The practice of “commissioning,” in which an engineer monitors the efficiency of a building from its design through its initial operation, just may be the most effective strategy for reducing long-term energy usage, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. So why is it so seldom used?
In a different world, it could be a reality television show — “Buildings On Trial,” with a street-savvy engineer going into skyscrapers, factories, offices and other commercial buildings to find the dumb mistakes that make them waste energy and produce a disproportionate share of the nation’s global warming emissions.
And in almost every case, even new buildings proudly displaying a LEED “green building” plaque by the front door, the engineer would come back out with a list of energy hog culprits: Here’s the ventilation system fan installed backwards, so it blows full force into another fan blowing in the right direction. Here’s the control system set up so heating and cooling systems both work at once, like driving with your feet on the brakes and the accelerator at the same time. Here are the stuck dampers that prevent the building from drawing on outside air when the temperature is right.
California recently approved the decision of a state-wide solar heating program consisting of almost $360 million financial incentives and market development funding by 2018. This initiative will soon be followed by rest of the country that lagged behind the world in installing solar thermal systems.
Global statistics show that the solar thermal industry is taking large steps in fulfilling heating and cooling demand in the world. Most of the countries around the world have adopted incentive programs for both solar water heating and space heating. Whereas in some countries, solar thermal systems have been widely utilized for so many years even without incentives.
The most important decision criteria for a household to install a solar thermal system is basically the payback times of their investment. The main driving factors of the investment payback time are the total cost of the systems and the cost of alternatives heating systems.
Hallowell International in Bangor, Maine, is the manufacturer of the Acadia, a combined heating and cooling system that can be combined with solar or wind installations to take users off the grid. The system can be installed in new buildings or can be retrofitted when consumers are considering green upgrades.
CleanTechies has three questions for president and founder Duane Hallowell.
CleanTechies: Acadia uses something called “boosted compression” technology. Tell us about that.
Duane Hallowell: Since the 1950s, heat pumps, which operate by exchanging air for heating and cooling, have been the most popular and environmentally-friendly heating ventilation and cooling (HVAC) application. However, because they absorb heat from the outside air, they are inefficient in cold-weather climates, requiring additional, costly heating elements in order to work correctly.
Have a look at this TEDx Toronto clip.
Israeli solar energy companies such as Solel Solar, Aora, Ormat technologies, and a host of others are now world leaders in the development of sun power to produce electricity. But Israel, a small country of 7 million, with more than half its land area being desert, has been a solar energy pioneer virtually since its beginning in 1948.
What is now fondly known to many Israelis as a “dude shemesh” or sun boiler, was invented by a guy named Levi Yissar back in the early 1950’s, when electricity was very expensive due to a severe energy shortage.
The goal is to enable power generation from low-temperature geothermal resources at an economical cost. In addition to being a clean energy source without any greenhouse gas emissions, geothermal is also a steady and dependable source of power.
A new method for capturing significantly more heat from low-temperature geothermal resources holds promise for generating virtually pollution-free electrical energy. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are testing a new innovative approach to safely and economically extract and convert heat from vast untapped geothermal resources.
As media sponsor of the 5th Germany California Solar Day that took place in San Francisco last month, CleanTechies is pleased to announce another exciting green tech event organized by the German American Chamber of Commerce:
Mobility 2030: Transportation Technologies & Lifestyles of the Future