Madrid upgrades with World’s largest street lighting project

To support its ambition of becoming a Smart City, the Spanish capital, Madrid, is embarking on the world’s largest street lighting upgrade project. Philips is providing the city’s government with 225,000 new energy-efficient lights for the renewal of the entire street lighting system.


>”The products, which deliver 44% in energy savings, will finance the cost of the technology upgrade, providing Madrid with the best quality of street lighting for a brighter, safer and ‘smarter’ city at no additional cost to its citizens. The project has been conducted in collaboration with ESCO energy service companies hired by the Madrid city council through a public bidding process. […]”<

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Energy Efficiency Development and Adoption in the United States for 2015

The US wastes about 61% of the energy we produce — much of it due to how we generate, transmit, and distribute it.

mage Source:

>” […] Energy efficiency, simply put, is using less energy to get the same output or value. Ways of being more energy efficient include using appliances that use less energy or reducing air leakage from our homes and buildings. Programs to increase energy efficiency date back to the energy crises of the 1970s, and continue to be hugely successful today.

Take Michigan for example, where recent data from the Public Service Commission show that the $253 million Michigan utilities spent on energy efficiency programs in 2013 will yield a $948 million return in savings in the coming years. That’s an excellent investment, no matter who you talk to. And Michigan is by no means an anomaly.

We’ve seen states throughout the country see the same kinds of positive returns for their investments in energy efficiency, which continues to prove itself the cheapest “fuel” — investments in energy efficiency per unit of energy output are less costly than both traditional fossil fuels and clean renewable fuels.

Energy efficiency programs are administered by utilities, state agencies, or other third parties, and typically funded by modest charges on ratepayers’ energy bills. While some worry that this causes energy bills to go up, they also cause energy costs to go down, as widespread efficiency upgrades decrease the demand for energy across the state or the utility’s service area, reducing consumer costs. And the customers who participate directly in the programs reap the biggest savings.

It’s a wonder not all states are investing in these kinds of innovative, proven programs. But much of the resistance can be attributed to low energy prices and a lack of political will to charge customers a bit more, even if it does mean big returns. With energy prices steadily rising, such programs will become increasingly attractive to utility regulators and customers. Even historically lagging states like Arkansas and Kentucky are starting to jump on the energy efficiency bandwagon.

No matter where we live or what our personal circumstances are, there’s always room to make changes to improve our energy consumption, whether we make a big investment like installing better insulation, or small simple changes like turning down the thermostat a few degrees in the winter.

As we think about what changes we’re planning to make in 2015, we can look internally at how to reduce energy waste in our own homes and workplaces, as well as help our neighborhoods, communities, and local and state governments make informed decisions to invest in energy efficiency. Even as our energy starts coming from cleaner sources across the country, we can do our part to reduce waste in the energy we already generate — and efficiency is the quickest and cheapest place to look.”<

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The Ripple Effect of Energy Efficiency Investment

“The term “multiple benefits” has emerged to describe the additional value that emerges with any energy performance improvement. The benefits that occur onsite can be especially meaningful to manufacturing, commercial, and institutional facilities. Energy efficiency’s positive ripple effects include increased productivity and product quality, system reliability, and more. ”



>” […]  Over the past few decades, researchers have documented numerous cases of energy efficiency improvements—almost always focusing exclusively on energy savings. Non-energy benefits are often recognized, but only in concept. ACEEE’s new report, Multiple Benefits of Business-Sector Energy Efficiency, summarizes what we know about the multiple benefits for the business sector. True quantification of these benefits remains elusive due to a lack of standard definitions, measurements, and documentation, but also in part because variations in business facility design and function ensures that a comprehensive list of potential energy efficiency measures is long, varied, and often unique to the facility.

To give some concrete examples of non-energy benefits at work: Optimizing the use of steam in a plywood manufacturing plant not only reduces the boiler’s natural gas consumption, it also improves the rate of throughput, thus increasing the plant’s daily product yield. A lighting retrofit reduces electricity consumption while also introducing lamps with a longer operating life, thus reducing the labor costs associated with replacing lighting. In many instances, monitoring energy use also provides insights into water or raw material usage, thereby revealing opportunities to optimize manufacturing inputs and eliminate production waste. By implementing energy efficiency, businesses can also boost their productivity. This additional value may make the difference in a business leader’s decision to pursue certain capital investment for their facility.

Meanwhile, energy resource planners at utilities and public utility commissions recognize the impact of large-facility energy demands on the cost and reliability of generation and transmission assets. By maximizing consumer efficiency, costs are reduced or offset throughout a utility system. So the ability to quantify the multiple benefits of investing in energy efficiency, if only in general terms, is an appealing prospect for resource planners eager to encourage greater participation in efficiency programs.

Unfortunately, our research shows that this quantification rarely happens, even though the multiple benefits are frequently evident. A number of studies offer measurement methodologies, anticipating the availability of proper data. When these methodologies are employed with limited samples, we see how proper accounting of non-energy benefits dramatically improves the investment performance of energy efficiency improvements—for example, improving payback times by 50% or better. Samples may provide impressive results, but the data remains too shallow to confidently infer the value to come for any single project type implemented in a specific industrial configuration. Developing such metrics will require more data.  […]”<


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Concentrated Solar Power Projects in 2014

“It was a good year for solar power in the USA, with over six gigawatts of photovoltaic (PV) capacity and more than one gigawatt of concentrated solar power (CSP) being added in 2014, bringing the nation’s total solar power capacity to more than 17 gigawatts. That’s a 41% increase in solar power capacity in just one year…”  Source:

>” Photovoltaic vs Concentrated Solar Power

Photovoltaic technology converts light directly into electricity. PV panels produce DC, which needs to be converted to AC before being placed on the grid. PV panels work best in direct sunlight when they’re pointed perpendicular to the sun’s rays, but they also work reasonably well in diffuse light, even when not pointed directly at the sun. This makes them inexpensive and suitable for rooftops, since solar tracking isn’t required. PV also works in climates that aren’t particularly sunny; Germany gets less sunlight than the northern US, and yet it has a large portion of its power generated by PV.

Concentrated solar power, on the other hand, requires direct sunlight and solar tracking. CSP focuses the sun’s energy and uses the resulting heat to create steam that drives a traditional turbine generator. Even better, the heat can be stored – usually in the form of molten salts – so the CSP plant can generate electricity even when the sun isn’t shining. Because CSP relies on direct sunlight, it’s most suitable for very sunny locations like the American southwest.  […]

US Concentrated Solar Power in 2014

These five major CSP plants went online in 2014 (give or take a few months – one went live in late 2013):

Gila Bend, AZ is the home of the Solana parabolic trough power plant, which provides 250 MW of power to residents of Arizona. The turbine It went live in October of 2013. Spanning 1920 acres, the solar farm includes over two million square meters of reflective troughs and two tanks of molten salts, which provide up to six hours of thermal energy storage. If the stored energy is depleted and the sun isn’t shining, the turbine can be powered by natural gas as a backup.

The Genesis power plant in Blythe CA generates 250 MW of power using a parabolic trough array consisting of more than half a million mirrors. Unlike the Solana plant, Genesis includes no storage or backup fuel. Brought online in April of 2014, designers expect it to generate about 600 GWh of energy each year.

Probably the most famous CSP plant in the US, and the largest of its kind in the world, is the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in Ivanpah Dry Lake CA, about 50 miles south of Las Vegas NV. Its three power towers fired up in February 2014, and the facility now produces 377 MW of power. Its annual production is expected to exceed one terawatt-hour. Ivanpah includes natural gas as its backup, but has no on-site storage.

About 270 miles northwest of Ivanpah is the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Tonopah, NV. Originally planned to go online in late 2014, the start date has been pushed back to January of 2015. When operational, this 110 MW power tower should produce nearly 500 GWh per year. Crescent Dunes uses molten salt to store heat, allowing it to generate power for ten hours without sunlight.

The Mojave Solar One facility came online in late 2014 and now generates 250 MW of electricity. Located about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles CA, this parabolic trough array feeds a pair of 125 MW steam turbine generators. The plant should produce about 600 GWh per year. […]”<



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Building Recommissioning: Recertifying To LEED Platinum EB+OM

The facilities management director for Armstrong World Industries shares insights into the company’s LEED Platinum recertification pursuit.


>” […] Q: When the LEED recertification process began for the Armstrong Headquarters facility (Building 701), how did you and the rest of the team begin evaluating the status of the building, in terms of its readiness to be re-certified?

A: Since our initial certification in 2007, we had established specific policies/procedures to follow for the building.  We had these in place so it was more a matter of reviewing what information was needed and fine tuning some of our data processes.  We continue to utilize our building automation system (Johnson Controls Metasys) for controlling all of our building systems and collect much of our operational data through that system. During our performance period, we read our data points on a more frequent basis to understand if systems were operating as designed. If readings were off, metrics signaled a physical change to be made to improve operations and data.

One surprise to our team was our Energy Star score.  We realized we had some searching to do when we saw that our building score had dropped below the 90’s where it had been in 2012. However, to recertify and meet the prerequisite for the E&A category, our Energy Score needed to be 70, and we met that.

In short, our recommissioning process helped us pinpoint many opportunities for improving building operations.

Q: For the recertification, which systems or strategies were newly introduced to the facility?

A: As a building owner, you are always thinking about improving building operations along with budgeting dollars to make the changes. Items that were budgeted for 2014 that were included in our building recertification included: a new roof with an SRI (Solar Reflectance Index) of 78; LED lamp replacements in the lobby; and electrical sub-meters for building lighting.

One other item that was completed in 2010 after electrical deregulation was daylight housekeeping. We traditionally did our housekeeping from 5 pm to midnight. However, as we reviewed our electrical costs and determined a savings opportunity, we moved to daytime hours for cleaning. This saved Building 701 approximately $750 weekly in energy costs. We implemented daylight housekeeping across the entire corporate campus, saving the company $150,000 annually in energy costs.

Q: What is the most challenging aspect of running a LEED Platinum facility? And what is most rewarding?

A: The most challenging aspect of operating and maintaining a LEED- EBOM facility is making sure you have qualified and trained technicians to understand and manage the building operations.

The most rewarding aspect is meeting with customers and guests to discuss the sustainable characteristics of the building and thinking about what to budget for in the upcoming year to improve overall building operations and maintenance to reduce costs. […] “<

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