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Is Energy Recovery Always Good? No.

By Energy Rant No Comments
Last week we introduced exergy and at least one application of it in a building. First, let me make something very clear, for the refrigeration cycle, if I’m cooling beer or freezing leftovers, the heat that is sucked out of those masses is rejected somewhere else. For refrigerators and freezers, it is rejected to the room in which they exist. For air conditioning, most commercial refrigeration, and all industrial refrigeration, it is rejected outside – unless, it is captured for useful heating. Commercial HVAC For commercial HVAC, if CONsultants don’t think holistically about the entire heating and cooling needs, and...
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Commercial Code Compliance and New Construction Program Failures

By Energy Rant 3 Comments
Earlier this year, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey of 2012. The prior release was 2003. The data do not paint a pretty picture for energy code effectiveness. Other data we are accumulating indicate new construction programs are failing to deliver. Regress At first glance, it seems substantial progress may have been made between 2003 and 2012. The first chart is from the EIA website. As EIA states, “the only statistically significant changes since 2003 are for office buildings, education buildings, and commercial buildings overall.” That is weak, especially considering that the data cover all...
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Voter Support for Efficiency = Metal to the Pedal, Thing to the Floor

By Energy Rant One Comment
It may be that I pay more attention compared to several years ago, but there seems to be a lot of churn in energy efficiency policy today. Some states, particularly those with a short track record in efficiency, are getting squeamish or have backed off. These include Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and Michigan. With excess capacity, we have utilities, and in some cases their political (money) support against intervenors, and that is a fairly weak position for efficiency in some states, including some of those just listed. There is nothing better for our industry than the need to build power plants...
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Energy Program Evaluation, Not Activism

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 4 Comments
In my day, we didn’t have peewee soccer, football, gymnastics, or tee-ball.  We had to improvise and make up game rules to play two-on-two football.  We had no gear; not even the cheap plastic crap from Sears.  We set the lawn mower as low as it would go to cut the sidelines and goal lines and made up the rules as we went.  We were a bunch of hayseeds throwing a rubber football around, inflicting bone-on-bone pain to each other, pretending to be in the NFL – and we liked it! This may sound like the Grumpy Old Man, but...
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The More You Spend, The More You Save

By Energy Rant, LEED, Retrocommissioning (RCx) 2 Comments
Talk about an oxymoron.  Years ago this was a favorite saying of my roommate and I as we lambasted dopey ads on TV, on paper, or over the airwaves. Fewer years ago, once I got into this energy efficiency profession, I was speaking with a utility energy-efficiency program guy who frequently interacts with regulators.  This was during a stakeholder meeting for quantifying energy saving potential by sector and by technology.  (technology = lighting, furnaces, chillers, etc.)  Knowing buildings systems rarely work as they are supposed to, I asked, “Have you considered retrocommissioning (RCx) as an energy efficiency program?”  His answer...
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