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Energy Efficiency

Lost Revenue Adjustment; One Patch in the Quilt

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant One Comment
This week, I dive into something I have wanted to know more about for some time: efficiency program funding mechanisms.  This post is based on a recent paper released by ACEEE, Valuing Efficiency: A Review of Lost Revenue Adjustment Mechanisms. Utilities must be allowed to make enough money to draw required investor capital, debt and equity, to fund their operations.  Energy efficiency programs are funded by ratepayers, one way or another – not out of shareholder charity.  All states with programs have some sort of transparent, although usually incomprehensibly confusing, means for cost recovery or lost revenue recovery. Although the ACEEE...
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Code Barriers to Efficiency; Sticking Customers with the Bee Gees

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
Our industry really needs to call timeout; take a look around and ask, “what the hell are we doing?”  Build it [energy program] and they will come?  No.  Build it, and they will be alienated and give it the middle digit. As noted most recently in a post on condensing boilers, I have written extensively about energy codes[1] outstripping the reality of human flaws; specifically, complex design and control sequences that require a 10-year industry expert and a licensed professional engineer to even understand the intent of a vast swath of the code. Another perversion of the incomprehensible mumbo jumbo...
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Relative Humidity, by Socks and Jeans

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Sustainability No Comments
It is mid-June, and strangely here in the northern Midwest we have experienced virtually no warm, humid weather yet this year.  The weather can flip like a switch from a pattern of rain and clouds of the past several weeks to one that is hot and humid with little precipitation.  Now is a good time to talk about relative humidity and moisture. Relative humidity is something everyone knows about but hardly anyone understands.  How many times have you heard “It was 100 degrees with 99 percent humidity?”  I guarantee these conditions are 100% impossible, at least in the ambient[1] outdoors,...
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Tesla Powerwall and the Disruption of Rational Thought

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 3 Comments
Howitzer Explosion Guy.  That was the nickname Wayne Campbell of Wayne’s World gave to Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s correspondent for the Gulf War in 1991.  “Sheeyeeaaah.  I’m so sure.”  “He just made it up for the war.”  Too bad Wayne isn’t still doing his show from his parents’ basement on community access channel 10 in Aurora, Illinois.  I would like his assessment of Elon Musk.  Pierre GQ Manly – like Larry Ellison[1], minus the useful products. One thing is for sure, solar panels of the photovoltaic type are certainly sexier than, oh, a fractionally expensive building surgery that provides equal quantity...
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Condensing Boilers – Test for Show, Ship for Dough

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 4 Comments
Everyone has probably heard at least one hundred or maybe a thousand light bulb jokes – the ones that disparage a class, gender, group, country, state, generation, etc.  The point is to make fun of the group in question because changing a light bulb is so simple, but it takes several doofuses in the disparaged group to do it.  Unfortunately, changing a light bulb is about the only energy retrofit measure that doesn’t get screwed up, usually.  Is this all we are capable of? In the past couple years, I have posted at least four Rants on energy code non-compliance:...
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RFPs, Wind & Participants from Hell; Tales from AESP Spring 2015

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 2 Comments
Last week’s AESP Spring Conference was the best that I can recall, in terms of the content delivered, in my opinion.  Perhaps I got lucky and went to the right presentations.  Perhaps it’s because I went to more presentations than usual.  Most likely it is for another reason, and readers will have to call me for that because it’s an advantage I want to hold among die-hard rant fans. I attended an Espresso Learning Shots discussion led by Laura Orfanedes from Fiveworx.  The topic was requests for proposals (RFPs) from both sides of the fence – from the buyer (utility)...
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Electric Water Heater is to Battery as Heating Fuel is to Furniture

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
Recently, I’ve snagged a number of articles, blogs, and news feeds about the great idea for using electric water heaters as energy storage devices.  E Source even goes so far as to insinuate water heaters are like batteries: “How the Water Heater Just Became a Lean, Mean, Battery-Killin’ Machine”. [vc_single_image image="9600" img_size="full" onclick="link_image"][vc_single_image image="9951" img_size="full" onclick="custom_link" img_link_target="_blank" link="http://www.dickinsoncountynews.com/story/2155879.html"] When I was an impressionable young lad (and much better looking), I recall watching a drama on television.  I am guessing it was Little House on the Prairie.  This particular episode featured a severe winter storm and blizzard.  Around that time we...
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Industrial Energy Efficiency; Bad News for Pimento Loaf

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
The big energy saving opportunities in a building are usually hidden from the unsuspecting field auditor.  The obvious exception is lighting because it isn’t hidden!  The hidden things are what go on behind closed doors in the dark.  Yes, the salacious activity spawned by an out of control brain – the energy management system. Similarly, nuggets flow across my desk, computer screen, and directly from people that feed topics of this Energy Rant.  A few weeks ago, I stumbled onto data confirming my years-old assertion that tight fitting ductwork does not save energy, relative to in situ status quo.  Being...
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Energy Efficiency; Best in Show Pedigree, with a Homely Mutt Impression

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
Energy efficiency gets a bad rap, but I shall attempt to slap some sense into efficiency deadbeats.  I will start by beating the simple-payback-is-bad dead horse one more time.  It may giddyup and run as a result. I am quite certain that one of the things that make investment in energy efficiency the homely mutt of corporate decision making is lack of trust in the savings.  This is why it has always been bogged down with simple payback.  Like, whew, when do I get my money back and break even on this lower-than-penny-stock gamble?  I just want my money out....
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Clean Power Plan Arms Race

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government No Comments
I imagine the EPA is working feverishly on their final ruling for the Clean Power Plan (proposed under the Clean Air Act), due this June.  Meanwhile, many states and one prominent company, Murray Energy, are digging in to do legal battle for decades to come, possibly.  The “possibly” part of that would occur if the Clean Power Plan is upheld by the courts.  That will result in endless litigation.  If it is thrown out, the federal government may have to actually pass laws for once – you know, the political process. Here is the problem with the Clean Air Act:...
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