Energy Savings A Bounty!

A new energy-savings standard was established for refrigerators and freezers. The result is a 20 to 25 percent reduction in energy use associated with refrigerators and freezers. What does this mean for consumers? An estimated $215 and $270 on their annual utility bills compared to a refrigerator that just met the first state standards in 1978. The energy-saving targets were effective for manufacturers on Sept. 15, 2014.

How does DOE know what the maximum levels in the standard should be?  All levels should be cost effective at the time.

Do these standards inhibit manufacturers and stagnate technology growth?  Standards are technology neutral so manufacturers are free to innovate and find new ways to achieve higher levels of efficiency and at lower costs.

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Cut the $$ to power furnace fans by ~40%

Did you know that “Furnace fans consume about 1,000 kilowatt-hours per year, or almost 10% of the total electricity use of an average U.S. home.”?  As a comparison, typically a room air conditioner consumes 600kWh per year, a refrigerator is 450kWh per year and a dishwasher is 300kWh per year.  Most residential owners of furnace fans are not aware of this because the fan is a component of a larger system and the associated energy consumption with operating the fan is not monitored.

According to ACEEE, there is a new standard that will take effect in 2019 to address the performance and efficiency of furnace fans. “On a national level, DOE estimates that the new standards will reduce electricity consumption by about 500 billion kilowatt-hours over thirty years of sales, an amount equal to the annual electricity use of about 47 million U.S. households, and will save consumers $29 billion. ” Joanna Mauer, Technical Advocacy Manager

What can be done to meet this new standard?  Well if your existing fan motor is permanent split capacitor type it may be replaced with a brushless permanent magnet (BPM) motors (depending on age, condition, existing wiring).   In addition to improving motors, the standard also includes guidelines on furnace controls: multi-stage or modulating furnaces.   Furnaces are commonly setup for on/off operation which is not optimal for matching the furnace output with the actual demand for heat.  A more efficient method of operation are multi-stage furnaces that generally operate continuously and improve comfort by reducing temperature swings.

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Switching to LEDs, as simple as changing a light bulb?

The Sales pitch:

“XYZ Lamp Company Direct Replacement LED lamps plug right in to existing fluorescent T8 fixtures, so there’s no need to replace your old instant-start ballasts.”

The fine print:

“DOE finding based on careful analysis and testing results from DOE’s CALiPER program, which has systematically benchmark-tested these products with the linear fluorescent lamps they’re designed to replace. The results of that testing have shown that LED T8s produce far less light than the fluorescents they’re intended to replace, out of proportion to the energy savings.”–Jim BrodrickDepartment of Energy

Let’s take a closer look-

  • Direct replacement: Plugs directly into existing fluorescent T8 lamp fixtures

How will they interact with existing fluorescent ballasts?  The savings is strictly the bulb replacement and does not appear to include the ballast factor and wattage of the ballast.  Does the new bulb have a dedicated LED driver to replace the existing ballast?

  • Energy efficient: Cuts energy usage by half compared to fluorescents T8s

However, CALiPER testing reported fixture efficiency was higher with LEDs however, fluorescent fixtures had higher light output and higher overall efficacy for both lensed and parabolic louver troffers.

  • Long lasting: 50,000 hour rated life reduces maintenance costs 

What about end of life lumens? Fluorescent T8s have 92% lumen maintenance at end of life, compared with 70% lumen maintenance typically assumed for LEDs.

  • Beautiful light: 110 degrees of clear, uniform, and flicker-free illumination

Be sure to look at the CCT and CRI values. CALiPER reported “CCT values for most of the LED linear replacement lamps were similar to the fluorescent benchmarks (3200K to 4500K), but several of the LED lamps tested had atypical chromaticities that gave the light a greenish or purplish appearance. The CRI values of the LED products ranged from 63 to 76, with most of them approximating those of lower-quality fluorescent lamps.”

EERE Caliper Study

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DOE announced new efficiency standards for external power supplies

“The efficiency standards established will update 2007 standards for Class A external power supplies to make these components up to 33 percent more efficient. The final rule also establishes efficiency standards for non-Class A external power supplies, which go beyond Class A components to convert to multiple voltages at the same time, output more than 250 watts or provide power to a motor-operated product.”

DOE Building Technologies Office website provides information regarding Direct Operation EPS Standards and Class A EPS Efficiency Standards as well est procedures, waiver, exception and exemption information, statutory authority and historical information.

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A look back at 2013 and looking forward to 2014

A look back at 2013 and looking forward to 2014

“At the macro level, Energy Information Administration data through September of 2013 indicate that both electricity consumption and transportation sector oil use are down relative to the same period in 2011 and 2012. Policies in areas like utility-run energy efficiency programs, equipment and vehicle standards, and investments in alternative transportation infrastructure seem to be having a noticeable effect on electricity and oil consumption.

Looking ahead….Final equipment standards are scheduled for a variety of products including electric motors, commercial refrigeration equipment, and residential furnace fans. DOE and HUD are working on several housing initiatives including new energy standards for manufactured homes, new energy efficiency requirements for federally-backed mortgages, and possibly modifications to mortgage underwriting criteria to include consideration of a home’s energy efficiency. Bipartisan energy efficiency legislation also might move in 2014—efforts are underway to bring an improved bipartisan bill to the Senate floor.” –Steven Nadel

http://www.populusllc.com/energy-efficiency-industry-news/significant-progress-on-energy-efficiency-in-2013-and-2014-could-be-even-better/

ASHRAE Joins Effort To Promote Better Prepared Workforce

“Under DOE leadership, a Board of Advisors has been created for the Commercial Workforce Credentialing Council (CWCC). This Board will be led by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) with the participation of ASHRAE and other credentialing and professional development organizations. They will work to establish a set of voluntary national guidelines to improve the quality and consistency of commercial building workforce credentials.”– Jodi Scott

 

3 New Ways to Learn Building Enclosure Commissioning

“We are making significant progress, and demand for qualified BECx professionals is likely to continue to grow, but perhaps the best advice at this point is:

  • Get as much building science education as you can find.
  • Study the “mother” BECx resource—NIBS Guideline 3—from cover to cover.
  • Get out in the field to gain experience in how building science applies to the design, specification, and construction of high performance buildings.   “—-Peter Yost