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energy use Archives - Michaels Energy

Prestige, Not Pain – Efficiency at Home

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
I call your attention to the brilliant marvel of engineering shown in the image below. This model was developed before most of you were born. It is the little diesel engine that could – get 60 mpg, in my second car – a 1984 Ford Escort Diesel. Most people didn’t even know they existed, but as a college sophomore, when I got tired of my crappy, rattling, vibrating, chintzy Mustang, I snapped up this baby for a deep discount from the Billion auto empire in Sioux Falls, SD. [vc_single_image image="14536" img_size="full" onclick="link_image"] There was no air conditioning or power anything,...
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A Possum Bucket of Behavioral Joy

By Energy Rant No Comments
Rant topics come in waves. I have no control over how or when others follow what I’m writing, but when they publish something related, I pounce. We’re bleeding-edge fresh here, so I must respond to ACEEE’s most recent published paper, Reducing Energy Waste through Municipally Led Behavior Change Programs. [vc_single_image image="14281" img_size="medium" onclick="link_image"] This week is not only about behavior, it includes a cornucopia of goodies, like all the Thanksgiving leftovers. At Michaels, we call these goodies, including Jell-O and pie, carefully layered into a repurposed Folgers can, a beloved possum bucket. Strategic layering is crucial for a successful possum...
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Modern Efficiency and the Disappearing Clapping Seals

By Energy Rant One Comment
A couple of weeks ago I was directed to an article in AESP’s[1] magazine discussing ways to improve efficiency program cost-effectiveness.  Although it wasn’t about avoided-cost and benefit-cost tests, it provides good stuff for elaborating in this blog. “Cost effective” in the context of the article means lowering the cost per unit of energy or demand saved.  Certainly, this helps to improve benefit-cost ratios, for most of the convoluted tests, that must have been concocted by graduate students under the influence of mind-altering chemicals.  Boy, do I wish we could dial back forty years so we could simply compare the...
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AMI – Good for Consumers; Good for Utilities

By Energy Rant No Comments
AMI, or advanced metering infrastructure, is rolling out across the land. This opens the door to a lot of cool things, including time of use rates, and it is a great enabler of electrification technologies. I’ve heard from utility executives or people involved with some portion of demand-side management departments within utilities that smart meters are a waste of money. Wow. They are going to be standing at the depot while the electrification train is barreling forward. I will save that topic for another day. Stay tuned. For background, here is a primer on AMI and here is a discussion...
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Getting Personal with Inbound Marketing

By Energy Rant No Comments
I was reading an article recently, and I apologize because I don’t remember what or where it was to share it, but the crux of the article was times have never been better, and the good ole days weren’t so grand. The conveniences of modern life can fill books, but what most people think they despise, actually benefits them. An easy example is profiling via personal internet activity from Google to Amazon, to even your internet service provider. Who doesn’t like autofill provided by Google? What about saving credit card data so I can sit on my bum instead of...
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Business Triangles

Investing in Utilities

By Energy Rant No Comments
Most readers have likely seen the business triangle: cheap, fast, good [or accurate]; pick two. My first emotional reaction to the triangle was that it was something a lazy bum[1] would say. However, as a geezer, I think the law is valid for consulting. I will explain this in a future post. For utilities, it would be something else; maybe cheap, constant, yes. Those are the price, time, and quality attributes of utility delivery. For utilities, the term “constant” represents reliability. The term “yes” represents quality or accuracy. In this case, 60 Hertz and the applicable constant voltage. I explained...
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Holy Cow, Fumble!!!!

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
Yale and Environmental Defense Fund socialites[1] have published an article for Nature  (you can purchase the article with a federally backed low-interest loan or borrowing against the negative equity in your home) indicating that rebound effect is over-hyped.  Rebound, snapback, backfire, fumble, boot, bogey, crash, and other terms are used to describe consumers’ change in behavior to use efficient energy consuming products more because they are cheaper to operate. Sometimes one needs to use perverse reasoning beyond social norms (no not that) to shoot down illogic.  First, consider that behavior change is the golden pinnacle of any energy efficiency portfolio. ...
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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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Strange Magic

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 2 Comments
A few weeks back I came across an energy blogger that referenced a software developer who would do an energy audit via address and energy bills.  Period.  Really? As my roommate and I used to say, “C’mon dude,” as in give me a big fat (or favorite expletive here) break.  We have done the address / energy consumption analysis many times but at MOST, we can do a decent job of benchmarking the facility against comparable ones but even this is difficult.  We can measure the building footprint with satellite images.  Easy.  The challenge is multi-story facilities, and I mean...
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Water-Boarding Over Picasso, Any Day

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Renewable Energy No Comments
I had a really bad week last week – nothing significant occurred to me in the world of EE, and nothing really enraged me or even made me snicker, although I could always rant about federal spending on EE and renewable energy.  Actually, if you are so inclined, Kim Strassel from The Wall Street Journal takes it to Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, if you are interested.  Who would name their kid “Mitt”?  What kind of a name is that?  Is that short for Mitchell?  Mitt for short, with two ts?  Or is it short for Mitten?  Why are there...
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