For China’s Massive Data Centers, A Push to Cut Energy and Water Use

Read the full story in E360 Digest.

As China’s population connects to the Web, its data centers are consuming huge amounts of energy to power the growing demand. Now, Chinese tech companies are turning to energy-efficient data facilities to cut costs and green their operations.

Women, There’s A Reason Why You’re Shivering In The Office

Read the full story from NPR.

He was probably about 40 years old, 155 pounds, white and wearing a suit. And he’s the reason why women are shivering at their desks in air-conditioned buildings.

At some point in the 1930s, someone defined “metabolic equivalents” — how much energy a body requires while sitting, walking and running. Almost a century later, the back-of-the-envelope calculations are considered a standard for many things, including air conditioning.

But using that metabolic equivalent could be unnecessarily ramping up energy bills during summertime, researchers say, and it’s time to plug in the right numbers so that air conditioning settings aren’t biased toward men, and fewer women are reaching for the sweater.

“Garbage in, garbage out,” says Boris Kingma, a biophysicist at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and lead author of the study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. “So, if you put in the wrong metabolic rate, you get an answer which is of course not valid.”

When it comes to saving energy, it’s really not all about the money

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

recent psychological study has provided suggestive evidence that when people decide to take steps to use less energy at home, and so to protect the environment, they don’t merely do so because they want to save a little bit of cash on their electricity bills. If anything, it suggests, some forms of materialistic or competitive thinking may inhibit deep or long-lasting conservation attitudes.

 

Mother Earth’s Secret Weapon: Girl Scouts

Read the full story in Pacific Standard.

There are many simple things we can all do to save energy, but few of us bother to ever learn about them, let alone change our behavior. Fortunately, new research points to a potent secret weapon in the battle to get people to act more responsibly: their nine- and 10-year-old girls.

According to a study in the journal Nature Energy, a program in which Girl Scouts were taught how to save energy at home had lasting results, changing the behavior of both the young ladies and their parents. What’s more, many of these new habits remained seven to eight months following the training.

New track for converting waste heat to electricity

Read the full story from Chalmers University of Technology.

Huge amounts of energy are lost every day in the form of waste heat. Now an interdisciplinary project at Chalmers has found that a special class of material – high-entropy alloys – can open the door to efficient heat recycling.

Boosting energy efficiency is an important element of the transition to a sustainable energy system. There are big savings to be made. For example, less than half the energy content of diesel is actually used to power a diesel truck. The rest is lost, mostly in the form of heat. Many industrial processes also deal with the problem of excessive waste heat.

That’s why many research teams are working to develop thermoelectric materials – materials that can convert waste heat into energy. But it’s no easy task. To efficiently convert heat to electricity, the materials need to be good at conducting electricity, but at the same time poor at conducting heat. For many materials, that’s a contradiction in terms.

Webinar: Complying with the Clean Power Plan: An Opportunity for the Industrial Sector

Thu, May 19, 2016 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT
Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1917026384082411778

This is the third webinar in ACEEE’s series: Energy Efficiency and the Clean Power Plan.

The industrial sector represents a big opportunity for low-cost energy savings from utility energy efficiency programs. During this webinar we will hear from Meegan Kelly, ACEEE’s senior research analyst for industry, who will discuss the value of industrial energy efficiency programs and highlight the benefits of participating in them. We will also hear from Cassandra Kubes, ACEEE’s environmental policy analyst, about how these programs help states comply with the Clean Power Plan. Attendees will learn how industrial energy efficiency and combined heat and power (CHP) provide emission reductions and why states can’t afford to ignore industrial efficiency as they piece together compliance plans.

Visit ACEEE’s Clean Power Plan webpage (http://aceee.org/topics/clean-power-plan) for links to recordings of each webinar as they become available, along with our resources on incorporating energy efficiency as a compliance strategy. Please contact Cassandra Kubes (ckubes@aceee.org) for more information about this webinar series.

Webinar: Planning and Budgeting for the Evaluation of Energy Efficiency Programs

Date: Monday, May 23, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:15 PM (CDT)
Register at https://cc.readytalk.com/r/ra50col7znhp&eom

Please join the U.S. Department of Energy and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in collaboration with EPA for the first in a new series of webinars designed to support states considering and implementing evaluation, measurement and verification (EM&V) activities to document energy savings and other impacts of energy efficiency programs. In this webinar our panel of experts will discuss how states are establishing infrastructures, plans and budgets for their evaluations of efficiency programs funded by utility customers (ratepayers). State representatives who have developed EM&V strategies will share their experiences and lessons learned.

Topics covered:

  1. EM&V Planning Basics and Frameworks — Steven Schiller, Senior Advisor, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  2. State Examples of Planning Processes and Lessons Learned — Jennifer Meissner, Program Manager for Evaluation, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority; Katie Rich, Director, Infrastructure Policy & Homeland Security Coordinator, Public Utility Commission of Texas; Fred Gordon, Director of Planning and Evaluation, Energy Trust of Oregon
  3. Questions and Answers With Panel Members

Who should participate?

This webinar series is intended primarily for staff from public utility commissions, state energy offices, state environment departments, and non-profit organizations and offers an opportunity to engage with others in similar roles. The webinars will be of particular value for state officials starting or expanding their EM&V methods for a wide range of efficiency activities including utility customer-funded programs, building energy codes, appliance and equipment standards, energy savings performance contracting, and efficiency programs that support pollution reduction goals or regulations. Evaluation consultants, utilities, consumer organizations and other stakeholders also are welcome to participate.

What topics are covered in this webinar series?

EM&V documents energy and demand savings as well as environmental benefits and market effects to determine performance of efficiency activities with respect to defined goals. EM&V can also be used to evaluate processes to improve implementation of efficiency programs. In this and future webinars we will provide an overview of the who, what, when, where, why and how of EM&V used to document energy savings and other impacts of efficiency programs.

Information on the webinar series, webinar slides and recordings, and additional EM&V resources are available here.