Here are some new tools to support local energy efficiency

Read the full post from ACEEE.

Each step of a home improvement project requires the right tool. If you are planning to put up a new set of cabinets, for example, the first step requires measuring tape, assembly of the cabinets may require a drill, and then, finally, a hammer would be needed to actually mount them. A variety of tools—the right tools—are needed to complete the task.

This logic is no different when applied to the planning, design, and implementation of energy efficiency policies. Tools can provide localities with the know-how to advance energy efficiency throughout their communities. Policymakers, for example, can be tasked with assessing what energy efficiency policies make the most sense for their community, or with identifying which local stakeholders they should engage. The extent to which communities are equipped to readily answer those questions will vary; yet, all communities stand to benefit from learning about effective policies and strategies being implemented across the country. With the addition of some new resources, ACEEE hopes to expand communities’ toolboxes and provide the tools that help them achieve lasting energy savings.

The International Energy Efficiency Scorecard

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The International Energy Efficiency Scorecard ranks the world’s largest economies on their energy efficiency policies and programs. The rankings include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.

Thirty-one different energy efficiency indicators have been analyzed for each economy ranked in the report. The rankings are determined by scoring out of 100 possible points. Points can be earned in four different categories, including buildings, industry, transportation, and national effort, which measures overall or cross-cutting indicators of energy use at the national level.

Energy Efficiency in the Clean Power Plan: Take One

Read the full post from ACEEE.

On August 3rd, EPA released the final Clean Power Plan (CPP), a rule that sets performance rates and individual state targets for carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. Now that the emissions targets are set, energy efficiency plays a prominent role as a proven strategy that states can use to reduce energy, cut emissions, and boost the economy. As we have said, it’s not important that energy efficiency is no longer a CPP building block. The fact is that it’s prominently featured as a key compliance option for states in EPA’s materials (see Energy Efficiency TSD and Key Topics and Issues Fact Sheet), as a component of the rule’s Regulatory Impact Analysis, and even in the president’s speech announcing the rule.

Now that we’ve had time for a first read-through of the final rule, we’ve found some significant changes from the proposed version.

UF/IFAS study sheds light on how willing we are to adjust our energy bills

Read the full story from the University of Florida.

All it takes is six questions. You answer those, and University of Florida researchers say contractors will know how willing you are to upgrade your home for energy efficiency and whether you can afford the improvements.

Heating and cooling make up 54 percent of American households’ utility bills, a primary concern for Randy Cantrell, a UF/IFAS assistant professor and Extension specialist in housing and community development. For some people, their monthly energy bill comes as sticker shock. But we all react differently when we open the envelope, and Cantrell calls that response “botheredness.”…

The study was published online June 4 in the Society of Civil Engineers’ Journal of Architectural Engineering.

New Advanced Refrigeration Technology Provides Clean Energy, Low Utility Bills for Supermarkets

Read the full story from U.S. DOE.

Traditional supermarket refrigeration systems found in most U.S. grocery stores require a substantial amount of energy to keep fruits and vegetables fresh year round. An average supermarket consumes nearly 2 million kilowatt hours per year, and refrigeration accounts for nearly half of that. They are also prone to significant refrigerant leakage—from two to four thousand pounds a year—emitting environmentally harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The most common of these gases are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are 4,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and leading refrigeration systems manufacturer Hillphoenix worked together to develop a supermarket refrigeration system that is more environmentally friendly, more energy efficient, and uses less electrical energy. The Second Nature® Advansor System, which hit the market in 2014, reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 78% compared to existing systems and lowers energy consumption by 25%.

New DOE Report Estimates LED Savings in Common Lighting Applications

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released its latest report in a series analyzing markets where LEDs compete with traditional lighting sources. The new report, Adoption of Light-Emitting Diodes in Common Lighting Applications, reveals a wealth of insights into promising pathways for SSL technology development, providing estimates of the energy saved in 2014 due to current levels of LED penetration in 10 lighting applications, as well as the potential energy savings if each of these applications had switched completely to the best available LED products. Annual source energy savings from LEDs in 2014 were approximately 143 tBtu (equivalent to a cost savings of about $1.4 billion), but would have approached 4,896 tBtu (saving $49 billion) if all applications had switched “overnight” to the best-available LEDs.

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Development and Evaluation of a Sandia Cooler-based Refrigerator Condenser

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This report describes the first design of a refrigerator condenser using the Sandia Cooler, i.e. air-bearing supported rotating heat-sink impeller. The project included baseline performance testing of a residential refrigerator, analysis, and design development of a Sandia Cooler condenser assembly including a spiral channel baseplate, and performance measurement and validation of this condenser system as incorporated into the residential refrigerator. Comparable performance was achieved in a 60% smaller volume package. The improved modeling parameters can now be used to guide more optimized designs and more accurately predict performance.