The Use Of Appliances With Energy Efficiency Check Business Electricity Prices

Electricity is no doubt consumed at incredible rate in manufacturing industries, commercial sectors and business hubs. Over consumption of electricity adds to their overall operation costs. Energy efficiency should be among their must-to-dos to reduce production cost and raise the level of profitability. Being ignorant of the benefits of energy efficiency, commercial sectors keep no curb on the use of electricity. There are several ways to keep electricity consumption in check and reduce business electricity prices.

Some facts are there to consider while shopping for electronics goods. Make sure to look for electronics devices that are labeled by an energy saving body. Such products are preferable for their limited absorption of electricity. Check the logo of the energy saving body on the products as the logo is a proof of authenticity of the products.

Integrated electronic appliances are energy-saving products. They are available in a wide variety. Integrated gadgets are highly recommended to use in day-to-day life as they consume less energy than other electronics goods. Hence, they cost less for energy consumption. Their use in business hubs is sure to keep business electricity prices at bay. With an in-built CD player or DVD player, a TV ensures energy efficiency more than a TV with a separate CD or DVD player.

Household and business electronics goods come with energy-saving features. Several appliances are available with an option of automatic standby. Such appliances when not in use, automatically shift to standby mode. An appliance consumes less energy in standby mode than on full power. It is the wise of you to purchase such appliances for use.

The degree of energy consumption by TVs varies with their types. So choose the type of television that ensures energy efficiency. A flat screen television needs three times more energy than a regular model. Choose a flat screen TV set of LCD type as it retains greater energy efficiency than plasma TVs. Do not forget to check the level of energy consumption and the rate of energy efficiency with every electronics product before making a purchase. It is sure to restrain the rise of business electricity prices . Appliances are available with a guide on how to use them.

Lessons Learned From A Failed Energy Efficiency Project

INTRODUCTION
You would think that energy efficiency is relatively simple: perform an energy audit, install the retrofits and then reap the energy savings. Unfortunately, it doesn”t always work that way. We performed an energy assessment of several stores of a major retail chain in the San Francisco Bay Area and identified a handful of low-cost retro-commissioning measures that had very promising potential. We quantified the expected savings and costs and returned after the project was installed. We then measured the savings using various methods and found either minimal or negative savings. The problem we discovered was that on nearly every measure, the contractors had repaired the hardware, but through various means had ensured that energy savings would not occur. This paper provides an account of the failed project at one store and the steps we took to remedy it. Specifically, this paper stresses the importance of Measurement and Verification and Commissioning of the retrofits.

DESCRIPTION OF THE BUILDING
The store, located in San Francisco, belongs to a well-known national retailer, whose name we will not divulge. The store is an aggregate of 3 buildings which have been joined together to comprise almost 1,000,000 square feet, of which over half is selling floor. Stock rooms and offices comprise the remainder of the space. The different buildings range between 8 and 11 stories tall.

The three buildings comprising the store were built at different times from the 1920s to the 1980s. Originally the buildings had different air handling, chilled water and hot water systems. Over the years, through energy conservation and facility improvement measures, the chilled water systems have been merged into one system.

There were no operating boilers in the store. Steam is provided to the store by an external vendor. Hot water is supplied to multi-zone air handling units and perimeter reheats in some areas of the store via heat exchangers.
There is one common cooling plant which houses two 500 ton centrifugal chillers (2004) which run all year. Chilled water is supplied to the Air Handling Units (AHUs) via primary/secondary chilled water loops. During the hottest months, both chillers run at around 90% full load””this happens about 5 days/yr. During the cooler months, one chiller runs at about 40% full load. If you have been to San Francisco you probably know that even in summer a typical day only reaches about 60 degrees . A properly designed and operating building in San Francisco should not need mechanical cooling most of the year, instead relying upon outside air to meet its cooling needs. This was obviously not the case .

A utility bill analysis identified an out of control building. Figure 1 presents twelve months of average usage per day versus average outdoor temperature. Each point represents a billing period. The superimposed red line represents the statistically insignificant trend. The lack of clear trend indicates that the building is either haphazardly controlled or that energy use varies due to some other variable. We believe mostly the former. During warmer periods (which are not that warm) the store uses more energy, indicating a variable cooling load based upon weather conditions. (An ideal system that uses outside air whenever possible should show a horizontal trend in this 48 to 66 degree temperature range.)

There are over fifty AHUs: a mixture of single zone, multi-zone, and variable air volume units. Each of the three sections contains different types of AHUs.
Electricity Costs for the store were over $2.5M per year. With the economic collapse in the fall of 2008, smart retailers were looking to cut costs wherever possible. One line item that could be cut was utilities. Saving 10% or more could add at least $250,000 to the bottom line.

BACKGROUND OF THE UTILITY PROGRAM
There may be several reasons why California uses less than 50% per capita of the energy than the rest of the country, but one major reason is the aggressive effort of the California Public Utilities Commission to cut energy usage. Commercial ratepayers of the investor owned utilities pay a fee in their utility bills that funds energy efficiency programs. These funds are then channeled to the investor owned utilities to promote energy efficiency. These utilities have over one hundred targeted programs aimed at different vertical markets such as: wineries, retail, hospitals, supermarkets, etc. Often these programs will include free energy audits or retro-commissioning services in conjunction with generous incentives to implement energy efficiency measures. In some cases, the utilities will pay for up to 100% of the cost for implementing the measures. The utilities administer some programs directly and outsource others. The outsourced programs are designed and administered by third party energy consultants.

Quantum Energy Services & Technologies, Inc. (QuEST), an energy consulting firm headquartered in Berkeley, administers a retail program for PG&E which covers the San Francisco Bay Area. This program offers retailers free retro-commissioning studies along with incentives to implement energy conservation measures found. The utilities give incentives to the building owners based upon the amount of energy saved. But in order for energy savings to be recognized by PG&E, these savings need to be measured and verified and then the savings calculations must pass a review by third party reviewers. Nobody gets paid if the work does not pass the third party review. The third party review process is necessary to prevent false claims of savings, or gaming of the system. The reviewers can be tough and require all assumptions to be documented and based upon published standards or guidelines. The drawback of third party review is that some measures are dropped as the Measurement and Verification (M&V) costs would be prohibitively expensive.

QuEST retained our company as a subcontractor to help out with the retail program. Our company performed Retro-Commissioning (RCx) services on 8 stores belonging to this unnamed retailer, and this paper is about one of the stores. However, the same story occurred at most of the stores. It wasn”t one failure, but many.

A NOTE ON THE LEVEL OF RCx RIGOR
RCx is different from energy auditing in that RCx typically involves a more detailed study of the building”s control systems and HVAC systems than energy audits. In addition, RCx typically focuses on repairing, recalibrating and reprogramming, rather than procuring new equipment. Simple paybacks for RCx projects typically are under 2 years. Examples of RCx measures are: repairing inoperable equipment, programming controls, demand control ventilation, and calibrating temperature sensors. Examples of energy audit measures (which are not considered RCx measures) are: installing energy efficient chillers, boilers or package units, converting single zone HVAC systems to variable air volume systems, and installing EMS systems. Energy audit measures often are more expensive and may have longer paybacks. On the other hand, true RCx studies are much more detailed, and thus much more expensive to conduct than energy audits. RCx studies usually involve data logging, functional testing of controls, operator training and post implementation commissioning which repeats much of the data logging and functional testing that was previously done. RCx is criticized by some as too heavy on the analysis, as it can require hundreds of hours of work just to perform the study, whereas energy audits consume much less labor.

In order to make the most efficient use of ratepayer dollars, in QuEST”s RCx program the amount of engineering time was scaled down to minimize the time spent on work that does not directly lead to energy savings. Rather than write commissioning plans, and 100-page Master List of Findings reports, the interim deliverable is instead an Excel workbook that describes the measure, states all assumptions and measured values, and calculates the savings. Equipment is data-logged or trended before and after the implementation of the measures. Calculations are made in Excel so they can be verified by third party reviewers. Written reports come later, but are less extensive than typical RCx reports.

ONSITE INVESTIGATION
Two engineers spent 3 days onsite examining the store”s mechanical systems, uncovering problems, and identifying RCx Measures. Our work to this point was nearly identical to an energy audit.
Once the RCx Measures were identified, the list of RCx Measures was given to the customer who then decided which of them should be pursued. The list also was approved by the third party reviewer.

MEASURES FOUND
We found the store could save about $300,000 in both RCx and Retrofit Measures, which, with incentives offered a simple payback of less than six months. That is 12% of their energy spend. The following measure types were identified and approved by all parties:

Retrofit Measures
1.Install Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) on Multi-Zone Air Handling Units (AHUs).
2.Installation of VSDs on secondary chilled water loops.
RCx Measures
1.Repair economizer control on some air handlers. Many outside air dampers were rusted in place. A two by six was used to prop one open.
2.Repair a small number of faulty VSDs, some of which were in bypass running at 100% fan speed.
3.Reconnect static pressure lines. Some VSDs were running at full speed because the lines running to the static pressure sensors in the ducting had been previously destroyed by contractors.
4.Repair/Replace stuck chilled water valves. These valves were cooling whether the AHUs called for cooling or not. As a result, sales floor temperatures ranged from 62 degrees to 70 degrees.
5.Connect some AHUs to the Energy Management System. These AHUs were running wild and had no control at all.

DATA LOGGING
Once the measures were selected by the customer, QuEST engineers placed data loggers to measure pre-implementation temperatures and power. Temperatures measured included Outside Air Temperature (OAT), Return Air Temperature (RAT), Mixed Air Temperature (MAT) and Supply Air Temperature (SAT). Fan Motor kW were also logged for those units on VSDs. Spot measurements were taken of Fan Motor kW for AHUs that were not on VSDs.

SAVINGS CALCULATION
Energy savings were estimated using bin data simulations. Like-type AHUs were combined. Special care was taken in calculating energy savings to ensure that savings were not double-counted. Each energy conservation measure was modeled assuming the prior measures were already implemented. We integrated the interval data that we collected into the bin data simulations. To do this, we created regressions of our variables (RAT, MAT, SAT, kW) versus OAT. These regressions were used to project RATs, MATs, SATs and kW for other outdoor air temperatures that were not included in our sample.

INSTALLATION
Once we had estimated savings using our bin simulation models and provided measure costs, the customer decided which measures to implement. They then hired contractors to implement the measures. VSDs were installed and repaired, economizer dampers repaired, AHUs connected to the EMS system, etc.

M&V PROVES NO SAVINGS
Once the implementation was completed, QuEST engineers returned to the site and again data logged the same temperatures and power as before. The resulting data, RATs, MATs, SATs and kWs, was again regressed against OAT. Using the regression, RATs, MATs, SATs, and kW values were again extrapolated and placed into the bin simulations.

The resulting calculations demonstrated the unthinkable. Not only were the energy conservation measures we had recommended not saving energy, the affected systems at the store were using more energy than before! Actually, this could be seen from just looking at the interval data. It was obvious that the economizers and variable speed drives were not working as intended. The “repaired” economizers were letting in less outside air than before, and the variable speed drives were still commanding the fans to run at a constant load, but at a higher speed than before.

QuEST alerted the customer that their investments were not saving energy. Facility personnel then investigated the problems, found them, and corrected them.

Even though the contractors had made the economizers operational (as opposed to frozen), the damper actuators were not calibrated correctly. When dampers needed to be fully open, they were not. When dampers needed to be at minimum position, they were not. The variable speed drives were also installed incorrectly. Some wiring and controls issues were resolved and the units started operating as expected. Once these issues were resolved, M&V was performed again. We repeated the data-logging and placed this information into our bin simulations, and again projected the annual savings.
There are many ways energy efficiency projects can go wrong.

“Faulty recommendations
“Poor implementation
“Untrained staff who compromise all the energy conservation measures undertaken

Faulty recommendations may arise from a lack of understanding of how systems operate or should operate. Years of experience, and a good understanding of physics and control theory is necessary to make sound recommendations.

Poor implementation has many causes, but often can be traced to the mindset that having the right equipment will make the difference. But as the lessons learned here illustrate, installing the right hardware is only half the solution. It needs to be integrated into the system and operate according to a logical and beneficial sequence of operations.

The last item is especially troublesome because it is so common. Even if the right hardware is installed and controls optimized, small changes to the sequence of operations made to “fix” local problems may have large consequences on overall system performance over time. Changing supply air temperatures at the air handler to resolve hot or cold complaints may upset the balance of the system and cause problems elsewhere. Professors at Texas A&M University have pointed out that in the absence of continuous monitoring, a building”s performance will fall to the level of the least-trained operator within two years.

HOW TO AVOID FAILED ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROJECTS
There are a couple of ways to avoid projects that fail to produce savings. After equipment is installed, it needs to be commissioned by a third party, not the contractor who implemented the ECMs. Commissioning can be expensive, but it is worth it. However, just because the equipment has been deemed operational by the commissioning agent, that doesn”t mean it is saving what was expected. Commissioning will tell you if the equipment is working as it should. To determine if you are actually saving what was expected, M&V needs to be done on the building. Although M&V can appear as a waste of money to some, it caught this disaster before it was too late.

Unfortunately, building owners often value engineer commissioning and M&V out of their projects and leave themselves open to big disappointments in their energy efficiency projects. M&V is like insurance””sure, it costs money up front, but the reassurance of knowing the project is done correctly should be worth far more than the initial outlay. What other product would you purchase without verifying that you actually received what you paid for? Why should energy efficiency be any different?

CONCLUSION
Unfortunately, energy efficiency isn”t as simple as we would wish. Energy consultants may deliver quality energy audits and RCx studies, but merely implementing sound energy efficiency recommendations does not guarantee energy savings. The weak link is often in the commissioning of the measures to ensure they are doing what they are intended to do.
To avoid underperforming on your energy efficiency measures, we suggest the following three strategies:

1. Commission what you implement with third-party commissioning experts. Commissioning agents are not interested in selling hardware. They are interested in making systems operate at peak performance. They understand physics and control theory and can identify and repair problems quickly.

2. Track your energy savings using M&V. Even using something as simple as utility bill tracking software can provide some insight into building performance. An increase in monthly energy usage when a decrease was expected would have triggered an investigation into the cause. Verifying performance at the system level (as we did), while more difficult and expensive, would have isolated the problem much more quickly and accurately.

3. Provide proper training so that your facility staff doesn”t override or bypass your energy efficiency projects. Although we barely treated this topic in this paper, this is probably the single most effective step you can take. Your staff is the brains behind building operation, despite what EMS vendors may say. Having the smartest control system will do no good if it is operated by the dumbest operators.

Energy Efficiency And Solar Power Systems Help San Diego Homeowners Cut Energy Costs

When it comes to balancing comfort and savings, industry experts recommend combining cost-effective energy efficiency measures with smaller solar power systems. The powerful benefit of solar power systems to create electricity added to reducing energy loss not only saves money, but also costs San Diego homeowners far less in the long run.

Electricity bills have skyrocketed lately everywhere, and San Diego is no exception to the trend. The average electricity consumption rate for a single family detached home in San Diego County is about 675 kWh per month. In June of 1999, that meant an electric bill of $71 but now, thanks to rising costs, that same consumption will result in an electric bill of $150.

For many San Diego homeowners, solar power systems have provided at least some relief from astronomical electricity costs. While the systems require an upfront investment, most solar panels come with a substantial warranty and will produce electricity for up to 40 years at practically no operating cost. The savings on electric bills from a solar power system will cover the investment in 6-8 years for most homeowners, leaving them with free electricity for another 20-30 years.

For example, a homeowner with a $150 average electricity bill today can either buy a solar power system for $17,500 after state and federal incentives or pay $150,000 over the next 30 years for the same amount of electricity. Over the last five years, more than 8,000 homeowners in San Diego have installed solar power systems. New financing options, such as third-party Power Purchasing agreements, allow homeowners to install solar power systems with little or no money down.

While solar power systems yield moderate savings for San Diego homeowners, a combination of solar power and energy efficiency can lead to even better results. By focusing on basic adjustments like insulation, duct sealing and LED bulbs, consumers can drastically cut the amount of energy wasted on heating, cooling and lighting. All it takes is a custom energy audit to figure out the right efficiency improvements. San Diego homeowners can invest 10-40% less than what is needed to install an average solar power system into energy efficiency measures and smaller-scale solar installations and reap the benefits of bigger financial savings and better energy efficiency for many years to come.

Each home uses energy differently and there are no generic solutions that are cost effective for everyone. But with the help of an expert energy auditor, homeowners can identify the custom solution that combines the right energy efficiency measures and solar power system size.

Energy Efficiency Is The Only Way To Reduce Fuel Bills

With an average energy bill set to climb to 1406 in 2009 (from 676 in 2005), the Government has given a commitment to help consumers improve household energy efficiency and permanently bring down energy bills.

As the nation waits for confirmation of where Government support will be given, many organisations are offering advice and guidance into where and how families can make changes that will cut their household energy costs.

Figures from the Energy Savings Trust suggest that if everyone undertook a number of simple measures including: Fitting energy saving light bulbs, double glazed windows, installing a condensing boiler, cavity wall and loft insulation and jackets for hot water tanks, UK households could reduce energy bills by over 270 a year and save over 1.9bn in fuel costs*.

Paul Kellett, Technical Director at Anglian Home Improvements, an Energy Savings Trust recommended supplier said: It is increasingly becoming apparent that current fuel price increases are set to have dramatic effects on many peoples household bills.

But making energy efficient changes, ahead of the winter months, could lead to savings of thousands of pound on future fuel bills – as well as adding to a houses value. If people are considering making improvements we would urge them to look at the most energy efficient options.

Installing double glazing for example, cuts heat lost through windows by half. At Anglian we fit B-rated energy saving double glazing as standard, which offers potential savings of over 110 per year per household.

Further estimations on savings to be gained from implementing energy efficiency measures in the home include*:
Around a third of all the heat lost in an un-insulated home is lost through the walls. Fitting cavity wall insulation could save up to 120 on an annual fuel bill
Insulating an uninsulated loft can save around 155 a year If everyone in the UK topped up their loft insulation to 270mm, around 560m would be saved each year. That’s enough money to pay the annual fuel bills of around 530,000 families.
An ultra efficient condensing boiler will be 20% more efficient and could save up to 130 on heating bills.
Fitting an insulating jacket to the hot water cylinder could save around 30 per year
Setting hot water cylinder thermostats to 60C/140F could save up to 10 over the year
Using low energy light bulbs to save 10 on electricity bills each year.
By installing draught proofing you could save around 25 a year on your heating bills

Financial help may be available if you’re planning to make energy saving improvements to your home

*Figures are from www.energysavingstrust.org.uk

Energy-efficiency Electronics Hardware A bridge Fuel To The Future

Demand for energy continues to be a major topic around the world. Renewable energy sources such as wind, solar or hydro power are increasingly being utilized to provide for that demand. Many States have even recently passed laws raising the minimum renewable usage cap that utility companies must implement into their overall supply. But … we still require escalating amounts of energy for agriculture, industry, and to heat our homes and offices. Emerging as a “bridge fuel” to clean energy and renewable resources, the power electronics industry is poised to span that gap with hardware solutions needed to build intelligent power systems.

The Obama administration plans to spend billions of dollars on power conservation and sustainable energy projects as part of a $787 billion stimulus package which is has focused on energy efficiency. Andrew Fanara, of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program has famously said. “Energy efficiency is the bridge fuel we must build on and must invest in” he stresses “Energy efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest, fastest way to act.”

In part, the administration’s strategy is to use improved energy efficiency as a method of buying time to invest in and explore emerging and clean energy options. With initiatives like the smart power grid gaining traction, the power electronics hardware that makes it all work and its new designs aimed at increasing energy efficiency will be at the core of the plan.

Already, there is huge demand for power efficiency by consumers found an industry survey. And, consumers are willingly paying a premium for electronic hardware that delivers energy efficiency. This trend anticipates a growing number of electronic hardware devices will be utilized, which lowers costs and drives improved energy efficiency. Measured in dollars per watt this high volume of hardware deployment forecasts the efficiency for power electronics may drop to as low as 12 cents per watt by 2013.

The focal point of “smart power” systems and a national smart energy grid has clearly been on the hardware side of the equation. To be successful, in the not to distant future, engineers will also make use of the intelligence provided by software so that the hardware components communicate most effectively to accomplish maximum reduction of power consumption. The know-how exists now for this integrated software, but it is still far from widespread.

Power Profiling is a valuable energy-efficiency tool that granularly identifies the power consumed specifically by HVAC, appliances, networks, lighting etc. and communicates this information to users. A user profile is developed by use of proprietary algorithms that calculate information regarding a structure’s overall usage, and several data points such as the time of day and its energy consumption history.

The purpose of power profiling is to enable users to know exactly what activities or systems are consuming the most power, including how much, and how that consumption is affected by actions they take. Most HVAC and appliances are not yet enabled so numerous hardware metering devices are used throughout the structure, at least an adequate number to demonstrate to the user what the largest power users are and how to limit consumption.

Home Area Networks (HAN) are increasingly communicating with utilities in addition to the traditional media centers and computers. Both utilities and consumer electronics companies are offering and assortment of hardware solutions with methods of pre-programming and remotely controlling home systems such as water usage, heating & cooling, and appliances. With the arrival of “smart” appliances and new wireless network protocols designed specifically for energy-efficiency, many of these hardware solutions communicate to users and utilities over one or more wireless systems.

ZWave for media and home automation

ZigBee chosen by utility companies because of it’s secure protocol, and

EnOcean a European self-powered energy harvesting technology that powers devices without the use of batteries.

Hardware using these wireless protocols can all be controlled from a single point building management system, or a homeowner’s computer. Even though these technologies are still on the leading edge, trends indicates they are very near to wide-scale adoption, enabling buildings to connect to smart grid applications that exponentially increase energy-efficiency.

Advances in alternative energy sources have provided greener ways of producing electricity and the burgeoning energy-efficiency industry is providing a plethora of energy saving hardware devices to help users re-tool . We can reduce energy consumption with these advances and make strides toward energy independence. Consider what T. Boone Pickens says “In additional to putting our security in the hands of potentially unfriendly and unstable foreign nations, we spent $475 billion on foreign oil in 2008 alone. That’s money taken out of our economy and sent to foreign nations, and it will continue to drain the life from our economy for as long as we fail to stop the bleeding.

Projected over the next 10 years the cost will be $10 trillion – it will be the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind.”

“By investing in renewable energy and conservation, we can create millions of new jobs. Developing new alternative energies while utilizing natural gas for transportation and energy generation; securing our economy by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and keeping more money at home to pay for the whole thing.”

Moving forward with renewables is a must, but it is also a documented fact that this increased capacity will not be enough to meet upcoming demands and provide energy independence. The tremendous strides being made in energy efficiency technologies are to help stem the tide, bridging the gap.

European Energy Label For Led Lights

There are many certainties in life, like taxation and electricity bills for example. Another is that whenever you buy an electrical appliance you will always find a European Energy Label somewhere on it. This is because all European manufacturers and retailers must tell you about the energy efficiency of electrical appliances. Regardless of whether you’re buying a fridge, washing machine, dishwasher, oven or light bulb, the EU Energy Label will help you to make informed decisions about the purchase of energy-consuming appliances.

Put simply, the EU Energy Label is a labeling scheme that provides clear and easily recognizable information about the energy consumption and performance of a product. The label is a mandatory requirement and must be clearly displayed on white goods, light bulb packaging and cars when offered for sale or rent.

The main element of the label is an energy efficiency rating scale. This takes the form of a simple, brightly colored, index labeled from A to G. Each of these is a discrete ‘energy efficiency class’ with A being the most efficient and G being the least efficient. With the advent of energy saving technologies, in July 2004 the energy efficiency rating category for A for refrigeration products was divided into 3 separate categories; A, A+ and A++.

The label also provides more general information relating to the product that allows a customer to draw direct comparisons between models.

In the particular case of light bulbs, in addition to the energy efficiency categories, you will find three pieces of important information. The first is the bulbs luminous flux, measured in Lumens. The second is the electricity consumption in watts. The last is the average lifespan in hours.

All of the LED Light Bulbs are classified as A Energy Rated. All light bulb electrical consumptions are calculated relative to a standard. Because the LED Bulbs are rated A they use between 20 and 50 per cent of the energy of this standard, making them impressive little energy savers.

So when you are out looking for electrical products keep your eyes peeled for the EU Energy Label.

If you have any further queries or want to know more about lighting industry, please see other interesting articles written by on this industry especially the revolutionary LED Lights and GU10 LED Bulbs. Also, do not hesitate if you wish to comment on any of the articles and want to express your views in general.

Energy Efficiency Programs What You Can Apply Now

In light of the current economic conditions that the country is facing right now, several programs have been placed in the priority list that will address some of the most critical issues faced by Americans right now. One such issue is on the use and consumption of electricity, wherein a national program was set into motion to generate interest among consumers in various states to participate in energy efficiency programs starting with their own homes.

Texas has been at the forefront of the nationwide energy efficiency drive with residents given the power to select their energy options in a bid to reduce consumption of Texas electricity. Such programs include rebates from their property taxes that eventually pay for the energy efficiency improvements done in their individual homes. Such improvements can include the installation of solar panels or improving a homes insulation system and optimize use of electricity.

These incentive programs are aimed at reducing the up-front costs that homeowners will incur as they set out and initiate energy efficiency improvements in their homes and improve their use of Texas electricity. Not only that, energy efficiency improvements will enable homeowners to gain considerable savings from their electricity bills as well as a focus on alternative energy resources that will eventually pave the way for the availability of really cheap electricity for all consumers to enjoy.

Legislation
Energy efficiency programs were officially initiated when the 75th Texas Legislature promulgated into law the requirement for meeting specific energy efficiency goals that the electric TDUs or Texas Transmission and Distribution Utilities would have to meet. The procedures required to meet these goals were outlined in the Energy Efficiency Rule provided by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

The rule specifies that TDUs should offer energy efficiency programs to consumers within their respective electricity distribution territories. Such programs include installation or home improvements designed to increase a homes overall energy efficiency such proper insulation, use of high efficiency lighting fixtures and the installation of solar energy systems among other. These programs are extended not only to residential communities but also to schools, local governments and businesses in order to reduce their operating costs and save Texas electricity.

These home improvements however, will be installed or performed not by the TDUs themselves but will be coursed through third-party providers or what is more commonly called now as project sponsors. These providers include contractors and installers for insulation, lighting, and air conditioning. Project sponsors also include the retail electric providers and other energy efficiency companies.

What the Texas Consumer Can Apply Now

There are various energy efficiency incentive programs initiated by the local distribution utilities in the various towns and cities in Texas, each of whom were mandated to meet energy efficiency goals. These incentive programs come in the form of Standard Offer Programs (SOP), with payments based on the energy efficiency performance achieved. Participation in these SOPs varies depending on the type of program initiated. These programs include:

Residential and Small Commercial Programs these are geared towards providing incentives for energy efficiency improvements that are installed to reduce electricity consumption and peak demand
Commercial Programs Has a specific minimum demand requirement for eligibility and provides incentives for energy efficiency installations and measures that will reduce peak demand and increase Texas electricity savings
Low Income Programs Energy efficiency programs that are targeted towards households having annual incomes that are below or at 200% of the federal poverty guideline.
Load Management Programs These are designed to encourage efficient control of electrical loads such as shifting of electric loads from peak-demand hours to off-peak periods.

Seattle Data Centers Energy Efficiency Best Practices

This article will provide a brief overview of the United States Department of Energy’s Best Practices Guide for Energy Efficient Data Centers in Seattle. It will highlight best practices in the categories of Information Technology systems, air management, electrical and cooling systems and other opportunities for energy efficient design of data centers in Seattle.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, data centers in Seattle can consume up to 200 times as much electricity as standard office spaces. Because data centers in Seattle consume so much energy, they are prime targets for energy-efficiency that can reduce electricity and ultimately save money. However, data centers often house mission-critical applications and reliability and high power density capacity are far more important than energy efficiency.

The U.S. Department of Energy created their best practice guide to provide energy efficient alternatives to inefficient data centers in Seattle.

Information Technology Systems in Seattle Data Centers
A typical data center has a highly efficient cooling system and IT equipment can account for more than half of the data center facility’s energy use. If data centers implement efficient IT equipment, then they will reduce these loads which will ultimately reduce the equipment needed to cool them.

Purchasing servers equipped with fans, energy-efficient processors, and power supplies, consolidating storage devices, high-efficient network equipment, consolidating power supplies, and implementing virtualization are the best ways for data centers in Seattle to reduce IT equipment loads.

Air Management
Air management for data centers in Seattle entails all of the designs and configurations required to minimize or eliminate mixing between the hot air rejected from the data center equipment and the cool air supplied to this equipment. Effective air management implementation reduces the bypass of cooling air and the recirculation of heat exhaust. A properly designed air management system can reduce first cost equipment investment, operating costs, increase the facility’s power density, as well as reduce heat related processing failures and interruptions. Key design issues include configuring of the equipment heat exhaust ports and air intake, the location of supply and returns, the temperature set points of the airflow, and the large-scale airflow patterns of the facility.

Electrical Systems
It is important to always consider initial and future electrical system loads, specifically part-and low load conditions when selecting and designing equipment for an electrical system in a data center.

Cooling Systems
Similar to electrical systems, it is important to always consider initial and future cooling systems in data centers in Seattle. Specifically focusing on part-and low-load conditions, as the need for digital data continues to expand.

Additional Opportunities for Energy Efficient Design
There are a number of additional best practices for energy efficient design in data centers in Seattle. According to the U.S. Department of energy the most effective of these practices include on-site power generation, co-generation plants, reduction of standby loss and the use of waste heat, which can be used directly by the facility or to supply cooling required by the data center.

Energy Savings Tips to Prepare Your Home for Solar Power

When you invest in solar panels for your home, you are making a commitment to reduce your carbon footprint while saving money on your monthly energy usage. In order to get the most out of your solar panels, you will want to take a few steps to reduce your overall energy usage every month. Following these simple steps will help you to create a more energy efficient home, allowing you to get the maximum benefit from your solar panels.

Replace Your Old Light Bulbs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs use less energy, making them a great alternative to traditional light bulbs. On average, CFL units last up to eight times as long as your existing light bulbs, so you can save money on replacements and electricity usage at the same time. Use these energy-savers wherever you can in your home to reduce the amount of electricity used when you flip your light switches.

Weatherproof Your Home

Heat can escape from older windows and doors, which can increase the amount of energy needed to heat your home. Replacing your single-pane windows with more efficient units can help to reduce your overall energy usage. Weather stripping and door seals should also be checked and replaced to prevent drafts from coming into your home.

Replace Older Appliances

Appliances made twenty years ago are not as efficient as those made today, and they can use a considerable amount of energy. By replacing these old units with more efficient models, you can instantly reduce your energy consumption while modernizing your home.

Use Strip Surge Protectors

Power strips, or strip surge protectors, can help you to reduce the energy your home electronics consume. With the flip of one switch, you can turn off the power going to each of these energy-draining devices. This allows you to keep all of the programmed functions on your devices to stay in place while still saving energy. Be sure to turn the power off before bed each night and when these items are not in use during the day.

Use Your Appliances More Efficiently

Even with new models, washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators can use a lot of electricity. There are some simple things you can do to improve the energy usage for these major appliances. Washing clothes in cold water uses less electricity than using warm or hot water. Running your dishwasher during the day when your solar panels are working at maximum capacity gives you better usage rates than running it at night when you may have to use power from the grid.
Keeping your refrigerator or freezer set to the highest safe food storage temperature helps save money and energy while still keeping your food preserved.

Check Your Heating Ductwork

For homes that have central heating and cooling systems, checking your ductwork is a key to saving energy. Clogged or leaking ducts can make your system work overtime, which consumes more energy and leads to less efficient heating and cooling. If you are unsure how to do this yourself, you can hire a licensed contractor to take this task on for you.

Solar panels allow you to begin saving money on your monthly utility costs while having a better impact on the environment. You will need to change your energy consumption habits, but each of these simple steps are designed to allow you to change your habits with minimal impact on how you lead your daily life. When you are ready to install solar panels for your home, be sure to take these tips into account to maximize your energy and monetary savings.

Julianconstruction.com Increasing Energy Efficiency With Solar Panels

Solar panels make homes more energy efficient. The electricity that is generated by the panels is not only good for the environment, it can reduce your energy costs. The amount of money you can save by installing solar electrical systems is determined by how much electricity is used in your home.

Another benefit of installing solar panels is net metering, a term used to describe the policy of contributing any unused electricity back to the utility grid. Net metering was implemented to promote private investment in renewable energy. In California, it is a special billing arrangement that provides credits to customers with solar PV systems. How does net metering work? Solar panel systems generate most of their electricity during the middle of the day when the sun is shining. If your home produces more electricity than what is required, it goes back to the main utility grid. Homeowners receive credits at full retail rates for this excess electricity.

In addition to energy savings, installing a solar electric system helps reduce CO2, NOX and SO2 emissions. In a poll conducted by USA Today, 91% of survey respondents preferred solar power compared to other sources of power.

Solar panels do not make any noise and require very little maintenance. They can be installed when a home is being re-roofed and will add significant value to the property. The state and federal government also offers homeowners special tax benefits and rebates for using clean energy solutions. For example, California residents (and business owners) will receive cash back incentives under the states Go Solar program.

Do you want to know more about your current energy usage? The EPA has several tools that can help homeowners evaluate their energy usage and find out the best way to become more energy efficient. These EPA tools include the Home Energy Yardstick:
https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=home_energy_yardstick.showgetstarted

and Home Energy Advisor:
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=home_energy_advisor.showGetInput&__utma=172919287.1213405742.1380054400.1380054400.1380054400.1&__utmb=172919287.8.9.1380055517445&__utmc=172919287&__utmx=-&__utmz=172919287.1380054400.1.1.utmcsr=google|utmccn

The Home Energy Yardstick is an assessment of how much energy your home used during the past 12 months compared to similar types of homes. The data that is used to conduct the assessment comes from your utility bill. The tool uses an algorithm based on the size of your home, number of occupants and the weather in your area. Scoring is on a 1 to 10 scale. A home that scores 10 is performing well compared to other similar homes, while a home that scores 1 is performing poorly when compared to similar types of residences. To use the tool, you will need to provide your zip code, the square footage of your house, the number of occupants and utility bill data for the past 12 months.

The Home Energy Advisor is an online service that gives you free advice on improvements that can increase the energy efficiency of your home. To receive your recommendations, you will need to provide your zip code, data on how your home is cooled and heated, and information on the type of water heater that you use.

If you want to decrease energy costs and are considering installing solar panels, general contractors with experience in solar panel installations should be contacted to discuss your specific needs and options.