Heat Pumps Catered to Colder Climates; Will Increased U.S. Adoption Continue?

Posted by Gretchen Schimelpfenig on Feb 22, 2017 10:00:00 AM

The origin stories for heat pump technology are economic. Applying Lord Kelvin’s theory that disputed the concept that heat could only flow ‘downhill’, Peter von Rittinger turned an expensive wood-based salt processing enterprise into a money maker by using heat pumps to desiccate salt brine. In the 1970s during the oil embargo, modern heat pump sales increased by 500% as heating and cooling costs squeezed homeowners. The innovation of ductless heat pumps in Asia created an alternative to costly kerosene space heaters and PTAC units. The energy efficiency of heat pumps directly translates into financial savings; why does the U.S. market still pale in comparison to the rest of the globe (Figure 1)?

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Topics: Sustainability, Energy Efficiency

Good Construction = Hard Commissioning

Posted by Rick Stehmeyer on Feb 15, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Sometimes, acting as a commissioning authority day in and day out can weigh on you when you hit a streak of projects with dozens of issues that need correction.

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review

More Issues with the Energy Code – Lighting is Running Rampant

Posted by Jennifer Chiodo on Jan 18, 2017 10:00:00 AM

I’ve been writing for a few years about the deficiencies in current energy codes regarding commercial and industrial (C&I) lighting efficiency requirements.  The problem isn’t fixed, even though I hear people decrying how the code is so stringent, they won’t be able to design buildings that exceed it. 

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Topics: Standards and Metrics, Energy Efficiency

Optimizing Air Handling Units for Healthcare

Posted by Walker Calderwood on Jan 11, 2017 10:00:00 AM

As I discussed in a previous post, “Optimizing Air Handling Units for Energy Savings or Improved Comfort,” energy savings can be realized by adjusting the amount of outside air that is introduced to an air handling unit during normal operation.  In that article I referenced ASHRAE 62.1 to determine what the correct amount of outside air an air handling unit should mix with the return air stream.  This same principle applies to air handlers in healthcare, and in many cases, there is an even greater opportunity for savings in healthcare applications.

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, healthcare

Football Stadiums and Energy Efficiency. Fantasy?

Posted by Katie Mason on Dec 21, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Given that we're solidly into football season, we thought it was a good time to revisit this post by Katie from last year about stadium energy efficiency. Enjoy.


Originally Posted November 12, 2015

After recently attending a New England Patriot’s football game at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, I was overwhelmed by the size of both the structure and the population density served during the four plus hours that the game is taking place. The relatively new Gillette Stadium is also a completely open configuration located in a cold climate. Unsurprisingly, my thoughts immediately turned to energy consumption and sustainability.

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Topics: Sustainability, Energy Efficiency

Rethinking Server Room and Small Data Center Configurations

Posted by Eveline Killian on Dec 14, 2016 10:00:00 AM

With the growth of the Internet and our undeniable dependence on electronic data, comes the reality that data centers are estimated to consume 1.5% of the total world power – and this continues to rise rapidly. Large data centers are certainly the drivers behind these numbers, but most small companies have server rooms or small data centers that, collectively, contribute to a significant portion of this country’s costs and environmental footprint. Outside the IT opportunities of virtualization and server consolidation, there are few things the facilities department and management of a business can do to reduce this overhead and environmental cost. But as with many things, if we all do a small part it will end up making a big difference.

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Topics: Energy Efficiency

Winter Olympics 2050 — Dubai, UAE?

Posted by Ben Fowler on Dec 8, 2016 10:00:00 AM

I originally posted this in 2014. But, with Killington recently hosting a World Cup race in November, and given how much they relied on artificial snow, it seemed appropriate to bubble it back up. Snowmaking can be an extremely energy-intensive activity. With fewer solidly snowy winters, can skiing be sustainable [PDF]?

-Ben

The 2014 Winter Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia are located at one of the warmest locations in the history of the games. Setting aside for now the slow creep of a warming climate, Sochi, located at the eastern shores of the Black Sea, is a humid subtropical climate with an average winter temperature of around 50F during the day and still above freezing at night. In the higher elevations in the nearby Caucasus Mountains, where the events are taking place, daytime temperatures still average above freezing during the day. So, while it is a far better location for the actual “winter” portion of the games than the palm-tree-lined streets of the city of Sochi proper, it still is not the ideal location to host the Winter Games.

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Topics: Sustainability, Public Policy

LED Lighting as the Future of Demand Management

Posted by Jennifer Chiodo on Nov 30, 2016 10:00:00 AM

I had hoped to share my recent sci-fi story about future decisions that might need to be made around a demand-constrained grid in the era of extreme heat waves and self-driving electric vehicles.  But, fiction is not the point of this blog.  If you want to receive a copy of the story, feel free to request it – we monitor comments.  In this post, I’ll discuss a little of the back-and-forth we’ve been having regarding the New England Grid [PDF] and demand constraints. 

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Topics: Sustainability, Energy Efficiency

How Demand Limiting Can Help Control Energy Costs

Posted by Walker Calderwood on Nov 23, 2016 10:00:00 AM

As a follow up to my previous blog post on peak shaving, this week I’m going to cover demand limiting.  This is another peak shaving strategy that we are also using on the project I mentioned in my last post.  Demand limiting is different than energy storage in that instead of using the same amount of energy from different sources than the grid to peak-shave, the amount of energy being used is limited to achieve the same peak shaving goal.  I would like to note that there is no reason these two strategies can’t be used together - we are actually using both strategies on a current project to achieve the customer’s peak shaving goals.

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Topics: Energy Efficiency

RS-485– Part 3: Red Flags and How to Avoid Them

Posted by Rick Stehmeyer on Nov 17, 2016 2:00:00 PM

Note: This is Part Three in a series of posts on RS-485. | Part 1 | Part 2

In part 1 and part 2 of this series on RS-485 we covered the basics.  Let’s take some of that knowledge and talk about what most often goes wrong with RS-485.  I want to give you the ability to red flag common mistakes and some knowledge that will help repair the most common issues.  I am going to take some of the knowledge we gained from the last two posts and put it into context for both existing RS-485 installations and new ones.   I’ll discuss this in the form of red flags that will trigger the discussion.

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Topics: Building Performance & Technology

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