DOE Webinar April 28: Calculating Loads for Heating and Cooling

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Building Technologies Program is offering a webinar on Thursday, April 28, 2011, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon Eastern titled “Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Right-Sizing Part 1: Calculating Loads.” Register now to attend this free webinar.

Calculating energy requirements for heating and cooling a home is the first critical step in the design process for correctly sizing the HVAC system. Designers use models of electrical loads to help them select the optimal equipment and duct designs to deliver the appropriate volume of conditioned air to rooms of the home.

This webinar, presented by IBACOS — one of DOE’s Building America Research Teams — will highlight the key criteria required to accurately calculate heating and cooling loads. During the webinar, experts will also discuss current industry rules of thumb, perceptions, and barriers to correctly sizing HVAC systems.

Target audiences include residential builders and HVAC design firms, contractors, installers, manufacturers, and distributors.

Learn more about the webinar.

Pay Now, Pay Later: A State-by-state Assessment of the Costs of Climate Change

Via the RFF Library Blog.

American Security Project

Outlines the economic costs to individual states of climate change under a no-action-taken scenario. Click on a state in the map to access projections and reports. [H/T: Climate Wire]

Print Versus Pixels

Read the full story at Seven Days.

But are e-readers the solution to a rising tide of books? Or do they spell the end of the book? To find out, I talked with local authors, bookstore owners, librarians, a publisher and an expert on e-waste. I heard from people who love e-readers and people who revile them. I learned that the new tech doesn’t have to put you in thrall to Amazon. I also learned that, if you want to assuage your eco-conscience with a shiny new iPad or Kindle, forget it.

How location, household size and income impact your carbon footprint

Read the full story at Smart Planet.

Buy a hybrid car or save up for solar panels? Shop for local produce or choose compact fluorescent light bulbs? It’s tough to know which environmentally-friendly changes make the most impact.

New research out of the University of California, Berkeley, shows that who you are and where you live can determine which eco-changes would be most beneficial. Christopher Jones, lead author of the study and a researcher in Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, told me more about the findings last week. Below are excerpts from our interview.

Smart buildings: the first ‘killer app’ for smart grid?

Read the full story at Smart Planet.

IDC Energy Insights released a market forecast that projects a global compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in spending for smart building technology of 27% between 2010 and 2015, with forecasted sales reaching $10.2 billion in 2015. The annual growth in North America will be about 28%, and 29% in Western Europe.

EPA Announces New Addition to Energy Star Commercial Fryers Category

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a new category under commercial fryers that can now earn the Energy Star label – an energy efficiency program that has saved Americans money on their energy bills while contributing to cleaner air and protecting people’s health since 1992. Effective April 22, 2011, EPA has expanded the scope of the eligible models to include large vat gas and electric fryers. Energy Star qualified large vat fryers are 10-35 percent more energy efficient than standard models.

Fryers are one of the most common appliances in the food service industry. Large vat fryers are used in a variety of high-volume food establishments including fast food, grocery, retail, institutional and full-service restaurants. By using large vat electric and gas commercial fryers that have earned the Energy Star, businesses could save between $170 and $500 annually on utility bills.

In order to earn the Energy Star label under these new requirements, product performance must be certified by an EPA-recognized third-party based on testing in an EPA-recognized lab. In addition, manufacturers of these products must participate in verification testing programs run by recognized certification bodies. If every large vat fryer in the US met the new Energy Star requirements, energy cost savings would increase approximately $81 million per year and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the emissions from nearly 95,000 cars.

Energy Star was started by EPA in 1992 as a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products, as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings that meet strict energy-efficient specifications set by the EPA. Last year alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved approximately $18 billion on their energy bills while preventing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual emission of 33 million vehicles.

Trends in Renewable Energy Consumption and Electricity 2009

Via the RFF Library Blog.

Energy Information Admin., US Dept. of Energy

Despite an economic recession and a significant fall in overall energy demand/consumption, the use of renewable fuels grew strongly in 2009. This growth has been supported by Federal and State programs, including federal tax credits, state renewable portfolio standards, and a federal renewable fuels standard. This chapter details renewable energy consumption in 2009 after explaining the unusual decrease in total energy consumption over the past two years.

Chili’s Chalks Up a Quiet Win For Green Signage

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

A Chili’s restaurant is conveniently located halfway between our home and office so we have eaten there dozens of times over the course of the last few years. I have always noticed their colorful chalkboard signs (above), but I assumed they were printed and not hand drawn as they appeared. Recently I asked the location’s manager about them and he confirmed they were indeed hand drawn by a talented artist in Texas named Sean McAfee.

Here is the green part of the story: The chalkboard signs are re-used over and over again and shared between the 800-plus Chili’s locations. When changes need to be made, the old signs are not thrown away to end up in a landfill; they are sent back to Sean McAfee for redesign and reuse.

Report Upends Standard Take on Cap and Trade Loss

Read the full story from American University.

A editorial calls Climate Shift: Clear Vision for the Next Decade of Public Debate by American University Professor Matthew Nisbet “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate-change debate.” The new research challenges the commonly-held view that cap and trade legislation failed because of the spending advantages of opponents and false balance in news coverage…

The report can be found at The study was funded by a $100,000 grant from the Ecological Innovation program at the Nathan Cummings Foundation.

Study Finds Flame Retardants at High Levels in Pet Dogs

Read the full story from Indiana University.

Indiana University scientists have found chemical flame retardants in the blood of pet dogs at concentrations five to 10 times higher than in humans, but lower than levels found in a previous study of cats.

Their study, “Flame Retardants in the Serum of Pet Dogs and in their Food,” appears this month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Authors are Marta Venier, an assistant research scientist in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and Ronald Hites, a Distinguished Professor in SPEA.