The White House announced a number of commitments to energy efficiency this morning, not the least of which is a proposed energy efficiency standard for rooftop air conditioners that could produce the largest electricity savings under any U.S. appliance efficiency…
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>”[…] NRDC strongly applauds today’s White House’s efficiency and clean energy announcements which come the same week that a new energy-savings standard became effective for refrigerators and freezers, with the majority of models cutting their energy use by 20 to 25 percent, thanks to a 2010 consensus recommendation to the Department of Energy (DOE) from refrigerator manufacturers, efficiency advocates, consumer groups and states.
According to the White House, the rooftop air conditioner proposed standard announced would help cut carbon pollution by more than 60 million metric tons, and could save consumers nearly $10 billion on their energy bills through 2030. […]
The announcement follows significant groundwork by DOE in this product category, including DOE’s High Performance Rooftop Unit Challenge, a competition among manufacturers to produce efficient cooling units that cut their energy use almost in half and are still affordable in the commercial and industrial real estate space. DOE worked with members of its Commercial Building Energy Alliances (CBEA), which includes many large commercial building owners, to create a challenge specification that rooftop air conditioning manufacturers could meet. As part of the challenge, CBEA members, including Target, Walmart, Macy’s and McDonald’s, expressed strong interest in potentially purchasing high-efficiency roof-top units, helping to drive buyer support for the challenge levels. Manufacturers Daikin McQuay and Carrier succeeded in producing rooftop ACs that met the challenge specifications and resulted in substantial energy reductions.
Also included in today’s announcement are further savings from building energy codes. DOE will issue its final determination that the latest commercial building energy code – ASHRAE 90.1-2013 – saves energy compared to the previous version. Once DOE issues a positive determination that the new code saves energy compared to the previous code, individual states will consider the code for adoption leading to energy savings in new buildings and major retrofits in those states. DOE will also issue its preliminary determination on the latest residential energy-saving building code – the IECC 2015. DOE estimates that the updated commercial building standards will reduces energy bills for states and the federal government, while cutting emissions by 230 million metric tons of carbon dioxide through 2030. […]”<
>”Currently, about 10 percent of the world’s oil and one-quarter of its natural gas production come from the Arctic region, which has warmed by more than 2 degrees Celsius since the mid-1960s. Countries that border the Arctic Ocean are staking claims to expand their rights beyond the traditional 200-mile exclusive economic zone in anticipation of future oil and gas prospects. According to current estimates, the United States has the largest Arctic oil resources, both on and offshore. Russia comes in second for oil, but it has the most natural gas. Norway and Greenland are virtually tied for third largest combined oil and gas resources. Canada comes in fifth, with almost equal parts oil and natural gas.
In developing these resources, Russia is leading the pack. Production has started at almost all of the 43 large oil and natural gas fields that have been discovered in the Russian Arctic, both on land and offshore. Russia drew its first oil from an offshore rig in Arctic waters in December 2013. […]
[…] operating in the Arctic brings great risks. The shrinking Arctic sea iceallows waves to become more powerful. The remaining ice can be more easily broken up into ice floes that can collide with vessels or drilling platforms. Large icebergs can scour the ocean floor, bursting pipes or other buried infrastructure. Much of the onshore infrastructure is built on permafrost—frozen ground—that can shift as the ground thaws from regional warming, threatening pipe ruptures. Already, official Russian sources estimate that there have been more than 20,000 oil spills annually from pipelines across Russia in recent years. Arctic operations are far away from major emergency response support. The freezing conditions make it unsafe for crews to be outside for extended periods of time. Even communication systems are less reliable at the far end of the Earth. Why take such risks to pursue these dirty fuels when alternatives to oil and gas are there for the taking?
Rather than searching for new ways to get oil, we can look for better ways to move people and goods. Bus rapid transit, light rail and high-speed rail can move more people for less energy than a car can. And for the cars that remain on the road, electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles—powered by a clean energy grid—are much more efficient than those with a traditional internal combustion engine. Encouraging bicycle use through bike lanes andbike-sharing programs gets people active and out of cars.
Natural gas, which is mainly used to produce electricity, can be replaced with power generated by wind, solar, and geothermal projects. Many countries are demonstrating what is possible with renewables. Denmark already gets one-third of its electricity from wind. Australia is now dotted with 1 million rooftop solar systems. Iceland generates enough geothermal power to meet close to 30 percent of its electricity needs. These are just a few examples of looking past the old familiar solution to a better cleaner one. The risky search under every rock and iceberg for oil and gas deposits is a costly distraction from investing in a clean energy future.”<
During a webcast […] representatives from the US Department of Energy and Underwriters Laboratories walked through the details of the just-released energy management standard, and how companies can get on board, quickly.
>”When the standard achieves widespread adoption, it’s estimated that ISO 50001 could influence up to 60 percent of the world’s energy use. […]
ISO 50001 requires continuous improvement, but not specific requirements, which is where the ITP program comes in, to have specific requirements of improvement. The value of the certification, Scheihing said, is that for the first time it provides a framework for continual improvement for facilities on energy performance, and across the entire organization.
To be certified, you have to conform to the ISO 50001 management standard, and you have to improve your energy performance, and get both aspects certified under a third party. There are 24 companies working in the pilot mode of ISO 50001, across all types of manufacturing sectors and at all sizes.
Between 2008 and 2010, five initial facilities in Texas were piloted, and have been certified to date. Scheihing said the energy improvements achieved at the facilities ranged from 6.5 percent to 17.1 percent over a three-year period.
Among the initial feedback from the pilot project include the benefits of having a cross-functional plant energy management team that goes beyond just operations or engineering means that energy management becomes a shared responsibility, and that makes it much easier to incorporate significant changes in energy use.
One of the biggest shifts that the pilot projects found was that as a result of going through ISO 50001 certification, energy management became a way of doing business, instead of a project-by-project undertaking. […]
Scheihing laid out six steps that any organization can take to get started on ISO 50001 today:
Secure support from top management;Collect, track, and analyze energy data;Identify key energy uses;Establish a baseline;Identify energy-saving opportunities;Prioritize opportunities
The Department of Energy has created a new website for energy management, which lays out an overview of ISO 50001 and offers case studies and tools to help companies undertake those first steps.
Jerry Skaggs from UL DQS followed on Scheihing’s presentation to walk through each of the six steps, as well as a checklist for organizations to follow once they’ve gone through the process to ensure proper implementation and follow-through.
In the end, there are a number of benefits to effectively implement an energy management system, including:
• Reduced operational and overhead costs lead to increased profitability
• Reduced air emissions, such as GHGs
• Increased efficiency of energy sources
• Increased assurance of legal, internal compliance
• Variables affecting energy use and consumption are identified
• Increased understanding of energy use and consumption via defined methods, processes of data collection
UL DQS, which brings the Management Systems Solutions division of Underwriters Laboratories together with DQS, a German management certification company, offers a number of specialized services for helping companies assess and implement opportunities for energy management, including ISO 50001 certification. […] “<
Three North American industrial plants that recently deployed energy management systems (EnMS) are highlighted in new case studies from the Global…
>”Washington /PRNewswire / – Three North American industrial plants that recently deployed energy management systems (EnMS) are highlighted in new case studies from the Global Superior Energy Performance (GSEP) Energy Management Working Group (EMWG). These latest entries in the growing GSEP series explain how two Canadian plants, IBM and Lincoln Electric, and one U.S. plant, HARBEC, Inc., deployed ISO-compliant systems to manage their energy more efficiently while boosting competitiveness. GSEP, an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial, publishes the series in an effort to improve energy efficiency and mitigate carbon emissions around the globe.
U.S. Case Study HARBEC, Inc. improved the energy performance of its specialty plastics manufacturing plant in upstate New York by 16.5%, primarily by managing its combined heat and power unit more efficiently. The plant’s verified conformance with the international energy management standard ISO 50001 and its sustained improvements in energy performance earned HARBEC Platinum certification from the U.S. Superior Energy Performance (SEP) program, administered through the U.S. Department of Energy. […]
The USD$127,000 invested to implement SEP was paid back by the resulting operational energy cost savings within 2.4 years. The EnMS now saves the plant 6 billion Btu (6,300 gigajoules) annually and lowers energy costs by USD$52,000 each year at prevailing energy prices. HARBEC’s real-time automated system continuously monitors plant equipment to sustain and continuously improve energy performance. […]
Canadian Case Studies: (1) IBM implemented an EnMS at its manufacturing facility in Bromont, Quebec, which helped it to reduce energy consumption by 9.2% and save CAD$550,000 in 2013. The savings came from 36 energy efficiency projects implemented as part of the EnMS. Tool modifications generated approximately 27% of the savings, while heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and exhaust reduction projects generated the other 73%. Equipment throughout the plant is now monitored using dashboards that show real-time energy use. View IBM case study.
With the support of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), IBM Bromont was certified for conformance with CAN/CSA ISO 50001 in 2013. NRCan’s Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation provided plant staff with various energy conservation tools and services that assisted with EnMS development and certification.
(2) Lincoln Electric became CAN/CSA ISO 50001 certified after implementing an EnMS at its facility in Toronto, Ontario, which manufactures steel welding wire and industrial diesel-driven DC generator welding machines. With the help of NRCan, Lincoln Electric developed an EnMS that reduced the facility’s energy consumption by 22% in 2013. […]
Plant management was initially interested in an EnMS as a means to maintain competitiveness and reduce risks associated with volatile energy prices. The company learned that its successful EnMS implementation owes much to its corporate culture that actively encourages the identification of energy improvements and conservation measures. The plant expects its EnMS to lead to continuous improvement in overall plant energy consumption. […]”<
America’s data centers are consuming — and wasting — a surprising amount of energy.
>”Our study shows that many small, mid-size, corporate and multi-tenant data centers still waste much of the energy they use. Many of the roughly 12 million U.S. servers spend most of their time doing little or no work, but still drawing significant power — up to 30 percent of servers are “comatose” and no longer needed, while many others are grossly underutilized. However, opportunities abound to reduce energy waste in the data-center industry as a whole. Technology that will improve efficiency exists, but systemic measures are needed to remove the barriers limiting its broad adoption across the industry.
How much energy do data centers use?
The rapid growth of digital content, big data, e-commerce and Internet traffic more than offset energy-efficiency progress, making data centers one of the fastest-growing consumers of electricity in the U.S. economy, and a key driver in the construction of new power plants. If such data centers were a country, they would be the globe’s 12th-largest consumer of electricity, ranking somewhere between Spain and Italy.
In 2013, U.S. data centers consumed an estimated 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. That’s the equivalent annual output of 34 large (500-megawatt) coal-fired power plants — enough electricity to power all the households in New York City, twice over, for a year. […]
Fixing the problem
While current technology can improve data center efficiency, we recommend systemic measures to create conditions for best-practices across the data center industry, including:
Adoption of a simple, server-utilization metric. One of the biggest efficiency issues in data centers is underutilization of servers. Adoption of a simple metric, such as the average utilization of the server central processing units (CPUs), is a key step in resolving the energy-consumption issue. […]
Rewarding the right behaviors. Data center operators, service providers and multi-tenant customers should review their internal organizational structures and external contractual arrangements and ensure that incentives are aligned to provide financial rewards for efficiency best practices. […]
Disclosure of data-center energy and carbon performance.Public disclosure is a powerful mechanism for demonstrating leadership and driving behavior change across an entire sector. […]
If just half of the technical savings potential for data-center efficiency that we identify in our report is realized (taking into account market barriers), electricity consumption in U.S. data centers could be cut by as much as 40 percent. […]”<
In California, brokers are at the heart of every non-residential sale or lease. Can the AIR organization get them on board with benchmarking?
>”Commercial buildings are some of California’s largest energy- and water-guzzlers. With 58 percent of the state locked in the highest category of drought, many commercial property owners are seeing increased utility bills, and with a new building energy benchmarking and disclosure law on the books, building owners seek energy efficiency solutions as a common-sense way to ease some of the pressure. One key trade association in California, the AIR Commercial Real Estate Association, is taking the lead by educating its members on the benefits of energy efficiency.
AIR, founded in 1960, is a regional commercial real estate brokers association with more than 1,700 members across southern California, and is one of the nation’s largest organizations of its kind. It’s recognized across the U.S. for its ever-expanding library of sample lease forms, which members use to stay updated on industry and lease language trends — several of which now include sustainability. When California’s energy benchmarking law, AB 1103, went into effect in January, AIR responded by creating sample energy disclosure lease and sale addenda (PDF) and began educating its members on these new tools.
Brokers are in the thick of it
The law states that any time a non-residential building owner finances, sells or leases a whole building, the property owner is required to use Energy Star portfolio manager to benchmark the building and provide the Energy Star rating and supporting consumption information to the lender, buyer or tenant in the transaction. As brokers are central to every aspect of a commercial transaction, their participation is essential for the law to have its intended effect. AIR’s lease and sale addenda effectively address these energy disclosure requirements in one document, providing real estate professionals, building owners, tenants and attorneys with a framework template for compliance with the regulation.
Brokers hold the key to increasing stakeholder awareness, potentially boosting compliance rates, benchmarking data quality and ultimately better building performance and energy management — and educating the community about new regulations and tools is essential to unlocking this potential.”<
>”[…]Compliance with AB 1103 is not suspended, and will continue to be required, for the sale, lease, or financing of buildings over 10,000 square feet that are otherwise subject to the regulations based upon occupancy type.
Significant barriers to compliance with AB 1103
An Emergency Rulemaking Action requires a description of specific facts justifying the immediate action. In justifying the two-year delay, the CEC explained that several stakeholders had expressed concerns about significant barriers to compliance with AB 1103. The CEC noted the following factors in justifying the two-year delay:
- Some utilities have required tenant consents before releasing utility usage data despite letters sent from the CEC to utilities in July 2013 prohibiting such requirement. This requirement to obtain tenant consents significantly increases compliance costs.
- Smaller utilities have expressed concerns with their ability to comply given limited staff and resources.
- The Portfolio Manager platform and software has experienced significant technical problems.
- The expansion in scope to smaller buildings would increase the number of compliance requests received by utilities, impeding their ability to address barriers to compliance.
- Smaller building owners may lack the expertise, resources, or capacity necessary to overcome current barriers to compliance without incurring undue expense.
- Based on initial disclosure data following the January 1, 2014 implementation, it became apparent that “the required disclosures were not being made for the majority of transactions for which they were required.”
- The development of best practices approaches is lowering compliance costs and paving the way to greater compliance. The additional two years will facilitate lower costs and higher compliance rates before further expanding the program to smaller buildings.”<
In order to ramp up clean energy production, we have to figure out how to store and transmit it effectively. Companies are experimenting with new tech to figure out the best way to progress.
>”The smart grid energy storage sector is expected to grow to $50 billion by 2020, with an annual compound growth rate of 8%, according to a recent report from Lux Research. In 2013, renewable energy accounted for only 10% of total US energy usage and 13% of electricity generation, according to the US Energy and Information Administration.
But as renewable energy generation rises, transmission and storage advancements will be necessary. Curtailment, the act of spilling renewable energy because there’s more than enough, is one issue to tackle. By changing grid transmission lines in 2010, Texas saw the curtailment in their grid drop from 9% to 4% in 2012, according to a report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The tipping point with energy storage depends on the grid and the technology used, said Sam Jaffe, an analyst at Navigant Research. Some places in the world that have extremely high penetration rates of renewable energy don’t have major problems with wasted renewables. Denmark sends its extra wind power to Sweden and Norway, while importing hydro power from those two countries when the wind isn’t blowing. Denmark’s wind penetration is now at almost 40%.
“That’s because they are interconnected to other grids that have a lot of flexibility to offtake renewable energy,” he said.”<