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BTU Archives - Michaels Energy

STEM

STEM Brilliance for You and Your Kids

By Energy Rant No Comments
It’s been cold here in the Midwest. In ten days in La Crosse, WI, where I am, the average low was -13.7F, average high, 4.3, and the average of averages over the ten days was -4.7F. We smashed one daily record. There have been no all-time lows, but this is a grind. In the middle of this grind,[1] I woke up one morning thinking about greenhouse gases, GHGs. There is very little GHG in this weather because the dominant GHG is water vapor, and below-zero air has almost no capacity to hold water. Then I got to thinking; this is...
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ENERGY STAR Gets it Right – Owners Complain

By Energy Rant No Comments
Show me the money, Jerry! That is what I have to say about building energy performance. I don’t care for bling and doohickeys. What is the bottom line at the meter? I surmise that ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager[1] was conceived and developed with the best of intentions to score and rank buildings, at the meter level, for energy performance considering vast factors including building type, hours of use, climate zone and so on. However, as noted in the Lake Wobegon post a few years ago, not all, but most buildings are above average [sic]. In that case, the average building...
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Lessons from NYC Benchmarking

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff One Comment
New York City recently completed its report for the benchmarking of all its “large” facilities, generally with square footage of 100,000 or greater.  The results of the study are not surprising.  You may be thinking, “Who cares about NYC?”  Answer: this post includes universal challenges with benchmarking whether it’s Batswana or the Yukon. The benchmarking was completed using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, which as far as I can tell ranks buildings by source Btu[1] per square foot, otherwise known as energy intensity.  For example, it uses a factor of 3 for electricity, which is one over the efficiency of delivering electrical...
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GHG and NG

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff One Comment
[vc_single_image image="9413" img_size="full" onclick="link_image"] E Source reported last week that green house gas (GHG) emissions are falling fast in this country, as shown in the chart nearby.  Emissions tanked with the economy in 2009, and as I recall, the summer of 2009 was also cool, resulting in lower electricity sales.  Even so, when adjusted for economic output, GHGs are falling fast. The reason for this is rather obvious if one follows the electricity market.  It is much easier to get a natural gas power plant approved for construction as compared to a coal-fired plant.  I have not done the analysis myself,...
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Misguided Benchmarking

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
Unfortunately, some products and services in life still require cash – coins or paper.  Some of the last places I use these anachronisms include taxis, and… and tips, or an occasional soda machine.  Oh and the beloved antique parking meters and toll roads in some places.  Here is something to consider: if the meter only takes coins, skip it.  You’ll spend $50 of your time finding a few bucks of quarters somewhere and running to the meter every hour or two – all to save a $10 parking ticket. A few times a year when traveling with others, we need...
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Electric Bills and Waldo

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant One Comment
Recently, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy issued a report, “The State of the Utility Bill” and I thought, “now there is a topic for plenty of discussion.”  No, that was no joke, although there was an interesting finding that I found to be very hilarious:  All of the ~100 bills analyzed in the study (100%) included the amount due to the utility from the customer.  I would say not having the amount due would have its disadvantages.  (that WAS a joke) I’ve witnessed and studied many issues regarding end user understanding of energy, energy consumption, and end...
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Biscuit Discipline

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant One Comment
Like any respectable pets, our dogs Bailey and Atlas have us trained, very well.  I roll out of bed on the weekend, slog downstairs to make a strong mug of coffee, light a fire (in the wood stove), sit in my chair to read the paper and then the dogs position themselves in their kennels with their entitlement look.  They were trained since puppyhood to like being in their kennels so when they kennel up, they get a b-i-s-c-u-i-t.  We have to spell certain things out or use aliases to avoid undesired reactions.  For example, we say “There is a...
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