IECC 2012 and Commissioning
The latest version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) brings in changes that will lead to more energy savings.
One of the major updates in IECC 2012 for commercial projects is the requirement of commissioning. Until recently, commissioning
has been fairly ad-hoc and considered an “add-on” service. However, due to projects pursuing the United States Green Building
Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, commissioning has become more mainstream
and provided value to clients.
Building commissioning is a process that helps verify and document that the selected building systems have been designed,
installed, and function according to the owner’s project requirements, the construction documents, and code requirements. By
aiding the owner through the design and construction process, commissioning providers can help ensure that the owner is delivered
a project ...Read the rest of entry »
Earlier this week, nine major utilities and energy suppliers, including ComEd committed to be part of a new initiative to provide consumers greater access to their energy usage data. The “Green Button Initiative” is spearheaded by the Federal Office of Science and Technology Policy and Council on Environmental Quality. The “Green Button” will be an online link for energy customers to access their energy consumption data in useful formats and metrics. The aim is to help consumers make informed decisions that will lead to reduced energy usage, and the cost savings that follow.
The Green Buttons at various utility and supplier websites will be based on common design and metrics so there is consistency across participants. There is already talk of developing smartphone apps and other tools to make this information accessible on-the-go, and to further expand the Green Button’s capabilities—for example, not only showing a customer their energy consumption as compared to previous months or years, but also h ...Read the rest of entry »
A nominee for best documentary at the Environmental Media Awards, “Carbon Nation” is a film very close to Sieben Energy Associates. CEO Craig Sieben was a producer on the film which was released in February 2011. The Environmental Media Association (EMA) advocates for environmental responsibility in the entertainment industry. EMA’s annual Environmental Media Awards honors films and television programming that demonstrates achievements in delivering effective green messages. “Carbon Nation” discusses the issues and the solutions surrounding climate change through interviews with a diverse group of people combating climate change. The film documents how a low-carbon economy would provide not only solutions to climate change, but also address current pressing social and economic problems; including job creation, public health, and national security. The EMA presents their awards October 15, 2011.Read the rest of entry »
Energy Star has announced a new program focusing on multifamily residential high-rise buildings. According to the program website, this new designation for multifamily high-rises (dubbed “MFHR”) is intended for “new or substantially renovated” buildings. Energy Star aims to incorporate energy efficient design elements such as high-performance insulation and windows, efficient HVAC equipment, and Energy Star rated appliances into these new residential spaces. These elements not only minimize the building’s energy consumption, they also create a comfortable (and less costly) environment for tenants. The EPA highlights the ability of high-efficiency design and properly-installed systems and insulation to ensure temperatures and indoor air quality stay optimal despite temperature and weather shifts. Especially in a climate with significant seasonal changes like, say, autumn in Chicago, an energy efficient high-rise is designed to keep energy usage and costs to a minimum while keeping its tenants warm in the winte ...Read the rest of entry »
We know energy efficiency to be a solid cost-saving strategy and a smart way to minimize one's carbon footprint; but it’s also one of America’s greatest energy sources. Reframing the debate about energy efficiency into one about energy resource and fossil fuel independence could generate it national attention and ultimately a national standard. The research surrounding Energy Efficiency Resource Standards explains energy efficiency as America’s cleanest, cheapest, fastest and most reliable energy resource. Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) are policies enforced by public utilities commissions mandating reduced energy use upon retail electricity and natural gas providers. EERS have been successfully implemented in 26 states; the first initiative was in Texas in 1999. Illinois’ first EERS, SB1592, was signed into action in 2007. SB1592 requires electric utilities to reduce energy use by 0.2% through advancements in efficiency by 2009 and a further 2.0% by 2015. Ill ...Read the rest of entry »
There is no denying the so-called “Great Recession” has not been kind to state budgets, federal budgets, many businesses, international markets, prospective student-loan recipients, job seekers, and countless others. But, according to the Department of Energy and numerous environmental organizations, it has been kind to something: the planet.
"Recession Special: Cleaner Air" in Saturday’s New York Times cites analysis by the US Department of Energy and several environmental research groups that the economic downturn has led to a marked decrease in carbon emissions throughout the United States. Efforts to cut costs through energy efficient appliances, lighting, and building systems are “all justified as saving money over their lifetimes [and] also save carbon.”
The efficiency push has also led to cleaner power generation. A smaller, more service-based economy has created less demand for electricity, causing utilities to use the most cost-effective means of power generation: more efficie ...Read the rest of entry »
Last month (July 2010) Dan Bailey at Sieben Energy Associates created a matrix titled, "Major Energy and Climate Legislation of the 111th Congress" that outlines the various proposed energy and/or climate bills in 2009-2010. This is found at the following link: http://www.siebenenergy.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=2xBuNhlLGvk%3d&tabid=73&mid=676.
Since the time that this document was written, there have been additional attempts to garner the support needed to pass energy/climate legislation in the US Senate. The most recent bill was unveiled on July 28, 2010, which was absent a price on carbon. Instead the July 28th bill focused largely on offshore drilling and to a lesser extent domestic energy efficiency. This bill did not receive the backing needed to pass and was considered shot down within the first week of August. However, a number of articles written within the past two weeks suggest that Senate majority leader Harry Reid is still confident that an energy and/or climate bill will ...Read the rest of entry »
Data centers—the modern digital warehouses—use massive amounts of energy to both power and cool servers. As hardware costs continue to fall and energy costs continue to rise, it seems only natural that data center operators are focusing their attention on becoming more energy efficient to reduce operating expenses.
The EPA recently expanded its Energy Star rating system to include a scale specifically for data centers. NetApp’s RTP center is the first to achieve the certification. The North Carolina facility earned 99 out of a possible 100 points (only 75 are required for the Energy Star rating), aided in part by a unique overhead distribution cooling system and cooling with outside air during two-thirds of the year. These efficient approaches to cooling help the data center reduce energy costs substantially and cut carbon emissions by 95,000 tons per year.
For more information on Energy Star validation for data centers, visit the EPA’s dedicated website: Energy ...Read the rest of entry »
A slimmed down energy bill is expected to be introduced in the US Senate possibly today. The focus is on off-shore drilling and transportation fuel shifting to natural gas for heavy trucks. A section on a price-on-carbon is missing because the democrats could not get support for the 60 votes needed.
In regards to a climate bill:
“Reid said Congress could revisit climate legislation in September but lawmakers and analysts doubt there will be much appetite ahead of the mid-term elections in November.” To learn more, see the Reuters article at the link below:
http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFN2515434420100726Read the rest of entry »
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has planned an energy bill debate for the week of July 26. He suggests that a “rough draft” of the proposed legislation will focus on carbon dioxide pollution cuts from the utility sector. In addition to curbing carbon emissions, the debate will likely address the BP oil spill, efforts to boost renewable energy use, and energy-related job creation. You can find a good review of the energy bill movement on the Hill in the July 13, 2010 article, “Energy Bill May Cut Power-Plant Pollution, Reid Says” from Bloomberg Businessweek.
In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal last week, R. James Woolsey, chairman of Woolsey Partners and a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, outlined four strategies to reduce demand for oil. In the U.S., fuels derived from petroleum account for 95% of transportation needs but only 2% of electricity generation. Under the heading “How to End America’s Addiction to Oil,” Woolsey focused on strategies that are already available today:
Improve internal combustion engine electronics to better regulate fuel consumption within automobiles.
Switch to relatively inexpensive and domestically abundant natural gas for bus and interstate trucking fleets.
Begin to add compatible alternative liquid fuels (such as from waste and algae) that do not require engine modification into gasoline and diesel.
Expand and encourage the use of all-electric vehicles.
Our initial response, Woolsey says, should be to depend more heavily on electricity, natural gas, and biofuels for transp ...Read the rest of entry »
It is the Senate’s turn to evaluate climate change legislation and carbon pricing mechanisms. On June 26, 2009 The House of Representatives narrowly passed H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act, with a vote of 219 to 212. The bill was co-sponsored by Representatives Henry Waxman (D–Cal) and Ed Markey (D–Mass); it is often referred to as Waxman-Markey. Title III of Waxman-Markey articulates a carbon pricing structure through a cap on emissions of the nation’s largest emitters using emission allowance permits. The trading of permits is intended to develop a market for efficiently reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
(For more information on H.R. 2454 read, “The Road Ahead for Energy and Climate Policy: An Overview of Possible Directions and Their Impact on Business,” by Dan Bailey at Sieben Energy Associates.)
Nearly 10 months after H.R. 2454 and following a riveting debate on healthcare, the Senate now has the opportunity to turn their attention ...Read the rest of entry »