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natural gas consumption

Saving Energy – Lessons in Self Improvement

By Energy Rant One Comment
Last week in Behavior Freak, we explored the ratio of energy savings to beer consumption at the Delta house (answer = χ/∞ = 0 ). Specifically, that post explained why college students’ only motivation to save energy is currency, and absent currency, the needle does not move. This week we explore more interesting behavioral success with commercial building actors, also operating under no specific personal monetary drivers. The secret ingredient: timely, useful information, and maybe a little human nature – energy management success or failure for large office building facility operators. This post is based on a paper presented by Buildings…
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Benchmarking Flaws and Best Practices; Pot Growers Discover Sunshine

By Energy Rant No Comments
The City of Chicago recently issued its annual report on commercial building benchmarking. I pick on Chicago because (1) its upper-Midwest location has a climate like that of many of our readers, and (2) because it uses ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, which I addressed several times before. With Portfolio Manager, everybody seems to get a trophy, and results are troublesome to me. Also, for reference, I published this post last fall, pointing out the failures of energy codes to move the energy intensity needle. Using data from the Energy Information Administration, that post showed that buildings built in the past…
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Electricity from Natural Gas – The Game Changer; I’ll Say!

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
Last week, I mentioned that having a diversified fleet of power generating plants is a smart strategy for any utility; specifically, diversity by fuel source.  The recent natural gas bonanza cut loose with the perfection of hydraulic fracturing and mind-blowing drilling capability (vertical a few thousand feet, then horizontal a few thousand feet) has unleashed a fury of kneejerk policy and utility strategy changes. As is common with the Energy Rant, Jeff says, not so fast.  It isn’t that easy.  There are consequences and major challenges with racing down this road without thinking.First we have the federal government (the EPA)…
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Decoupling – A Love Story

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff 2 Comments
Perhaps I am naïve, but to be more effective it seems interveners would do well to understand motives of profit-driven enterprises and their customers.  Consider, for example, this recent article in Midwest Energy News lamenting CenterPoint Energy’s withdrawal from decoupling.  You may recall a post I made eons ago where I described the perverse impact of decoupling on prices for consumers.  Allow me to recap. Utilities have fixed cost of hardware and labor to deliver energy to customers – poles, wires, pipes, transformers, compressors, trucks, etc.  This stuff makes up the rate base and fixed cost of energy delivery.  They…
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