Advanced Controls for Rooftop Units Pays Back

A year-long study conducted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of rooftop packaged HVAC equipment at malls, hospitals and other buildings in the USA found, “Commercial buildings could cut their heating and cooling electricity use by an average of 57 percent with advanced energy-efficiency controls”.

The main goal of the campaign, http://www.advancedrtu.org, is to encourage installation of advanced controls for rooftop HVAC units.  PNNL has created a table with typical HVAC unit sizes, operational characteristics and costs to help building owners “weigh the costs” of advanced controls.  For instance building owners could achieve a 3 year payback with an installation of a unit that is 15 tons or less and electricity costs are greater than or equal to 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.

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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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400 kilowatt-hour array of CellCube vanadium redox flow batteries at MTA’s new facility

Recently in the news New York has been seen as the next big U.S. market for grid-scale energy storage.   One of the biggest NYC energy storage projects to date is a 400 kilowatt-hour array of CellCube vanadium redox flow batteries  in downtown Manhattan. The CellCube, built by Germany’s Gildemeister and brokered by Canadian partner American Vanadium is the first U.S. installation of its kind.

So you may be asking what are the benefits of such an energy storage project? Well according to the CEO of American Vanadium:

“The prime is how these batteries can help customers make money by flattening their peak load curves,” –Bill Radvak, CEO of American Vanadium.

Another question that comes to mind is how are these batteries different from others used in energy storage?

According to CellCube the redox flow batteries is “one of the few currently cost-effective options for storing energy for multiple hours in a row”.

Is this feasible in commercial buildings where they have to shave peak load at buildings?

How does the utility company perceive energy storage and its ability to help balance the grid at times of stress and congestion?

Lastly, could this technology back up critical facilities such as hospitals during another hurricane like Sandy in 2012?

Read more  GreentechMedia article.

City to Fit All Streetlights With Energy-Saving LED Bulbs

“The news conference was on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, where lights have already been replaced, expecting to save more than $70,000 and nearly 248,000 kilowatt-hours a year in energy. Unlike standard lights, which last six years, LED bulbs can burn for 20 years before they need to be replaced, the administration said, and the project is expected to save $14 million a year in energy and maintenance costs.”–By 

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