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.


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.

Using less energy to keep drinks cold

Read the full post from ACEEE.

Late yesterday, the Department of Energy (DOE) proposed strong new standards that would reduce the energy consumed by beverage vending machines to keep drinks cold. The proposed standards would cut energy use by 25-65% relative to the least-efficient machines available now, and save money for schools, hospitals, hotels, and other businesses and institutions where beverage vending machines are used.

Demand-Side Energy Efficiency in the Final Clean Power Plan

Read the full post at the Climate Law Blog.

Yesterday, President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the final version of the Clean Power Plan—the nation’s first ever federal regulatory standards to address carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants. As noted by the President in a press conference on Monday afternoon, this is “the single most important step that America has ever taken in the fight against climate change.”

The final rule establishes interim and final CO2 emission performance rates for fossil fuel-fired power plants that will reduce CO2 emissions from these plants by 32% under 2005 levels by 2030. Although this final target is more ambitious than the proposed rule (which called for a 30% reduction by 2030), the rule also gives states and utilities additional time to submit plans and start making emissions reductions: initial state plans are due in September 2016, with an option to extend the deadline to 2018, and the compliance period for mandatory emissions reductions begins in 2022. During the compliance period, the performance rates will be gradually phased in to provide for a “glide path” of reductions to 2030.

One significant change in the final rule is that EPA is no longer including demand-side energy efficiency as one of the “building blocks” used to determine the CO2 emissions performance rates for existing power plants. The performance rates are now based on the emissions reductions that can be achieved through the deployment of three supply-side measures: (1) heat rate improvements in existing coal plants, (2) increased reliance on combined cycle gas units, and (3) expanded use of renewables as a substitute for fossil fuel-based generation.

Fortunately, energy efficiency can still be used as a compliance measure, and EPA expects that energy efficiency will play a major role in meeting the state targets because it is a “cost-effective and widely-available carbon reduction tool.” EPA will also provide matching funds for early investments in demand-side energy efficiency measures through the newly introduced Clean Energy Incentive Program.

Which energy efficiency policies saved the most last year?

Read the full post from ACEEE.

We are periodically asked how much different policies have saved and which policies have had the largest impact. In our recent report on energy efficiency progress over the past 35 years, we reviewed many current energy savings estimates and projections. Here I wanted to summarize which policies appear to be saving the most energy today, looking at estimated energy savings in calendar year 2014.

Webinar: Data Center Efficiency 101: What Sustainability Managers Should Know

Tue, Aug 11, 2015 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT
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This non-technical presentation on data center energy efficiency will: 1) Explain savings opportunities in an easy-to-understand manner; 2) Empower anyone to spot ways to reduce energy costs in a data center or server room; and 3) Describe free resources you can tap for further assistance.

Recommended attendees: school administrators, energy managers, facilities managers, energy efficiency advocates, sustainability professionals, and IT managers. This webinar is sponsored by ENERGY STAR and hosted by Second Nature and AlterAction, a US EPA ENERGY STAR Technical Support Contractor.