Day: July 26, 2013

Field Assessment of Energy Audit Tools for Retrofit Programs

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This project focused on the use of home energy ratings as a tool to promote energy retrofits in existing homes. A home energy rating provides a quantitative appraisal of a home’s asset performance, usually compared to a benchmark such as the average energy use of similar homes in the same region. Home rating systems can help motivate homeowners in several ways. Ratings can clearly communicate a home’s achievable energy efficiency potential, provide a quantitative assessment of energy savings after retrofits are completed, and show homeowners how they rate compared to their neighbors, thus creating an incentive to conform to a social standard. An important consideration is how rating tools for the retrofit market will integrate with existing home energy service programs. For residential programs that target energy savings only, home visits should be focused on key efficiency measures for that home. In order to gain wide adoption, a rating tool must be easily integrated into the field process, demonstrate consistency and reasonable accuracy to earn the trust of home energy technicians, and have a low monetary cost and time hurdle for homeowners. Along with the Home Energy Score, this project also evaluated the energy modeling performance of SIMPLE and REM/Rate.

Americans continue to use more renewable energy sources

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

Americans used more natural gas, solar panels and wind turbines and less coal to generate electricity in 2012, according to the most recent U.S. energy charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Why Jason McLennan created the toughest green building ratings

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

To understand Jason McLennan’s passion for restorative architecture, you need to look back to his childhood in Sudbury, Ontario, which once held the dubious distinction as home to the world’s tallest smokestack.

McLennan remembers a polluted industrial city that resembled a “moonscape,” until Sudbury realized in the 1970s that it desperately needed to diversify its economy away from its history of mining and smelting. Its new master plan included a regreening campaign that was so successful the city eventually earned a United Nations commendation in the 1990s.

Bees exposed to high levels of pesticides suspected in colony collapse

Read the full story from the Los Angeles Times.

Pesticides sprayed on crops could be making honey bees susceptible to a fatal parasite and contributing to recent declines in bee populations, according to a study.

Researchers found 35 pesticides, some at lethal levels, in the pollen collected from bees servicing major food crops in five states, including California, according to the study published online Wednesday in the journal PLOS One.

Levels for two chemicals were above the dose that would kill half a population within two days, according to the report. Pesticide residue was found on all the pollen samples, including those that the bees apparently collected from nearby wildflowers, according to the report.

5 innovative ways companies can tackle climate change

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

With nations around the world largely failing to take the kind of action needed to head off dangerous climate change, it is becoming clearer that the dilemma will require innovation from all players, including governments, companies and academia.

Ann Dale and Rob Newell of Royal Roads University have studied actions of local governments as part of their project, Meeting the Climate Challenge (MC3). These valuable lessons, they say, also can be applied to for-profit businesses.

California Nonresidential Building Owners Must Disclose Energy Usage

Read the full story in Energy Manager Today.

On September 1, owners of non-residential buildings 50,000 square feet or greater will be required to disclose energy usage when they sell their properties. California Assembly Bill 1103 has now been codified into regulations, which will require disclosure of the building’s most recent 12 months of energy usage prior to any sale, lease or financing of the entire building.