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.

 Read More .

 

 

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New York Governor Cuomo’s draft 2014 State Energy Plan

The drafted State Energy Plan is intended to benefit  all New Yorkers. The initiatives stated in the plan include the “focus on improving energy affordability, promoting private sector engagement and financing, and working to bolster our electric grid”.

 in The Grid Optimization Blog explores a number of intiatives within the plan that are based on what he believes is misinformation and not so cut and dry.

 Some examples of Mr. Cordaro points are:

  • The “demand for electricity will ultimately increase”, thus energy efficiency measures can’t offset the increase and NY State will still need to invest in generating resources
  • The amount of in-state sources of power must increase in order to achieve more affordable power in New York in the future
  • Private sector energy financing cannot be successful if the government is “selectively” subsidizing projects

Read More.

Utility Dive’s Electric Utility Survey Results

Utility Dive surveyed over 500 electric utility execs to reveal what they think are the biggest threats and opportunities facing the industry.

Examples of Findings:

  • “95% anticipate that their utility’s regulatory model will change over the next 10 years, and 57% believe it will change significantly.”
  • “70% of utilities already offer or plan to offer dynamic pricing to customers within the next five years.”
  • “54% of utilities say they face stakeholder pressure to supply cleaner and more sustainable energy.”

Read More

Natural gas suppliers unable to meet peak winter loads in NE

“For two days in late January, New England generated nearly one quarter of its electricity using oil, according to the Independent System Operator for New England (ISO-NE).  The icing on the cake is that New England residents had to pay oil-fired power plants a subsidy of about $75 million to ensure those plants bought enough fuel oil to keep the lights on this winter.”– Pentland of Forbes

Read more.

Peak-to-average electricity demand ratio rising

According to US EIA, “the highest peak-hour electric demand for the year in 1993 was 52% above the hourly average level while in 2012 peak-hour demand had risen to 78% above the hourly average level.”

So what does this mean and what are the implications? Well US EIA says:

  • “generators called on to meet peak-hour demand are running fewer hours and/or at lower output levels the rest of the year”
  • “likely cutting into generator revenues and increasing the importance of capacity market payments to generators”

US EIA demonstrates to the reader the changes in hourly demand between 1993 and 2012 using a load duration curve.  Some possible reasons for the change that are discussed in the article are:

  • Lifting peak demand levels in the summer relative to average levels for the year
  • Energy efficient electrical equipment and appliances that reduce average electric demand
  • Shifts to a more service-based economy

 

Check out the Load Duration Curve and Video.

DOE’s Proposed New Electric Motor Standards

“… new motors meeting the proposed standards purchased over the next 30 years will save businesses about $23 billion. Those savings go right to the bottom line, making U.S. industry more competitive. The new standards will also save about a trillion kilowatt hours of electricity. (The U.S. as a whole uses about 4 trillion kWh per year.) Those electricity savings translate to millions of fewer tons of power sector emissions.”– Andrew deLaski