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heat transfer Archives - Michaels Energy

Dig Some Wind – Blown Away by Inversions

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
As children, some engineers liked to take things apart to see how they worked – and maybe even put them back together. That was too much work for me, but I was curious. I would intently watch my Mom as she accelerated the 1970s Ford Galaxy 500[1] down the road. What was she doing to make it shift gears? I had to know! Of course, it was an automatic transmission. Today, I see some scientific claims, and I can’t help myself but to dig in and find the big lie, er, the big why. This week’s adventure started two months...
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Lily

Evaluating Custom Efficiency – The 4D Dysfunction Report

By Energy Rant One Comment
A disturbing trend with custom efficiency is sweeping the industry, and guess what, I’m going to rant all over it like black on my little spazoid Labrador, Lily, aka, Blacky. Michaels is packed to the rafters with engineers who know a thing or two about energy, thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluids – all the building blocks of being an expert in custom efficiency. We know this because our job candidates get an eclectic, off-the-wall quiz when we interview them. Candidates have to leave their props and crutches on the table or in their pockets, exposing only their brain and how...
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Saving Energy, or Not: Mixing Breezes, Ice Blocks, and Toilet Paper

By Energy Rant One Comment
Four years ago, I wrote about a few home energy-saving tips in Refrigerator Sitcoms and Lethal Toaster Ovens. I said I would need to write a series because there are so many, mostly bad, energy saving tips to write about. With four years passing, it is more like a movie sequel than a TV series. Knowing the “why” behind anything helps it stick, like training. Here goes. The Ceiling Fan Famous advice for ceiling fans is to have them move air down (counterclockwise) in summer, and up in winter. A ceiling fan can do two things only. It can generate...
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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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Duct Leakage; The Results Are In

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 5 Comments
About two years ago, I wrote Duct Leakage Chaff, which explained that residential duct leakage is a mole hill, a red herring, a boogeyman.  I recently reviewed a report[1] that nails my assertions from June 2013. The program evaluation (residential HVAC tune-up) was thorough, likely expensive, but worthwhile.  Too often, not just in evaluation, but any professional service industry, contracts go to the low-ball bidder.  The low-ball bidder either uses the tactic because it’s the only weapon they have, they don’t understand the challenge of doing a decent job (ignorance), or providing actionable value simply isn’t that important to them....
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Clean Energy Disconnect Between Say and Do

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
This article, Americans could pay more for clean energy.  But will they really?, from Utility Dive reminds me of my own life experiences with squirrelly people.  They talk a good game, but where is the action?  It also reminds me of the folly in precise net-to-gross, or attribution studies. The article highlights findings of a University of Michigan study regarding consumer concerns over energy prices and the environment.  The findings include: Ninety three percent say energy prices are affordable. The threshold for unaffordable is a 140% increase! Energy markets are inelastic (I said this a long time ago). Self-reported willingness...
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Flying Rodents

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 2 Comments
Before I get to this week’s rant, or I should say, this week’s primary rant, I need to share this with you.  Just before the holidays in Strange Magic,I tore into hands-free energy audit software.  All you need is an address and billing information and voila, there it is; an energy audit that tells you everything you need to know to cut your energy bills by a certain guesstimate. This week I came across an apparent competitor to the one discussed in Strange Magic, so I viewed their online charting and graphics.  They present analysis via bar chart for various...
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EE Ignorance

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Sustainability No Comments
A few years ago I was on a marketing visit to a hospital for non-energy related services and of course I had to work energy efficiency into the conversation.  “So, have you done any energy efficiency upgrades in recent years?”  “Yes we replaced windows in the old section of the facility and installed new boilers.  We’re all set with energy efficiency.” Palm, meet forehead. I could be a lousy salesman but that conversation ended with a pregnant pause.  This was a hospital, probably the most energy intensive type of commercial facility there is, and replacing windows might reduce consumption by...
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Jacque – Fix My Car

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
There is a running joke in our business that electrical engineers don’t know anything about energy efficiency.  It is only a joke.  One of the sharpest energy guys I have interviewed was a physics major who started on the ground floor of an energy efficiency consulting firm filling orders of equipment they also happened to sell.  In 10 years he worked his way up to really understanding how buildings and their complex systems work and he became a manager of a team of energy engineers teaching his group how buildings work and how to model them. This article made laugh...
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