Europe wants more cities to use data center waste heating

Read the full story at Techradar.

The EU – and Germany in particular – has caused some consternation in the data center industry with plans to reduce the continent’s environmental impact.

The union has set renewable energy targets across numerous industries to be achieved by 2035, which includes making the heating and cooling sectors carbon neutral by reusing waste heat from data centers to keep cities warm.

Germany wants to go a step further by introducing targets for energy reuse, and whilst data center firms are happy for their byproduct to be recycled, they are worried that it will place a financial burden upon them to achieve. 

Lego lays first bricks for $1B ‘carbon neutral’ toy factory in US

Read the full story from GreenBiz.

Lego Group has begun laying the first building blocks for its planned $1 billion “carbon-neutral” factory in the U.S., as the toy manufacturer steps up efforts towards meeting its global climate goals.

The Danish firm announced at construction work has officially started at the new facility in Chesterfield County near Richmond, Virginia, with work expected to be completed by 2025.

The 340-acre site is set to include on-site solar power generation comprising 35,000-40,000 ground-mount photovoltaic (PV) panels and 15,000-20,000 roof PV panels, altogether delivering a total electricity generation capacity of 30-35MW, it said.

Overall, Lego said the solar panels would be able to meet all of the factory’s power needs, generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of 10,000 average U.S. homes.

In addition, Lego said it planned to use energy-efficient production equipment throughout the construction process, and also during operation of the facility, set to be the firm’s second in the U.S. once manufacturing begins.

The real-world costs of the digital race for bitcoin

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Bitcoin mines cash in on electricity — by devouring it, selling it, even turning it off — and they cause immense pollution. In many cases, the public pays a price.

This Danish school is made from straw and seaweed

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Behind the thick wooden walls of a small school in northern Denmark are two wholly uncommon materials: One is often burned to run the country’s district heating systems. The other usually rots away on the beach.

But at the Feldballe School in Rønde, Denmark, Henning Larsen Architects used these two materials—straw and a seaweed called eelgrass—to form the insulation and ventilation systems of a revolutionary kind of building. Designed specifically to reduce the amount of carbon emissions that result from the building’s construction and operable lifespan, the school is showing how biomaterials can help the construction industry hit environmental targets without sacrificing aesthetics.

Computer scientists say seagull algorithms could hide the secret to greener cloud computing

Read the full story from Fast Company.

We have engineered materials that are sturdier than ever, modeled after the oozing networks of the humble slime mold. And locomotive robots, propelled by the squishing trudge motions of an earthworm. And symmetric algorithms, which mimic the way shapes like snowflakes and sunflowers bloom spontaneously.

Now, a team of researchers from the United Kingdom, China, and Austria are looking to use the habits of seagulls to build better cloud computing systems.In a paper published in Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical Systems, a journal from KeAi, which was founded in a partnership between Elsevier and China Science Publishing & Media, the researchers argue that using a “seagull optimization algorithm”—a so-called meta-heuristic algorithm that mimics the hunting and migration behavior of seagulls—can make cloud computing more energy efficient, cutting its power consumption by 5.5% and lightening its network traffic by 70%.

What’s all the fuss about PFAS in refrigerants?

Read the full story at Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration News.

The latest refrigerant transition is well underway, with the 10% cut in the production of HFC refrigerants that went into effect last year. A much steeper cut happens next year, when production of HFCs must be reduced to 60% of the baseline established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There is no question that this stepdown will be a challenge for the HVACR industry.

As most know, these production cuts are a result of the AIM Act, which became law in December 2020. Under this legislation, Congress gave the EPA the authority to phase down the consumption and production of high-GWP HFC refrigerants in the U.S. by 85% over the next 15 years. Unlike the last refrigerant transition, in which HCFCs such as R-22 were phased out due to their ODP, this transition is due to the fact that HFCs such as R-410A and R-404A are considered to be contributing to global warming.

In addition to ODP and GWP, however, there are growing concerns about some of the chemicals used in certain synthetic refrigerants. For example, PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in many consumer products, including nonstick cookware, clothing, and furniture since the 1940s. They are highly resistant to heat, water, and oil, making them useful for a variety of applications, including refrigerants used in air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. However, their ubiquitous presence in water, soil, and air samples has raised concerns about their potential impacts on human health and the environment.

Webinar: Intricacies of Public Housing Improvements – Achieving Carbon Reduction

Apr 27, 2023, 11 am CDT
Register here.

Take this opportunity to learn from the UIC Energy Resources Center’s years of experience collaborating with public housing institutions helping them improve their units. Implementing their recommendations has increased residents’ comfort level while making the units more energy efficient, achieving carbon reduction.

Efficiency, demand response and EV charging are priorities for commercial building sector: GridPoint survey

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

The commercial building sector is showing a growing interest in energy efficiency, demand response and technologies that can help manage utility bills and reduce carbon emissions, according to a survey published in February by GridPoint.

A new generation of grid-interactive buildings are “able to drive energy efficiency, go after system peaks or their own building peaks and provide relief to the grid,” Rachel Marcus, demand response program manager at GridPoint, said in an interview. The company specializes in helping commercial building owners decarbonize and manage their energy use.

Webinar: eProject Builder Greenhouse Gas Calculation Tool

Mar 22, 2023, 1 pm CDT
Register here.

This training will educate attendees on how to use the eProject Builder (ePB) greenhouse gas (GHG) calculation tool to develop estimates of project GHG emissions and to compare different project scenarios’ potential GHG emissions impacts.

This tool provides federal agencies with a straightforward, user-friendly way to estimate the annual GHG emissions impacts of proposed projects, incorporating the estimated project energy savings and information from EPA’s Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGrid).

Attendees will learn which data inputs are required and how to complete the ePB data template inputs to develop the GHG calculations. They will also learn how to enter savings for various energy and fuel types, and how those entries impact Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions impacts.

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) recently released the new GHG calculation tool in the ePB project data template.

This tool was developed to support federal agencies’ need to report GHG impacts of energy projects and decarbonize the energy use of their buildings and meet several federal mandates and targets, including helping to meet the net-zero emissions goals of Executive Order 14057, Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs through Federal Sustainability.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify key federal reporting requirements for ESPC, UESC and direct-funded energy retrofit projects, for which this GHG tool will be relevant.
  • Receive an overview of the ePB system and project template relevant to being able to use the GHG tool.
  • Recognize which project data inputs are required for developing the GHG calculations in the ePB project data template.
  • Identify how to complete the ePB project data template for various energy and fuel types and how to complete the GHG tool using either the ePB non-calculating template or the ePB calculating template.
  • Identify how to enter fuel savings data for purchased vs. self-produced steam and chilled water—and how those relate to Scope 1 and 2 emissions; Identify the correct eGrid region for the ECM- or project-level information provided.
  • Complete an example scenario that compares a “business as usual” project with a project designed to reduce GHGs (e.g., with a fuel-switching measure)—and compare the impacts on price, energy and cost savings and GHG emissions between the two scenarios.
  • Learn about future planned updates to the ePB GHG calculation feature.

Could you power your data center with green hydrogen?

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Can green hydrogen be the key to more sustainable data center infrastructure? Startup ECL thinks so.