Built in 1928 Chicago Apartment Building Energy Retrofit Achieves EPA Energy Star Certification

To say the 55-unit building in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood was in disarray when it was changing hands in 2009 would be an understatement.

Source: www.chicagotribune.com

>” […] the building is among the first in the Midwest — and only three in Chicago — to achieve the Environmental Protection Agency’s new Energy Star certification for multifamily buildings. Also receiving the designation were two condominium buildings in Chicago, 680 N. Lake Shore Drive and River City, at 800 S. Wells.

[…] Jeffery Parkway also stands as an example of how an older, smaller, affordable apartment building can be made more comfortable for its tenants while saving its owner cash in the long run.

Seeking a neutral third party to help them figure out the entire scope of a rehab project, the Soods obtained a free energy audit of the building and its systems from Elevate Energy, a Chicago-based nonprofit that works with consumers and businesses to improve energy efficiency.

Elevate looks at historical analyses of a building’s energy use and compares it with similar buildings in terms of age and size. Then it performs an on-site performance assessment of the existing heating, cooling and lighting systems and makes recommendations for potential improvements. […]

“The average cost of a retrofit is about $2,500 to $3,000 a unit,” Ludwig said. “We’re not talking about huge-ticket items. A lot of times we are trying to identify the most cost-effective retrofit measures, how can we tighten the building envelope. It doesn’t have to mean a new boiler is going in the basement.”

However, in the case of Jeffery Parkway, it did mean a new steam boiler and new water heaters, among other upgrades.

The project was financially feasible because of a loan from nonprofit Community Investment Corp.’s Energy Savers loan program, which offers a seven-year loan with a 3 percent fixed interest rate for qualified upgrades made to buildings in the seven-county Chicago area and Rockford. […]

“We will cover any of the recommendations that show up in the energy assessment, and we’ll also do other energy-related improvements,” said Jim Wheaton, manager of the Energy Savers program. “This is not a program designed for the North Lake Shore Drive high-rise. It’s designed for buildings affordable for working folks.”

Multifamily buildings receive an Energy Star score of 1 to 100, and those that score above 75 can apply for the certification. Nautilus’ building received a score of 99.

“The savings are tremendous,” Sandeep Sood said. “We were facing, just on the gas bill, a $60,000 bill a year. As of last year, our bill was $18,000. It was an unbelievable savings.” […]”<

See on Scoop.itGreen Building Operations – Systems & Controls, Maintenance & Commissioning

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Scientists Convert Algae into Crude Oil in Less than One Hour

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory engineers a way to turn algae into usable crude oil without a million years wait or harmful and expensive chemicals.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Department of Energy scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory say they’ve reduced nature’s million year process of turning algae into crude oil to one than takes less than an hour. The engineers created a chemical process that produces crude oil minutes after it is poured into harvested algae. The reaction is not only fast, but also continuous since it produces a recyclable by product containing phosphorus that can then be used to grow more algae.   […]

The scientists say with additional conventional refining, the crude algae oil can be converted into a variety of fuels for aviation, gasoline burning cars, or diesel vehicles. Meanwhile, the wastewater can also be used to yield burnable gas or elemental substances like potassium and nitrogen, which, along with the cleansed water, can grow more algae.

The new process promises to reduce time and save money compared to other techniques by combining several chemical steps and skipping the process of drying out the algae. Instead, the new process uses a slurry that contains as much as 80 to 90 percent water while eliminating the need for complex processing solvents like hexane to extract the energy rich oils from the algae. Elliott said in addition to saving time, “there are bonuses, like being able to extract usable gas from the water and then recycle the remaining water and nutrients to help grow more algae, which further reduces costs.”<

See on inhabitat.com

Clean Energy rebranded by DOE to Combined Heat and Power (CHP)

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

In a move that had been in the works for a while, the U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that its Clean Energy Application Centers have been rebranded as CHP Technical Assistance Partnerships, or CHP TAPs.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The CHP TAPs maintain the same regional offices that existed under the former Clean Energy Application Centers:

  1. Pacific (California, Nevada);
  2. Southwest (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Wyoming);
  3. Northwest (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington);
  4. Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota);
  5. Southeast (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee);
  6. Mid-Atlantic (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia); and
  7. Northeast (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont).

With the new energy in these programs, now is the time to take advantage of the expertise offered by the Department of Energy and its CHP TAPs. Industrial users, municipalities, hospitals, college campuses and other large users of energy need to review and understand the significant benefits of CHP, district energy and waste heat capture technologies.<

See on www.natlawreview.com

DOE Regulations: Energy Efficiency Improvements for Motors cause Industry Challenges

See on Scoop.itGreen Building Design – Architecture & Engineering

The United States has had efficiency regulations for industrial electric motors in place since October 1997, when the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct 92) set minimum efficiency levels for 1- to 200-hp general-purpose three phase motors. EPAct 92 was upgraded when the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) went into effect in December 2010.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Several years ago, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) conducted a technical study as to what could be done to raise the efficiency levels of “small” motors. After years of study and litigation, the Small Motor Rule was passed that covers two-digit NEMA frame single- and three-phase 1/3 through 3 horsepower motors in Open enclosures.

Although the Small Motor Rule seems simple, it has the effect of creating motors with much larger footprints, particularly on single phase designs where capacitor start/induction run motors may largely be discontinued in Open enclosures. In some cases, a TEFC motor may be more cost effective and smaller than an Open motor.

The DOE is presently conducting another technical study on “medium” AC induction motors of 1- to 500-hp. In their study, DOE is evaluating a possible increase in nominal motor efficiency of 1 – 3 NEMA bands (approximately 0.4 to 1.5%) above NEMA Premium Efficiency levels as defined in MG 1-2011 table 12-12. Although this sounds simple to do, such a motor redesign could entail new laminations, winding equipment and in many cases, new frames to fit the extra material. Some designs may not fit where existing motor designs of the same ratings fit today. This means that OEMs would need to redesign their machine if that is an issue and end users may have trouble fitting the new higher efficiency replacement motor into their equipment or existing envelope.<

See on www.designworldonline.com

Jobs for the Future: Energy Efficiency creates Employment — ECEEE

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Energy efficiency initiatives create jobs, and normally very good jobs.  Recent analysis shows that between 17 and 19 net jobs can be created for every million euros spent.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Jobs to improve energy efficiency in all end-use sectors are of high value.  Many require technical qualifications, such as engineering or architectural degrees.  Many require re-training from existing jobs. There will be a demand for financial specialists, construction engineers, behaviour specialists, project managers, auditors, data base managers, policy analysts and the like.  And these jobs are available to all, regardless of age or gender.

The hard work of creating these jobs begins once the Directive is finally approved.  The long-term policy framework needs to be in place and the funding and implementation strategy need to be well developed. But in the longer term, opportunity is knocking at the door, and it deserves a welcome mat.<

See on www.eceee.org

Department of Energy – Energy Efficiency Standards Cost Less than Estimated

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Washington, D.C.—A new report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) finds that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has been overestimating the impact that energy efficiency standards for appliances and other products have on their price tags.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Today’s study, entitled Appliance Standards: Comparing Predicted and Observed Prices, looks at nine appliance standards that took effect over the 1998-2010 period and found that DOE overestimated price impacts in every case, usually by a wide margin. ACEEE and ASAP found that across the nine rulemakings, DOE estimated an average increase in manufacturer’s selling price of $148. On average the actual change in price was a decrease in manufacturer’s selling price of $12.

Estimates of the overall benefits of energy efficiency standards for consumers will likely have to be revised as well. In 2012, ACEEE and ASAP released a study estimating that standards for appliances and other equipment would save consumers more than $1 trillion cumulatively by 2035, even after subtracting estimated increases in product prices.

“Energy efficiency standards are proving to be an economic powerhouse, driving even more consumer savings than we realized,” said report co-author and ASAP Executive Director Andrew deLaski.<

See on www.aceee.org

Ethanol critics rev up efforts to repeal biofuel rules on gas

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

The ethanol industry is again under fire from critics who want to eliminate the federal mandate that oil companies blend biofuels into the gasoline supply.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>“There will be a push in our committee by some, Republicans and Democrats, to do away with the RFS, saying that it’s just completely unnecessary today, that we have enough gas and oil, that we just don’t need another fuel source, let alone subsidizing it,” Terry said.

An Environmental Protection Agency analysis found that the renewable fuel requirements will displace billions of gallons of petroleum-based fuel consumption, reduce domestic motor fuel prices and increase U.S. farm income. But it also found the potential for higher food prices.

In 2000, ethanol accounted for about 6 percent of the nation’s corn crop. Last year, it accounted for 40 percent of the corn crop.

That’s why the standard’s critics include the grocery industry and some livestock producers that want cheaper grain to feed their animals.<

See on www.omaha.com

Lawmakers float renewable energy finance bill – The Hill’s E2-Wire

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

A bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers revived legislation Wednesday that aims to spur renewable energy investment through federal tax code tweak. Lawmakers unveiled the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act — spearheaded in the Senate by Sens.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

The bill would extend master limited partnerships to renewable energy projects ranging from wind power to energy efficiency. Currently, only oil-and-gas projects can use the financing mechanism.

“This market-driven solution supports the all-of-the-above energy strategy we need to power our country for generations to come. Our legislation will unleash private capital, create jobs and modernize our tax code,” Coons said in a statement.

See on thehill.com

Lithium-polysulfide “Flow” battery helps solar and wind power the grid

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have managed to design a low-cost, long-life battery that could enable solar …

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

The new Stanford/SLAC battery design uses only one stream of molecules and does not need a membrane at all. Its molecules mostly consist of the relatively inexpensive elements lithium and sulfur, which interact with a piece of lithium metal coated with a barrier that permits electrons to pass without degrading the metal.

When discharging, the molecules, called lithium polysulfides, absorb lithium ions; when charging, they lose them back into the liquid. The entire molecular stream is dissolved in an organic solvent, which doesn’t have the corrosion issues of water-based flow batteries.

“In initial lab tests, the new battery also retained excellent energy-storage performance through more than 2,000 charges and discharges, equivalent to more than 5.5 years of daily cycles,” Cui explained.

See on www.tgdaily.com

Waste and Recycling Industry – Landfill Gas Collection Almost 50% of Renewable Energy Supply USA

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The waste and recycling industry is continuing to reduce its release of greenhouse gases — even as waste volumes increase, according to the latest greenhouse gas inventory released by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

Despite the fact that we are landfilling 6 percent less than 20 years ago, we have greatly improved our ability to reduce methane emissions. As a result, these emissions declined by 30 percent during the same period. This has happened as a result of converting methane to energy, flaring of methane emissions and oxidation techniques.

There are 594 landfill gas-to-energy sites in the United States that generated 1,813 megawatts (MW) of energy and 312 million standard cubic feet a day (mmscfd) of gas. This is enough energy to directly power 1 million homes and heat 729,000, respectively.

Methane gas collected at landfills is used to power home, businesses and government facilities across the nation. Some of it is even used to fuel garbage trucks. Landfill-gas-to-energy projects and other forms of biomass-derived energy make up the almost half of the nation’s renewable energy supply, almost the same amount as is derived from solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower combined.

See on online.wsj.com