Inetresting article in the Gueadin today, as the climate heats our need for cooling rises...read on http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/26/cold-economy-cop21-global-warming-carbon-emissions
The term Green Building is often abused and used out of context. This nice video graphics demystifies and simplifies the description of what a Green Building is.
Assembly Bill 802 (Williams, Chapter 590, Statutes of 2015), signed by Governor Brown on October 8, 2015, has mandated the transition to a new statewide building energy use benchmarking and public disclosure program. This announcement clarifies the transition from the current Nonresidential Building Energy Use Disclosure Program (Public Resource Code Section 25402.10, popularly known as AB 1103) to the new program mandated by AB 802:
- AB 1103 will be in effect until December 31, 2015. Building energy use disclosure at the time of sale, lease, finance, or refinance will continue to be required until then. AB 1103 will be repealed January 1, 2016, meaning the Energy Commission's regulations pertaining to this statute will no longer be in effect and the current rulemaking will be ended.
- The AB 1103 docket (15-OIR-04) will remain open until December 31, 2015 to allow stakeholders to comment on the program. The Energy Commission will soon open a new docket to receive comments for the new program. Comments received under the AB 1103 docket that are relevant to the new program will be moved to the new docket.
- There will be no statewide energy use disclosure requirement in 2016. During this time, Energy Commission staff will engage in a public process to develop regulations and establish the reporting infrastructure for the new program. Staff anticipates that regulations for the new program will be in effect January 1, 2017.
- Staff will propose an order instituting a rulemaking proceeding for the new program at the November Energy Commission business meeting.
- The Energy Commission will soon conduct a scoping workshop to gather public input on implementing the benchmarking provisions of AB 802.
1. What percentage of total U.S. energy consumption is made up of consumption from the residential sector?
Approximately 72% of U.S. households report an average age for home heating equipment of 5 years or more. About 32% of households report home heating equipment older than 15 years
9. How is energy used in a residential building?
The Department of Energy has finally issued a rebuttal to the findings of the E2e report Study Finds Costs of Residential Energy Efficiency Investments are Double the Benefits.
Two new major, peer-reviewed, national evaluations of WAP from DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) provide fresh evidence that WAP is indeed a good investment with energy savings exceeding the costs by a factor of 1.4. The evaluations also show that under the Recovery Act, while achieving economic stimulus goals, the benefit cost ratio for WAP energy savings measures is estimated at just below 1, substantially better results than found by E2e.
The findings and the way that this debate takes shape is important as Energy Efficiency investments and improvements are at the core of the Clean Power Plan announced by President Obama recently.
Lets hold our breath for round two.
The Clean Power Plan sets achievable standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. By setting these goals and enabling states to create tailored plans to meet them, the Plan will:
PROTECT THE HEALTH OF AMERICAN FAMILIES. IN 2030, IT WILL:
SAVE THE AVERAGE AMERICAN FAMILY:
BOOST OUR ECONOMY BY:
Excessive utility usage can often go unnoticed without an effective method for tracking. Tracking the energy and water usage in your multifamily building(s) is a good way to spot potential problems and it’s good for your bottom line! There are many ways a property manager or owner can track utility usage, each with different benefits and downsides. Some of the pros and cons of 4 different tracking methods are evaluated below.
Manually Entering Data into Spreadsheets
This refers to entering data from your bills into a spreadsheet, such as one from Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.
Hardware options are physical items you can use to track usage (as opposed to reading off the bill or using a software program). Some hardware options measure just one appliance or circuit, while others connect to an entire meter.
Manually Entering Data into Portfolio Manager
Portfolio Manager is a tool created by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that allows you to track your utility usage by manually entering the data from your bills.
Using Automated Tools to Track & Analyze Data
Automated tools are available online and can automatically collect your utility information from your provider.
The biggest errors occur in modeling estimates of energy use in older homes; usually post-retrofit energy use is pretty close to modeled estimates, but pre-retrofit use is dramatically overestimated because of poor assumptions, biased inputs, and bad algorithms.”
Poor assumptions. Models and auditors underestimate the efficiency of existing heating equipment, they often assume 60% efficiency for old furnaces.
Low R-value estimates for existing walls (R-3.5) and attics. Many defaults are biased; they assume R-3.5 for an old wall when many old walls actually perform at R-5 or R-6. Energy models often underestimate the effects of a high framing factor, thick sheathing, and multiple layers of old siding, all of which improve a wall’s R-value.
Low R-value estimates for existing single-pane windows. We assume that old single-pane windows are R-1, when they are probably closer to R-1.35 or R-1.4. When calculating the outside surface film coefficient, they assume worst-case conditions — in other words, that the wind is always blowing away heat from the window. They do it that way because the design load is always calculated for the coldest, windiest day of the year (even though the coldest day usually isn’t windy). If an auditor calculates single-pane windows at R-1, he’s assuming that the wind is blowing continuously nonstop all winter long. But in a real house, the wind speed is often close to zero up against the window.
Low or absent estimates for thermal regain. Energy models underestimate thermal regain from basements and crawlspaces. Most models get big things wrong, like how basements and crawlspaces work. Vented crawl spaces usually aren’t at the outdoor temperature. When the outdoor temperature is 10 degrees, a vented crawl space can be at 50 degrees. Why is it that when we insulate a basement ceiling, we get minimal savings — maybe zero savings, or maybe $20 a year?
Well, if you have a furnace and ductwork in the basement, you are regaining a lot of the heat given off by the furnace and ducts, due to the directional nature of air leakage in the wintertime. The stack effect brings basement air upstairs. The basement is pretty warm, so the air leaking into the house is warmer than the models predict. A similar effect happens in attics: because of the stack effect, most of the air leaving the house leaves through the attic. In a leaky house, you might have 200 cfm of air flow being dumped into the attic. That makes the attic warmer than the models predict. If the attic is 50 degrees, the heat loss through the ceiling insulation is less than the model assumes.
Also check for foundation heat loss, infiltration, wall heat loss, attic heat loss, framing factors, edge effects, window heat loss, window heat gain, exterior shading, interior shading, the effect of insect screens, air films, HVAC equipment performance, duct efficiency and regain, AC refrigerant charge, and air flows over HVAC coils. There are many unknowns: soil conductivity and ground temperatures are unknown. Wind speed is unknown. Leak locations are unknown.
Experience says that better results can be predicated by asking the right set of questions, than running complex computer models.
(the questions posed above are by no means exclusive, comments from readers of this blog are appreciated)
There has been much ado about the recent paper published by E2e; Do Energy Efficiency Investments Deliver? Evidence from the Weatherization Assistance Program, the final word on which is yet to be written.
Decades of experience and verification prove energy efficiency programs deliver huge benefits to consumers and the environment - and these benefits far exceed the costs. But numbers can be distorted and therein is the bane of Energy efficiency projects.
E2e has some heavy duty sponsors; Berkeley University of California, MIT, University of Chicago, in the words of the sponsor the findings of their study cannot be extrapolated;
"This is one study in one state looking at one subpopulation and one type of measure," study co-author Meredith Fowlie, an associate professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Washington Post. "I would not feel comfortable generalizing from our study in Michigan."
But for now the damage is done with headlines appearing in the media:
"Energy efficiency upgrades cost double the projected benefits'
"Do Energy Efficiency Investments Deliver?"
As energy efficiency practitioners', we don't need these unwelcome headlines. We live by providing ROI numbers everyday, and as any sane excel modeler will bear out that 'garbage-in' leads to 'garbage-out', and extrapolating trend can be a dangerous thing.
For a reality check; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory maintains a database of the measured and verified costs and savings from energy efficiency programs across the United States. Their most recent report found that the 2,100 program years they examined had a total cost of saved electricity, weighted by the energy saved, of 4.6 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) across all sectors. This includes both program costs and participant costs related to the energy efficiency measure. This is about half the cost of building a dirty coal power plant.
The chart shows that residential efficiency on average costs 3.3 cents per kWh, and commercial and industrial efficiency costs 5.5 cents per kWh. Not surprisingly, low-income programs cost more (14.2 cents per kWh) and have a smaller customer contribution due to the participants' inability to pay. Given that these low-income programs provide more benefits than just energy savings, and that the average rate U.S. utilities charge residential customers is about 13 cents per kilowatt hour, this is still a good deal.
Is efficiency a cost-effective way to mitigate carbon?
Numerous studies have calculated that the public investment in energy efficiency is more cost-effective than procuring new power sources. Even if real costs are higher than previously thought, efficiency provides a critical and immediate opportunity for large-scale emissions reductions that are cost-effective compared to other options.
As practitioners it is very important we use the right set of numbers in making our assumptions and generating positive ROI for our customers.