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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.

Global Energy Efficiency Challenge Is Spearheaded By The Us

Forward thinking companies have immediately taken steps towards initiatives in response to the Global energy Efficiency Challenge that was recently launched by the U.S. government. While some initiatives are very diverse and also niche related, others are focused on the promotion of education and awareness towards taking action in the mainstream market. Most of such initiatives were already launched at the Clean Energy Ministerial that recently took place in Washington DC. The United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) points out that there are recently significant investments made on energy efficiency across the board. Most of such initiatives are focused on building efficiency, that are estimated to account for about 60% of the GHG emissions worldwide in every year. Seeing such as a priority, the DOE has already invested funds for the certification of inspectors, operators, technicians, auditors while allocating grants for research as it is pushing energy efficient initiatives.

A variety of forward thinking initiatives have been created as a result of the Global Energy Efficiency Challenge, which was launched recently by the United States government. There would be diverse initiatives which could also be niche related, with the other aiming towards the promotion of education and taking action in the mainstream. The Clean Energy Ministerial has launched many of such initiatives in Washington DC.

The Global Superior Energy Performance Partnership (GSEP) is among the most significant initiatives out of the Clean Energy Ministerial. This partnership involves a three-pronged approach to efficiency improvements in commercial buildings and industrial facilities. Some countries that have participated in the Copenhagen energy Summit have thrown criticisms at the United States, and the United States government’s initiative on the Global Energy Efficiency Challenge could concoct a very welcome buzz. There are some other countries which have signified support to the project to become part of such partnerships, with such countries combined would represent over 80% of the total worldwide energy consumption.

One of the primary goals of the GSEP is to develop a certification process to make sure that energy efficiency improvements are meaningful and sustainable. The companies that are participating in the pilot program will need to adopt an energy management system and establish baseline energy performance. There is also a need to undergo a process that ensures the improvements of efficiency in the future, which are to be done according to approved protocols that have been subjected to unbiased validation. Large companies like Target and Wal-Mart, which comprise the largest retail outlets across the globe, have signified commitment to have a dedicated staff implement partnerships which are created under the Global Energy Efficiency Challenge. The staff will in turn ensure that employees within the organization are trained on the program. Participating companies will upload their findings to a centralized database, where the data will be made available as generic sector benchmarks.

The companies selected to take part in the GSEP represent commercial buildings, retail operations, industrial facilities, public buildings and educational settings and the information collected from their operations will be made available as application specific case studies. As soon as the feedback is achieved, the actual process of certification shall be deemed final which will be released to be adopted across the board. Companies are in a waiting list, ready to participate, which is also an indicator that the GSEP pilot project is very popular. The GSEP partnership and the Global Energy Efficiency Challenge are further reminders that every organization needs to be fully aware of its relative efficiency. This program is so popular, which becomes a very strong indicator of its consequent impacts to energy efficiency that would bring gains in any company’s reputation and improving an organization’s proactive stance in such direction.

Know Why The European Energy Efficiency Rules Are Worthy

When it pertains to initiatives on climate change and control of emissions, the European Union is one of the most proactive governmental blocks as they go on with setting standards for energy efficiency. Recently, the EU issued new rules that will help ensure energy efficiency by requiring all industrial, commercial, and household machines and appliances to have labels displayed. As part of the major roster change, this is to ensure that energy efficiency will be a top priority to help commercial agenda move forward.

The rules on energy efficiency issued by the European Parliament insist that all building that are new and constructed after 2020 should have to be powered by renewable energy sources. Buildings account for a significant proportion of greenhouse gases emitted and it has long been recognized that stringent action should be taken to apply energy efficiency rules for new building stock.

The EU has been one of the most proactive governmental blocks pertaining to the war against climate change and in controlling emissions, continuously setting high standards of energy efficiency. They have recently issued new energy efficiency rules that expand the need to display labels on industrial, commercial and household appliances and machines. This is part of a sweeping roster change, aimed at ensuring that energy efficiency is at the top of the commercial agenda going forward.

Since buildings have a lifespan of approximately 50 years, the environmental impact should not be underestimated. Renovation and retrofitting can only go so far and new emphasis is being placed on sustainable efforts during the process of construction, as well as during the design phase. The European Union’s energy efficiency rules dictate that all buildings made after 2020 will conform to this philosophy.

The European Parliament is convinced that education is paramount when it comes to achieving high energy efficiency standards and as such, labels must now be attached to energy consuming products for industrial or commercial use across the Union. Windows and framework must also be appropriately labeled, so that users can see how much energy they are responsible for and can choose wisely, in advance.

If consumers, individuals or corporations are in possession of all the right information, they can choose to include appliances that work well according to their sustainability objectives. Each appliance or asset must perform with ultimate energy efficiency in the “carbon era” of tomorrow, or the user will be responsible for additional fees in one way or another.

The concept of carbon taxation or “cap and trade” restrictions is not new in the European Union, as their Energy Efficiency Scheme has been in place since 2005. Such concepts are beginning to become clear in the United States, where the corresponding legislation is already being considered, which will most probably include a cap and trade and taxation options.

In order to provide detailed information pertaining to energy use and carbon emissions, procedures and systems need to be implemented at the boardroom level for each organization. Quite apart from greenhouse gas reduction, energy efficiency drives savings, which every organization should be focusing on these days.

Around the world, governments tend to agree that we must aim for as much as an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as based on 1990 levels, by the time we get to 2050. If not, considerable and detrimental change could be caused to climate and weather patterns. This level of change will, nevertheless, call for consistent and urgent action and implementation of new energy efficiency rules, everywhere.

Custom Home Builders Vaincrease Energy Efficiency Of My Home

Custom Home Builders VA:What can I do to increase the energy efficiency of my current home?

by: www.CustomHomeBuildersVA.com

Most advisers agree that energy prices are going to continue to go up. If you look at the possibility of further devaluation of the dollar combined with the possibility of draconian energy legislation, the opportunity of extraordinary escalation of energy prices exists.

Many Americans are living in homes larger than they need. Homes that were built for size rather than quality.

In my opinion, getting prepared for high energy costs is a critical component of any preparedness strategy.

First do all the conventional things to make your home as energy efficient as possible.

Add insulation, upgrade windows and doors (while you are doing this it is an excellent opportunity to upgrade your security), change light bulbs, upgrade appliances, install water heater blankets. If the plumbing pipes have relatively short runs it is very likely that a propane fired tank-less water heater would make sense.

Secondly, consider your heating system. This is an intensive area of energy for many homes.

We recommend wood-fired outdoor boilers where feasible. These units circulate hot water and can be used for many heating applications including home heat, domestic hot water, greenhouse radiant heat and swimming pools, to name a few.

If you have a heat pump, a propane furnace installed with the heat pump is a very good combination. This allows for an energy efficient propane furnace to do the heating when the heat pump is out of its operating range. While there are very efficient and comfortable heat pumps, the back-up heating strips on heat pumps are very energy intensive. Propane is still primarily produced in the United States.

Also, we have had very good experiences with geo-thermal. While it is still electric based, it provides an excellent source of heating in mild climates and is incredibly energy efficient.

We always recommend some alternate options in heating, so there is some source of heat in the event of grid failures. For example, if you have a geo-thermal heating system, install a wood stove as the back-up.
There are a number of structural changes or modifications which could result in much greater energy efficiency. These would include adding a vestibule or windbreak if you have children or go in and out of the house a good bit. You might be able to earth berm part of the north side of your house, or add a solar room to the south side of the home, just to name a few possibilities.

Bipartisan Energy Efficiency Bill On Verge Of Senate Breakthrough

While many in Washington still warn about the dangers of carbon emissions and climate change, the reality and perhaps the one thing that experts on both sides agree on, is that Americans are paying less attention to global warming than they have in the past. To end this uncertainty, the Senate after months of behind the scenes maneuvering will begin the debate on the critically important legislation which could help American consumers, businesses and the federal government to save millions of dollars each year by using less energy, and using less energy will be a step forward in the fight against climate change in the U.S.
The new energy efficiency legislation introduced by Senators Shaheen and Portman could come up before the U.S. Senate for approval. The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, also known as Shaheen-Portman Bill will help to reduce the energy bill of U.S., improve its economic competitiveness, create new American jobs and enhance U.S. energy security. The bill has been endorsed by more than 200 businesses, trade associations and advocacy groups.
What is the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act?
The Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a 19-3 vote, it includes provisions that will directly improve energy efficiency in buildings, industrial processes and federal agencies, the provisions in the bill include strengthening energy efficiency requirements in building energy codes, incentivizing energy efficiency using rebates and for certain equipment, encouraging energy efficiency supply chains through a new supply star program.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found implementation of the bill would save about 9.5 quadrillion btus (british thermal units) between 2014 and 2030, or nearly one tenth of the annual energy use in the U.S. As the second largest consumer of energy in the world and the worlds biggest economy it is critically important for the United States to improve energy efficiency, the bill has received bipartisan support with seven Republicans and twelve Democrats in favor of the bill. It contains a variety of policies and programs to reduce residential, commercial and industrial energy use and focusing on sectors and areas with energy savings potential such as the residential, commercial and industrial sectors, the bill also restricts inefficient energy practices that will cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars and millions of jobs every year. One of the components of the bill also requires the Federal Government- which is the largest user of energy adopt energy saving techniques and best practices to operate efficiently.
Commenting on the bill Senator Portman said Washington can seem pretty divided these days, but there are some things on which we all can agree. This bill is one of them it is good for the economy and good for the environment. By making it easier for employers to use energy efficient tools, we are helping them to reduce their costs, enabling them to put those savings towards expanding their companies and hiring new workers.
The bill has received positive feedback and widespread support, the only constraint halting the success of the bill are the amendments lawmakers are trying to attach to it. The successful passing of this bill will not only help in mitigating climate change in the U.S. and reduce carbon emissions but also be a trendsetter for other countries to follow suit.


Energy Efficiency And The Us Heavy Industry

Heavy Industry’ is a rather amorphous term. According to Wikipedia, Heavy Industry signifies the production of goods that are either heavy in weight or in the processes leading to their production.Examples of such industries include steel, chemical, mining, and construction equipment, machinery.

The United States is the largest consumer of energy in the world, using 94.9 quadrillion BTUs in 2009 and heavy industry in the United States accounts for about 31% of all energy consumption, significantly more than any other sector of the economy. Seven energy-intensive industries use three-fourths of this power; these are aluminum, chemicals, forest products, glass, metal casting, mining, and steel. All these heavy industries are also under tremendous pressure to reduce their huge dependence on expensive non
renewable energy.

A recent study by the European Commission thinks not. The study estimates that the United States has the potential to save about 45 TWh energy per year, through use of energy efficient transformers. Even a 0.01 percent gain in the average efficiency of utility transformers installed in the U.S. in a single year, can save as much as 2.9 Twh energy.

The environmental benefits of energy-efficient transformers are also significant and the study by the European Commission believes transformers could well emerge as a major focus for energy efficient
initiatives in the industry.

Energy Guzzling Industries
Chemical Industry,
Paper and Pulp Industry
Iron and Steel Industry
Mining Industry

Is the Answer Energy-Efficiency

Energy efficiency is already playing a significant role in the Heavy Industry, but with growing concerns of greenhouse gas emissions and skyrocketing cost of energy, it obviously needs to do more.Before the 1970s, the U.S. energy consumption grew in parallel to gross domestic product (GDP). Had that trend continued, current U.S. energy demand would have more than doubled, currently, the energy consumption is 1.5 times that of 1970. Reduction in energy consumption has resulted from a combination of energy efficient methods and a shift from energy-intensive manufacturing toward a service and information-based economy.

Do Energy Efficient Transformers Hold the Key?

As energy costs rise and availability becomes uncertain, the necessity of utilizing energy-efficient products becomes imperative. Additionally, a globally competitive business environment is causing businesses to cut costs in order to remain competitive. Of particular interest are distribution transformers
that are the largest loss-making components in electrical networks.

In a typical grid, electric transformer loss contributes to about 40-50% of the total transmission and distribution loss. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that on a conservative estimate 61 billion kWh annually can be attributed to transformer losses. These losses cost end-users $3 to $4 billion annually. An energy-efficient transformer is therefore an important means to reduce transmission and distribution loss. Energy saving transformers can additionally save the equivalent of more than 70 million tons of CO2 emissions.

The answer to energy efficiency is in making distribution transformers efficient; and thankfully, manufacturers have the technical know-how to offer better, cost effective, low loss, energy efficient transformers.

Energy Efficient Distribution Transformers

Distribution transformers distribute power from power generating facilities to end-users and while energy loss during transmission is inevitable, measures are taken to reduce it considerably.However, for energy to be consumed voltage needs to be reduced and it is at this point of stepping down electricity that distribution transformers lose energy. Even though only a small portion of energy is lost it is in a permanent manner and standby power losses account for 2% of total electricity production.

Despite high average efficiencies of 95 to 99.75%, transformers have a significant environmental impact because they continuously consume power.

The energy losses in electricity transformers fall into two components, namely, no-load losses resulting from the energized iron core, which is a permanent phenomenon, and load losses, arising when providing power to users. Load losses also result from the resistance of the coil when the transformer is in use, and from eddy currents due to stray flux.

Technical solutions exist to reduce transformer losses by 75% at minimum when replaced by modern transformers or even by 90% when replacing transformers over 30 years old. Energy-efficiency can be improved with better transformer design, like selecting better, lower-core-loss steels; reducing flux density in a specific core by increasing the core size; increasing conductor cross-section to reduce current density; good balancing between the relative quantities of iron and copper in the core and coils.

An energy efficient transformer is an important means to reduce Transmission & Distribution loss and can save up to 120 TWh / year. Energy efficient transformers can provide considerable environmental benefits too. For example, a typical urban distribution transformer rated at 400 kW has lifetime losses equivalent to 125 “”184 tons of CO2 emissions; a more energy-efficient design can reduce these emissions to 56 tons.