Category: Energy Efficiency

How To Improve The Us Economy – A Political Perspective

The United States has been in a recession since December, 2007, as defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private, nonprofit research organization. But the American people, and the Obama administration along with the democrat majority congress, seem to be at odds on how to fix the American economy.

A robust economy means companies expand which results in job creation. Currently, the American people are not spending because many are not working, and those who are working are spending less, most likely due to the possibility of losing their job. Current unemployment rate stands at 9.6% as of August, 2009. A decrease in spending by the American people results in a decrease in company profits, company non expansion, and more layoffs.

Reporting on a survey by Watson Wyatt, a consulting firm, the HRSpecialist.com reported in November of 2008 that one-fourth of U.S. employers plan to have staff reductions during the following calendar year. We are now seeing this come to fruition for 2009.

So how can the US economy improve? Improvement being defined as two consecutive quarters where we do not have negative growth in the GDP (gross domestic product). The following is what we call the Steps to Economic Improvement. These are steps for consideration which hopefully result in a healthy bipartisan discussion between our elected congressman and their constituency. These steps may result in non-recessionary growth of our economy.

You may or may not agree with these steps, but at a bare minimum, these are points to consider, and ideally result in a healthy discussion with our elected congressmen, which at last check, is one of the unchanged notions of a free democratic society.

Steps to Economic Improvement:

1) The first step is to realize that it is business and not government that creates jobs and wealth within the American society. This is where we believe is the heart of the problem. It is evident that the Obama administration believes it is government that will lead Americans to economic prosperity. This is why the federal government has put forth a $780 billion stimulus package. So where is this money really going. Lets take a look at the breakdown. (source Republican Senate office, CNN.com AC360)

$780 Billion Stimulus Package:

MORE THAN $43 BILLION IN TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS
$27 BILLION FOR HIGHWAY, ROAD AND BRIDGE INVESTMENTS
$8.4 BILLION FOR PUBLIC TRANSIT INVESTMENT
$2 BILLION FOR HIGH SPEED RAIL
$1.3 BILLION FOR FAA AIRPORT IMPROVEMENT FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT
$850 MILLION FOR AMTRAK
$250 MILLION FOR GRANTS TO STATES FOR INVESTMENT IN HIGH SPEED AND INNER CITY PASSENGER RAIL
$100 MILLION TO MARITIME ADMINISTRATION FOR ASSISTANCE TO SMALL SHIPYARDS
$76.8 BILLION IN EDUCATION INVESTMENTS
$39 BILLION FOR STATE FISCAL RELIEF TARGETED DIRECTLY FOR EDUCATION
$13.9 BILLION FOR PELL GRANTS
$13.5 BILLION FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING
$10.4 BILLION FOR TITLE I
$6.4 BILLION FOR WATER AND SEWER INFRASTRUCTURE
$3 BILLION FOR JOB TRAINING
$3.25 BILLION FOR WORKFORCE INVESTMENT PROGRAMS
$160 MILLION FOR JOB CORPS
$87 BILLION IN TEMPORARY AND TARGETED MEDICAID RELIEF TO STATES
$5 BILLION FOR SUPPLEMENTAL GRANTS TO PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES FOR CAPITAL NEEDS
$4.7 BILLION FOR STATE AND LOCAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY BLOCK GRANTS
$4.4 BILLION FOR SMART GRID
$2.9 BILLION FOR WEATHERIZATION PROGRAMS
$2 BILLION FOR ADVANCED BATTERY MANUFACTURING
$7 BILLION FOR LOAN GUARANTEES FOR STANDARD RENEWABLES
$800 MILLION FOR CONSTRUCTION OF PORTS OF ENTRY
$500 MILLION FOR FIREFIGHTERS ASSISTANCE GRANTS
$1.2 BILLION FOR NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

As part of the 2010 budget proposal, the Obama administration has also proposed additional measures to attempt to stabilize the economy, including a $23 trillion measure aimed at stabilizing the financial system and freeing up credit. In a nutshell, auditors from the Congressional Budget Office have said that Obama’s budget would produce $9.3 trillion in deficits over the next decade.

This is a large chunk of change that needs to be provided by the American taxpayer! But the question is, will all of this spending help the long term growth of the US economy? Growth being during the period of not just the next few years, but rather 10 to 15 years. We believe it will not and here is why.

2) These programs burden the tax payer. History has shown that long sustained economic growth can not take place when the tax payer is over burdened by a federal deficit. Also, when the government spends money they do not have, they print more money, which results in a devaluation of the US dollar. This results in inflation.

3) Small businesses employ just over half of U.S. workers. How do you define a small business. The Office of Advocacy defines a small business for research purposes as an independent business having fewer than 500 employees. In examining the $780 billion stimulus package, you can see that there is no real help for small business. Remember, job creation is needed for economic recovery.

4) The socializing of America will not result in long term economic growth. The massive spending that the Obama administration has proposed will result in an even greater tax burden to the American people.

Most Americans believe in the frame work and meaning of The Constitution of the United States. The first words of the Constitution “We the People” make it clear that our government was established to serve the people. The essence of a democracy was eloquently stated by President Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” This simply means that our elected president and congress have a responsibility to listen to the American people.

And it can be said that most Americans do not want a socialistic society for the United States. Government needs to stop spending the American tax dollar, simply because an escalating government deficit will not result in an overall improvement in our economy.

5) Programs such as Cash for Clunkers, auto industry bailouts, and the like, only in the end increase the tax burden on the American people. These massively expensive programs do very little to improve the viability and strength of most small business. Based on 2008 figures, there are 155 million workers in the United States. The car industry accounts for about 13 million of these workers. Therefore, most Americans will not benefit from the bailout of the auto industry. There is only a marginal at best improvement in the economy from such programs.

6) We do applaud the Obama administration for the injection of capital into the financial institutions, because for small business to flourish, there needs to be capital available, and commercial banks and other depository institutions are the largest lenders of capital to small business.

7) The economy will do much better when companies are left to compete in the market place with minimal government involvement. A case in point, the Reagan administration had a policy of less government during the 1980s. This resulted in long term economic growth. This is the exact opposite of what the Obama administration is trying to do.

The Obama administration was given a bad economy when Barack Obama took office. But the Obama administration has taken a bad situation and made it much worse. Many economists believe that our economy would return anyway, with minimal government involvement. In terms of the economy, the government many times creates or prolongs problems and really does not solve them. A case in point, the deregulation of the banking industry which resulted in sub-prime lending. This created an eventual financial collapse, which resulted in the down turn in our economy and our current economic meltdown.

To conclude, the concept of minimal government is an important component for a strong American economy. Letting companies naturally compete within a free democratic society, with minimal government involvement, produces a robust economy, which benefits all Americans. The writers of the Constitution of the United Sates, our founding fathers, believed that the role of government in the lives of people should be minimal. Should we not adhere to the principles of our Constitution?

By letting your voice be heard, it is the American people who in the end control the destiny of the United States. And in the end, it is the American people who will control the destiny of the American economy. Go to your congressmans website and contact them, discuss these points, express your opinion, and let them know how you feel. It is your right and duty as an American citizen.

Saving Energy With Posters

Towards a Green, Energy-Saving Workplace

What does the term “going green” mean for you as far as your workplace is concerned? Environmental initiatives can be at once very simple to suggest, and simultaneously very difficult to implement. Also, there are a number of different paths that an office can take when it comes being eco-friendly. Recycling, for instance, is always a popular tack, requiring little more than the appropriate recycling bins for different types of waste, a few signs to remind people to “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, and a brief awareness campaign for employees on the benefits of returning waste material to be reprocessed into usable goods instead of letting it collect in a landfill or garbage dump somewhere.

Another excellent direction in which to take a workplace that is attempting to paint itself green is in the realm of energy conservation. The significant electrical resources that the average office consumes to power lights and electronic equipment annually can become quite prohibitive, which not only leads to a really high utilities bill, but a lot less fossil fuel out there for the world to use. These policies can easily be adopted in the workplace, with a little information campaign, and a few energy saver signs.

Signs? It may seem like eco-friendly signs don’t accomplish much compared to, say, penalizing irresponsible employees for wasting resources. University research on the power of suggestion, however, clearly demonstrates otherwise. The fact is that an energy saving sign is a cheap and efficient method of subtly reminding employees that an environmental policy exists in the office, and gradually warm up to the idea that it doesn’t really take that much effort to participate.

For instance, a simple energy saving sign that tells people to turn the lights off after use, and not flick the switch for more lights than are actually necessary, will compel workers to think twice about how they typically waste electricity. A similar sign for electrical appliances does the same for all that equipment that stayed plugged and operational long after people have checked out for the day. Computers may at last be turned off after use, or placed in sleep mode if they are going to be left running, to be returned to afterwards.

One may not think that recycling saves energy, but it aids just as capably in overall resource conservation. Consider that one of the essential components of plastic is oil, which even the most optimistic of scientists will admit is a resource that will eventually run out. If the disposable plastic bottles and packaging that are routinely thrown away are instead rotated back into circulation, that saves on the amount of plastic that has to be manufactured anew. Consequently, that means less oil that has to be expended to make new plastic. A recycling sign will help people remember to put their plastic trash in a recycle bin, especially if placed in the breakroom and other common areas.

The power of sign suggestion cannot be denied. University research has shown that people are more susceptible to performing an act if they see a sign instructing them to do it on a regular basis. In this manner, a couple of well-placed energy saving signs would do well to promote a green workplace.

Build Your Own Greenhouse – Gothic Arch Greenhouses

If you want to build a greenhouse, you should be careful planning, the final choice of the greenhouse will depend on the growing space desired, Home architecture, available sites, and costs.

Backyards, rooftops, crop production fields, from the Arctic Circle to the equator almost every climate and environment can benefit from some kind of greenhouse. Controlling the environment in these greenhouses can mean more heat, more shade, supplemental lights, insect screens, etc. Lets look at some commonsense approaches and basic deciding factors one can use in site planning for a greenhouse:

Light Just as in planning a garden, greenhouse growers should be very aware of changing light patterns throughout the seasons. Even in an open field, one needs to be aware of orientation to the direction of sun. Intelligent site planning in a backyard can save a lot of energy and may
allow growers the edge that will make their plants thrive.

Look for deciduous trees cover from deciduous trees can give the much needed shading in the summer, which is probably the most difficult time of year to keep anything thriving in the average backyard greenhouse. Also, remember that the angle of light changes from winter to summer, as well as the rise to fall points on the horizon. This will help with orientation to other buildings, high fences, etc.

Foundation and site drainage – Consider the type of foundation on which the greenhouse will be installed and consider the drainage and elevation of the site. The drainage of the site is crucial. Always, factor in what foundation requirements are for each model and type of greenhouse.

Energy Input issues – Your greenhouse will need energy input to power fans, heaters, etc. Thinking out the distance from your power and water source is a very necessary first step in a friction free greenhouse building process.

Once your power is there, you will need it for a variety of environmental controls. Fans (both ventilation and circulation), motorized controls for vent windows, evaporative cooling pumps, heaters (if electric), etc.

Ventilation is probably the most important issue in a greenhouse, without it the greenhouse quickly turns into a solar oven in which no plant can survive. Ventilation in the greenhouse is maintained through passive vent windows on the sides and ridge of the greenhouse and/or through fans and shutters mounted on opposing ends of the greenhouse.

Circulation fans are important to distribute heat and agitate plants preventing soft growth and stretchy internodes.

Evaporative coolers work by pushing or pulling air through a water-saturated pad and into the greenhouse. They are most efficient in dry climates, but work in humid tropical climates as well. Misting systems with natural ventilation are also a viable option for cooling the greenhouse in some climates.

Coverings, Insulation, and Light Transmission

Im going to break down greenhouse coverings into three basic material groups: polyethylene film, polycarbonate, and glass. Each has advantages and disadvantages.

Polyethylene film, or poly film, is the film plastic sheeting commonly seen on commercial greenhouse ranges and inexpensive hoop style Greenhouses. The typical lifespan of the material is about 4 years, after which it will need to be removed and replaced. For some, this is the nature of the business and is budgeted into the equation of growing in a greenhouse. For others, its a maintenance inconvenience that isnt worth the headache and they prefer (and can afford) a more permanent and expensive greenhouse covering material.

Many growers use a double layer of poly film with a blower fan to maintain a pillow of insulating air between them. This setup actually provides some of the best insulation possible. Light transmission levels are normally in the high 80% range for a single layer of clear poly film. White opaque poly film is a good option for growers in really bright and/or tropical locations. Light
transmission for the white poly film is about 55%.

Polycarbonate panels are the rigid greenhouses Greenhouses covering of choice for many greenhouse owners. Panels will last indefinitely though they will start to show signs of UV degradation after about 10 years. There are two main types of polycarbonate panels: single wall corrugated and multi-wall insulate.

I typically dont recommend single-wall panels except in
areas and for applications where insulating value is of no consequence The
multi-wall panels are almost always going to be an advantageous choice. The multi-wall panels help with energy-efficiency whether your goal is to keep cool or keep warm. Light transmissions range throughout the 80% percent range.

Glass is great! I love the feeling of being inside a perfectly transparent climate controlled green space. However, single pane glass is going to be hot in the summer and cold in the winter. The greenhouse frame will also need to be much more substantial to support the weight of all that heavy glass. Shipping costs also reflect the weight of glass.

Many greenhouse growers choose glass despite its expense and fragility because its unique attributes is quite precious: Glass gives near 100% light transmission of all spectrums. Glass last forever and is not subject to degradation from ultraviolet rays. Last but not least is the huge aesthetic advantage of being in a glass structure.

Phase Transformers – Understanding The Components

phase transformers let us to utilize a wide assortment of appliances, equipment, tools, gadgets and everything that operates on electrical power. Transformers have enormously enhanced our capability to work with different electrical machines and domestic devices. They convert voltages and frequencies into the necessary amounts, which tends to make electrical power safer to manage. Without transformers serving as mediums, electrical energy delivered into our houses and businesses would not be doable and some appliances may not even exist. You can find several varieties of transformers that may be purchased at local electric shops and appliance centers, like low voltage transformers, AC transformers, custom transformers and the rest. One specific kind of transformer that proves to be fascinating is the 3 Phase transformer. It is not simply an AC or DC transformer, but one where the three phases clearly makes this type one of the most complicated ones.

A 3 phase transformer is often a transformer that’s normally utilized in energy distribution systems. These are the larger and bulkier transformers usually identified in electrical power producing corporations that are arranged in columns or groups. These transformers facilitate the transport of energy through the electrical distribution systems. In this kind of transformer, there are 3 sets of primary and secondary coils, wrapped around every single leg of a predefined iron core. You can find a number of combinations that can be made from these three sets of coils that are defined by the requirement for larger voltage or for higher reliability. The structure of the 3 units of coils is governed by the idea of appropriate phase relationships between the phase windings. Any such transformer is a lot more difficult than a straightforward DC transformer or an AC transformer in single phase due to the possibility of combinations and how it operates.

A 3 phase transformer has its very own positive aspects. The combinations supplied by any such transformer supply increased efficiency, which can utilize either multiple voltages or greater reliability. These transformers are simplified versions and better alternatives than making use of single-phase transformers linked together and carrying out the job of scaling down or scaling up voltages typical of that found in 3 phase devices. This type of transformer only needs a smaller variety of components, smaller in sizes and ones that are lighter than their modular alternatives. The configuration of the transformer with 3 phases, in reality, gives better reliability simply because if one winding fails to execute, the other two windings can nonetheless transport the full line voltage for the load. These transformers can deliver voltages and frequencies over long distances and produce an output of higher superiority.

On the other hand, you’ll find also a number of disadvantages of this sort of transformer. The transformer itself is basically composed of three single phase transformers with a special configuration and if a single of these transformers stores a pair of primary and secondary coils, the efficiency of the whole transformer will probably be affected, especially the current and voltage load. The configurations can also be very complex and difficult to comprehend; a large amount of time is needed to completely master the configurations. The electrical power ought to also be equivalent to the incoming electrical power to transform the electrical energy towards the desired voltage and frequency.

A 3 phase transformer is a great leap up from the conventional transformers used at home. In fact, it has enormously revolutionized power distribution and machinery operation with its different positive aspects.

The Best Split Ac’s With Maximum Energy Efficiency

Electronic gadgets had always been the eye-catchers for people because of its advanced technology and comfort quotients attached to it. However, it is also true that, the demand for products largely depends on the requirement of people in that area. For instance, they are mostly common in the tropical countries which are hot and humid. For this reason, air coolers are frequently on demand in countries like India, Gulf countries, African continent, Indonesia etc. In this context, air conditioners are almost necessary in every place, because of its dual functions of cooling as well as warming. There are numerous split air conditioners available in the market. Hence, it has become really difficult to determine which one would be the best split AC, that suits your requirements.

The Indian sub-continent has a tropical climate with a maximum average temperature of 40 degree Celcius. Hence, the requirement for a cooler or an air conditioner is of utmost importance. Other than using them in households, it is also highly used in office environments. Infact, the importance of such cooling gadgets are very much evident from the fact that, even the sole proprietor domestic companies have cooling gadgets in their office. However, among all air conditioners, the Electrolux 1.0T Split AC can well be considered as one of the best split AC gadget for its competitive pricing as well as extended advanced specifications.

What makes this AC unique is the fact that it is light weighted and can be carried anywhere without unnecessary harassment. So if you are relocating somewhere or need to shift it from one place to the another, you can easily do it without bothering to call extra helping hands so as to help you carry it. Other than this, another plus point of the Electrolux 1.0T Split AC lies in the fact that, it is flat faced and does not occupy too much space in your room, thus leaving enough space to walk around freely. What is most amazing is that, it is a digitally enhanced device with user friendly options along with a LCD remote control.

Other than this, it provides excellent energy efficiency, that reduces fear for high electric bills. This means that, you can now keep it on throughout the day as well as night, and enjoy the cool atmosphere inside your room or office. This device is highly advisable for people who are living in remote villages with frequent power cuts. Under such circumstances, if you have a battery or a generator at home, you can use the power supply from the battery to run the AC without hassles. Another most amazing feature of this device is that, it has a 3 stage filter with bactericidal properties that not only prevents bacterial growth, but also relieves the atmosphere from foul smell. Most amazingly, it also has a special microprocessor that helps to identify any malfunctioning in the gadget.

Apart from this, even the Voltas 1.0 vertis Elite 3 Star has also become pretty famous among users for its fast cooling effects and excellent digitally enhanced options. Infact, a considerable number of people, have started considering it as one of the best split AC for its high quality compressor, energy efficiency as well as various digitally enhanced user-friendly options. Some of the other latest split AC’s are Haier HSU-12LEA03, Hitachi-RAU018HODZ1, Bluestar HWE242YB, etc.

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.

Supercharger Calculators Explained

The basics of supercharger calculators…

Supercharger calculators are based on several basic equations that govern the performance and the physical rules that bind superchargers. At the very heart of the matter, superchargers work on the Ideal Gas Law where PV = NRT Pressure x Volume = Number of gas molecules X a constant X temperature. What superchargers do, is that they feed the engine with more air molecules, by over feeding the engine with forced air. This air is forced into the engine due to the supercharger blowing more air into the engine inlet, than the engine would normally breathe under its own device. The result of this ‘forced induction’ can be observed and measured in one of two aspects: Pressure or Temperature. In an ideal world, with a supercharger that has perfect adiabatic efficiency, we are able to feed the engine twice as many air molecules (to double the horsepower figure), by doubling the inlet air pressure (to 2.0 atmosphere or what we call 15 pounds per square inch (PSI) of boost). In the real world, superchargers are not 100% efficient, and so it is possible that doubling the inlet boost pressure gives us less than double the horsepower due to the following:

P*V=n*R*T Pressure increases by a factor of 2 Volume is fixed Number of gas molecules increases by 80% (or a factor of 1.8) Temperature increases by a factor 11% (or a factor of 1.11) If we look at our equation above we can see: 2*P*V = 1.8*N*R* 1.11T The equation is balanced as 2.0X1 = 1.8 * 1.11 (the rise in pressure is equaled by the combined effect of the rise in airflow and the rise in temperature).

From here, we can also see that even at the same ‘boost’ level, that a more efficient supercharger can make more horsepower because more of the supercharger energy is translated into compression and airflow rather than in thermal rise… So, how do we bring these equations into the ‘real world’ in terms of horsepower and boost ? Let’s start with a 2.0 liter (volume), 140hp (air molecules) engine. Say we have a target of 280 horsepower. Our flow ratio will be related to the ratio of our target horsepower to our current horsepower…. Density ratio = 280/140 = 2.0 Density = mass / volume and since the volume of the engine is fixed at 2.0 liters, then we need to fit 2.0 times the air mass into the same volume. This means that we need to fit twice as many air molecules into the engine. Now let’s assume we have a supercharger that is 70% efficient. This means that to reach a density ratio of 2.0 , we need a pressure ratio: P = 2.0 / 0.70 = 2.85 A pressure ratio of 2.85 is equivalent 27 psi. If we look instead at the temperature rise… then T2/T1 = Pressure ratio / Density Ratio So the supercharger outlet temperatures T2 = Pressure ratio (P) / Density Ratio * T1 (where the temperature is in degrees Kelvin).

Assuming an inlet temperature of 80*F , we find the supercharger outlet temperature to be T2 = 309*F On thing to think about here is intercoolers or aftercoolers…. After coolers are radiators that wick heat away from the compressed air after it leaves the supercharger. The ideal intercooler dramatically cools the air temperature without drastically impeding the air flow path and so with having a minimal pressure drop. The intercooler increases horsepower in three ways:

1 – By cooling the air charge, the mixture’s density ratio increases at the same pressure ratio. 2 – The final temperature of the air fuel mixture entering the engine drops, which gives a more power efficient combustion process (as the output power of the combustion event is directly proportional to the difference between intake mixture temperatures and exhaust mixture temperatures). 3 – Lowering the final octane requirements of the mixture, allowing us to add more timing advance or more boost pressure, and make more horsepower within the same octane limitations.

With a good intercooler, we are able to lower the temperature of the air intake charge to within 30 degrees of the ambient air temperatures. At the same time an intercooler will only have a marginal 0.5 to 1.0 psi pressure drop across the core. Having these figures in mind, the combination of a Supercharger with an efficient intercooler gives us a system that has an adiabatic efficiency much closer to 100%, and this means that we are able to make double the horsepower of our original engine at around 18psi of boost (instead of 27 without the intercooler, and instead of 15 for an ‘ideal’ supercharger) if you care to go through the math behind this scenario.

Once you have your pressure ratio, your density ratio, your intercooler outlet temperatures and your overall horsepower and flow numbers, most supercharger calculators are then able to give you more detailed specs for your car’s buildup (such as exact supercharger gearing figures, and required intake and exhaust dimensions, as well as fuel pressure or fuel flow upgrade requirements). But at the heart of any supercharged or turbocharged vehicle, PV = nRT will always hold true. This is great information to know, because several people have chosen to try and sell water evacuation pumps typically used on boats as ‘electric’ superchargers for small displacement engines. It has been shown many times that by hooking up a boost gauge to the inlet of any of these ‘electrically supercharged’ engines that these bilge pumps do not have the flow or block off pressure capability to raise the inlet mixture’s boost pressure by any measurable amount. Pressure (as we’ve explained earlier) is not the only indication of forced induction… but with NO pressure rise at all, that means that the ‘electric’ supercharger has a 0% efficiency, which means that at best it will just heat up the inlet air and no excess air flow will be observed.

Factors Influencing Solar Panels Efficiency

Efficiency of solar panel is probably one of the reasons why most potential customers hesitate to swap their power source from conventional type to solar power. The worry of many consumers is whether after incurring the cost of solar system installation, the system will produce enough solar power to meet their needs.

Out of the total sun energy that strikes a solar panel only a fraction of it is harnessed and converted into electrical power. Efficiency of a solar panel can be gauged depending on the amount of sunrays it is able to capture and turn into usable power. On average a standard solar panel for home use converts only 20% of the total amount of solar energy that comes into contact with the solar panel. To convert the direct current generated by the solar panel to alternate current a further 15% is lost remaining with only 5 percent for use by the appliance. This means you have to compute the total amount of power that you need so that you can determine the number of solar panel you need to buy.

There are however new technologies that are coming up which are aimed at increasing the efficiency of solar panel. An increase of up to 40% in efficiency and be attained by coating the solar cell with a thin absorbing material. Further, 40% efficiency can also be achieved by use of silicon wafer which is the most commonly used material. Nano particles and magnetic modules are more superior materials with as much as 80% efficiency and the former have an added advantage of harnessing the solar energy even at night.

With eighty percent efficiency solar panel comprising of nano particles can be used to power industrial machine while the standard 20% efficiency panels are ideal for home use. With more and more technologies coming up every other day there are chances of coming up with solar panel that can be highly efficient in generating enough solar power to meet all our needs.

There are factors that affect the solar panel efficiency and their output. The amount of solar energy which reaches the panel is critical. In areas with few hours of sunlight due to weather conditions the efficiency of the solar panel is compromised. Orientation or position of solar panels may also affect their exposure to sunlight and they should be positioned in such a way that they receive maximum solar energy possible and for longer hours. If dust and debris cover the panel they interrupt solar energy reaching the panels reducing their efficiency.

The process of installation can also affect the efficiency of solar panel. The wiring materials and connections have to be done rightly to avoid loss of power. These factors affect not the absorbing ability of the solar panel but the conveying process as well. Regular cleaning of the solar panel is a must to get rid of these materials.

Solar energy may be available in abundance but its process of harnessing and delivery affects its efficiency. The most crucial area that needs more research is solar panel manufacturing technology that can improve the ability of the panel to absorb as much of the suns energy as possible. There is need also to improve the process of conversion from direct current to alternate current.

As earlier implied to have your home solar system performing optimally, pick good quality solar panels and have them installed professionally. This will ensure that you enjoy all the benefits that come with solar power. Among them is reducing the cost you incur to cater for your power needs and doing it in a pollution free manner.

Shoretel Shoregear Sg-220-t1 Vs. Shoretel Shoregear Sg-220-e1

The ShoreGear 220T1 voice switch is 1U half-width, and is capable of supporting up to 220 IP phones or 100 IP phones and a T1 line together. Note that the T1 model differs from the E1 only in the type of internet connection they use. T1 is currently the fastest kind of connection by downloading speed in North Marica, E1 stands for it’s european counterpart. These differ in most of the protocols used while up and downloading, but technically results show the speed is quite the same.

Unlike other solutions, the server can be removed from the ShoreTel UC system and the switches will continue processing calls and text messages. ShoreGear mailbox switch models, unified voice mail and automated attendant functionality. As for the voice calls, the distributed architecture ensures that access to the mailbox will not be interrupted if WAN failure occurs. If ShoreGear Voice Switch fails or there is an isolated fault within the network, the phones become transferred to another voice switch that is turned on.

The system is fully scalable simply by adding the switch and does not require a forklift upgrade. Companies can also pass on ShoreGear IP using Primary Rate Interface options to provide cable channels in tandem and in coordination with the number of already existing telephone exchanges. These voice switches are easy to install and can be centrally managed from any web browser. New ports and users will be added by simply connecting them to the already deployed network. Also there is this ShoreWare Director management software that Shoretel offers you with the ‘gear’, it should automatically find new switches added to the system.

Thus the exceptional ease of management will reduce maintenance and management costs and reduce the overall systems costs. Designed for energy efficiency and independently tested ShoreGear voice switch will also help reduce energy consumption and increase ongoing green business. In separate rankings ShoreTel always gets high marks because of it’s superior IP telephony devices. Technological leadership made available dynamic echo cancellation at ShoreTel, buffering jitter and packet loss results in handling of low latency and high quality communications for calls and access voicemail.

ShoreTel offers innovative solutions that help organizations make significant gains in productivity, as employees spend less time interacting with different voice systems and more time together. The ShoreTel UC system allows flexible dialing across the enterprise, call transfer, web conferencing, video conferencing, call management and intercommunication between sites and easy access to distributed messaging discourse.

Since voice communication is the foundation of any enterprise, it has become standard to demand the utmost in system availability. ShoreGear voice switches exceed stringent requirements of todays enterprise IT, providing 99.999 percent (five nines) availability. The processors that are powering voice switches do not need or use mechanical disk drives, eliminating the the most common points of the system bank failure, the voice switches use an embedded real time operating system and unique call control architecture that allows them to communicate with each other and distribute calls while processing it towards the network.

Communicate with ShoreTel ShoreGear SG 220 T1 and ShoreTel ShoreGear SG-220-E1 on IP Phones, IP softphones and other settings using the Media Gateway Control Protocol. ShoreTel ShoreGear voice switches deliver unified communications to organizations of all size, but mostly small and medium enterprises. These devices unify all kids of communication protocols across all of the enterprise locations, support for IP phones, analog devices, and a huge variety of network interfaces.

How to Improve Energy Efficiency in Houston, TX Homes

The best time of year to make home improvements on home efficiency is before cold weather arrives, especially in Houston, Texas. Doing an inspection for checks to find drafty areas of the home is beneficial in making the home more comfortable and in saving money. Determine what do-it-yourself and professional repairs need to be done to prevent warm air from escaping and cold air from invading.

Radiant Heat Barriers
Call reliable local insulation contractors in Houston, TX to determine what type of protection the attic needs. They may make several recommendations to prevent energy inefficiency in what is typically the least efficient room in the home. Foil radiant heat barriers placed in the attic further prevent heat from leaving the home. This means the heating system doesn’t have to work as hard to keep the house at a pleasant temperature level, leading to further energy savings. These can be installed quickly and, once again, saved money may make it pay for itself in the long run. Foil sheeting costs a little bit more than the typical spray-on Houston radiant barrier, but it is worth the extra investment for those who can afford it. It blocks about 97 percent of the Houston sun’s heat from entering the home in the hot summer.

Chimney
Keep the flue closed in the chimney when it is not in use. Not only does this prevent cold, blustery air from blowing in, it also prevents animals seeking shelter from roosting in the attic for the wintertime. Invest in glass or metal doors in front of the fireplace. Keep them closed when the fireplace is dormant. Use fireproof mortar as needed to fill in chinks in the bricks.

Doors
Add storm windows to exterior screen doors. If they already have them, be sure to lower or raise the windows as winter rolls in. The less chance cold air has to sneak into the home, the less warm air must be generated to combat it. Add a draft blocker in front of doors with gaps beneath them. This is not only useful for the exterior, but interior doors as well. A chilly room that is seldom used harbors cold air which escapes into the warm house.

Crawlspaces
Like attics, Houston crawlspaces can harbor cold air and allow warm air from the rooms above it to escape below. Add insulation to prevent air from escaping to unused portions of the home, such as the crawlspace and attic.