that the economizers and variable speed drives were not working as intended. The “repaired” economizers were letting in less outside air than before, and the variable speed drives were still commanding the fans to run at a constant load, but at a higher speed than before.

QuEST alerted the customer that their investments were not saving energy. Facility personnel then investigated the problems, found them, and corrected them.

Even though the contractors had made the economizers operational (as opposed to frozen), the damper actuators were not calibrated correctly. When dampers needed to be fully open, they were not. When dampers needed to be at minimum position, they were not. The variable speed drives were also installed incorrectly. Some wiring and controls issues were resolved and the units started operating as expected. Once these issues were resolved, M&V was performed again. We repeated the data-logging and placed this information into our bin simulations, and again projected the annual savings.
There are many ways energy efficiency projects can go wrong.

“Faulty recommendations
“Poor implementation
“Untrained staff who compromise all the energy conservation measures undertaken

Faulty recommendations may arise from a lack of understanding of how systems operate or should operate. Years of experience, and a good understanding of physics and control theory is necessary to make sound recommendations.

Poor implementation has many causes, but often can be traced to the mindset that having the right equipment will make the difference. But as the lessons learned here illustrate, installing the right hardware is only half the solution. It needs to be integrated into the system and operate according to a logical and beneficial sequence of operations.

The last item is especially troublesome because it is so common. Even if the right hardware is installed and controls optimized, small changes to the sequence of operations made to “fix” local problems may have large consequences on overall system performance over time. Changing supply air temperatures at the air handler to resolve hot or cold complaints may upset the balance of the system and cause problems elsewhere. Professors at Texas A&M University have pointed out that in the absence of continuous monitoring, a building”s performance will fall to the level of the least-trained operator within two years.

HOW TO AVOID FAILED ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROJECTS
There are a couple of ways to avoid projects that fail to produce savings. After equipment is installed, it needs to be commissioned by a third party, not the contractor who implemented the ECMs. Commissioning can be expensive, but it is worth it. However, just because the equipment has been deemed operational by the commissioning agent, that doesn”t mean it is saving what was expected. Commissioning will tell you if the equipment is working as it should. To determine if you are actually saving what was expected, M&V needs to be done on the building. Although M&V can appear as a waste of money to some, it caught this disaster before it was too late.

Unfortunately, building owners often value engineer commissioning and M&V out of their projects and leave themselves open to big disappointments in their energy efficiency projects. M&V is like insurance””sure, it costs money up front, but the reassurance of knowing the project is done correctly should be worth far more than the initial outlay. What other product would you purchase without verifying that you actually received what you paid for? Why should energy efficiency be any different?

CONCLUSION
Unfortunately, energy efficiency isn”t as simple as we would wish. Energy consultants may deliver quality energy audits and RCx studies, but merely implementing sound energy efficiency recommendations does not guarantee energy savings. The weak link is often in the commissioning of the measures to ensure they are doing what they are intended to do.
To avoid underperforming on your energy efficiency measures, we suggest the following three strategies:

1. Commission what you implement with third-party commissioning experts. Commissioning agents are not interested in selling hardware. They are interested in making systems operate at peak performance. They understand physics and control theory and can identify and repair problems quickly.

2. Track your energy savings using M&V. Even using something as simple as utility bill tracking software can provide some insight into building performance. An increase in monthly energy usage when a decrease was expected would have triggered an investigation into the cause. Verifying performance at the system level (as we did), while more difficult and expensive, would have isolated the problem much more quickly and accurately.

3. Provide proper training so that your facility staff doesn”t override or bypass your energy efficiency projects. Although we barely treated this topic in this paper, this is probably the single most effective step you can take. Your staff is the brains behind building operation, despite what EMS vendors may say. Having the smartest control system will do no good if it is operated by the dumbest operators.

Selecting The Right Windows For Energy Efficiency

Selecting The Right Windows for Energy Efficiency

New window technologies have increased energy benefits and comfort, and have provided more practical options for consumers. This selection guide will help homeowners, architects, and builders take advantage of the expanding window market. The guide contains three
sections: an explanation of energy-related window characteristics, a discussion of window energy performance ratings, and a convenient checklist for window selection.

Selecting the right window for a specific home invariably requires tradeoffs between different
energy performance features, and with other non-energy issues. An understanding of some basic energy concepts is therefore essential to choosing appropriate windows and skylights. As illustrated on the following page, three major types of energy flow occur through windows:

(1) non-solar heat losses and gains in the form of conduction, convection, and radiation;
(2) solar heat gains in the form of radiation; and
(3) airflow, both intentional (ventilation) and unintentional (infiltration).

Insulating Value

The non-solar heat flow through a window is a result of the temperature difference between the indoors and outdoors. Windows lose heat to the outside during the heating season and
gain heat from the outside during the cooling season, adding to the energy needs in a home. The effects of nonsolar heat flow are generally greater on heating needs than on cooling
needs because indoor-outdoor temperature differences are greater during the heating season than during the cooling season in most regions of the United States. For any window
product, the greater the temperature difference from inside to out, the greater the rate of heat flow.

A U-factor is a measure of the rate of non-solar heat flow through a window or skylight. (An R-value is a measure of the resistance of a window or skylight to heat flow and is the reciprocal of a U-factor.) Lower U-factors (or higher R values), thus indicate reduced heat flow. U-factors
allow consumers to compare the insulating properties of different windows
and skylights.

The insulating value of a singlepane window is due mainly to the thin films of still air on the interior and moving air on the exterior glazing surfaces. The glazing itself doesnt offer
much resistance to heat flow. Additional panes markedly reduce the U-factor by creating still air spaces, which increase insulating value.

In addition to conventional double-pane windows, many manufacturers offer windows
that incorporate relatively new tech- nologies aimed at decreasing U-factors.
These technologies include low-emittance (low-E) coatings and gas fills. A low-E coating is a microscopically thin, virtually invisible, metal or metallic oxide coating deposited on a glazing surface.

The coating may be applied to one or more of the glazing surfaces facing an
air space in a multiple-pane window, or to a thin plastic film inserted between panes. The coating limits radiative heat flow between panes by reflecting heat back into the home during cold weather and back to the outdoors during warm weather. This effect increases the insulating value of the window. Most window manufacturers now offer windows and skylights
with low-E coatings.

The spaces between windowpanes can be filled with gases that insulate better
than air. Argon, krypton, sulfur hexafluoride, and carbon dioxide are among the gases used for this purpose. Gas fills add only a few dollars to the prices of most windows and skylights. They are most effective when used in conjunction with low-E coatings. For these reasons, some manufacturers have made gas fills standard in their low-E windows and skylights.
The insulating value of an entire window can be very different from that of the glazing alone. The whole-window U-factor includes the effects of the glazing, the frame, and, if present, the insulating glass spacer. (The spacer is the component in a window that separates glazing panes. It often reduces the insulating value at the glazing edges.)
Since a single-pane window with a metal frame has about the same overall Ufactor as a single glass pane alone, frame and glazing edge effects were not of great concern before multiple-pane, low-E, and gas-filled windows and skylights were widely used. With the recent expansion of thermally improved glazing options offered by manufacturers, frame and spacer properties now can have a more pronounced influence on the U-factors of windows and skylights.

As a result, frame and spacer options have also multiplied as manufacturers offer improved designs. Window frames can be made of aluminum, steel, wood, vinyl, fiberglass, or
composites of these materials. Wood, fiberglass, and vinyl frames are better insulators than metal. Some aluminum frames are designed with internal thermal breaks, non-metal components that reduce heat flow through the frame.

These thermally broken aluminum frames can resist heat flow considerably better than aluminum frames without thermal breaks. Composite frames may use two or more materials (e.g. aluminum-clad wood, vinyl-clad wood) to optimize their design and performance, and typically have insulating values intermediate between those of the materials comprising them. Frame geometry, as well as material type, also strongly influences thermal performance properties.

Spacers can be made of aluminum, steel, fiberglass, foam, or combinations of
these materials. Spacer thermal perfor- mance is as much a function of geometry as of composition. For example, some well-designed metal spacers insulate almost as well as foam.

The table on page 3 shows representative U-factors for window glazing, frame, and spacer combinations under winter design conditions. Due to their orientation and their greater projected surface areas, domed and other shaped tilted and horizontal skylights have significantly higher U-factors than do vertical windows of similar materials and opening sizes.

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