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It’s a homeowner’s responsibility to make sure that he or she is using appliances that are energy efficient. Replacing a twenty-year-old refrigerator is likely to reduce your electricity bill because a new ENERGY STAR-rated icebox has been designed to do more while using less of the juice. Energy efficiency, however, is not just a concern for the little guy. Utility companies must worry about “line losses,” the electricity that is lost as a result of the inherent inefficiency of the generation and transmission system. In places like Texas and New York, however, engineers are thinking of ways to prevent this waste. Best of all, the savings will be passed on to you, the consumer.
What causes this loss of energy in the first place? There are many reasons, including the flaws in electrical cables and the natural tendency toward entropy. (That’s the principle that says that systems tend to become more disordered over time.) Jim Landers, a columnist for the Dallas Morning News, explains that small amounts of electricity turn into heat as it runs through a conductor. This is one of the reasons that power adaptors can feel warm to the touch when you try to unplug them. This unwanted heat isn’t such a big deal for appliances with short cables. When you think of power transmission cables and the hundreds of miles they can traverse, you can understand why line losses are such a big concern.
In Texas, line loss results in the waste of 6.5% of all the Texas electricity generated in the Lone Star State. While that might not sound like very much, it starts to add up when you think of it in terms of your pocketbook. For every one hundred dollars you pay for Texas electricity, inefficiencies account for $6.50. One way to reduce that amount is to replace old, lower capacity transmission cables with more advanced lines that can handle the kind of high voltages that keep the lights on in modern cities. Landers note that there are plans in place to connect the wind farms of West Texas to the rest of the state via 345-kilovolt lines that boast only 4% inefficiency.
Much like Texans, New Yorkers know what it’s like to need a vast supply of reliable New York electricity. To reduce the effect of line losses, engineers have developed synchrophasors. According to the North American SynchroPhasor Initiative (NASPI), computers can measure voltage running through a line at very high speed. With this detailed information about the flow of energy, utilities can better manipulate the grid to reduce the stress on the system and eliminate some of that waste. For example, if a power plant malfunctions, thereby causing the voltage in the system to fluctuate, the use of synchrophasors allows authorities to quickly address the situation before it causes increased waste. (Or worse, an interruption in supply.)
Matthew L. Wald, a writer for the New York Times, sees the benefits of synchrophasors, reminding readers that current monitoring devices only provide measurements every two to four seconds. The kind of synchrophasors that are being installed in New York and in the Midwest are able to provide feedback thirty times a second, allowing computers to regulate energy flow more fortuitously.
The devices themselves aren’t too expensive: approximately two to three thousand dollars for each synchrophasor. The real cost is derived from the computer and networking system that allows it to interact with the energy grid. Some of this money comes from the Energy Department, but even if residents end up paying to equip the grid with this technology, it’s the kind of wise long-term strategy that will result in long-term savings.
While it certainly will not be cheap to invest so much to establish a more efficient electric grid, it’s also a vital part of a greener future. Wind farms and solar facilities are (just like old-fashioned natural gas and coal power generation plants) often located far away from densely populated areas. As a result, utilities must run miles and miles of cable, resulting in greater line loss. If alternative energies can be more easily worked into the grid, we’ll all save money and enjoy a healthier environment. So the next time you read about improvements being made by state or local electric utilities, remember that something as simple as the cable strung between your home and the power plant can have a big effect on your monthly bill.
The 179D tax deduction came about as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). Congress wanted to incentivize the utilization of energy-efficiency components in a building to one of the following parties:
1.The owner of the building
3.The primary designer of an energy-efficient government building. (Architect, engineer, contractor etc.)
The deduction available is up to $.60 per sq./ft. for lighting, HVAC and building envelope, creating potential for $1.80 per sq./ft. if all three components qualify. These deductions are applicable to buildings that were either built or retrofitted after 12/31/2005.
Since EPAct came into effect, the IRS has provided interim guidance on EPAct deductions through several additional notices. IRS Notice 2006-52 describes in detail the rules and how to ensure a building qualifies if it was a new build or a retrofit. It requires the taxpayer to obtain certification that the property satisfies the energy efficiency requirements of 179D and specifies the software that must be used to calculate energy and power consumption. To further the cause, the IRS issued Notice 2008-40, which allowed a government building (non-taxpaying entity) to pass the deduction to the “primary designer” of the qualifying assets.
Until recently, taxpayers looking to claim the 179D deduction were limited by the three year statute of limitations for filing amended income tax returns for a particular tax year. That has changed with the issuance of Revenue Procedure 2011-14, which will allow some taxpayers to bypass this statute of limitations and claim this deduction all the way back to 1/1/2006 without filing one single amended income tax return. Taxpayers who wish to take the deduction without amending any returns will file a Form 3115 (Application for Change in Accounting Method) and will get to take the entire “catch up” deduction on the return that is being filed. This means that a taxpayer could potentially claim deductions from 2006-2010 (or 2011) all on one return and significantly reduce their tax burden, if not eliminate it altogether.
Deciding whether or not to amend returns or file for a Change in Accounting Method (Form 3115) is entirely dependent upon each taxpayers situation. If taxable income was higher in open years and therefore the taxpayer was in a higher tax bracket, it still may make sense to amend those returns. The impact of Revenue Procedure 2011-14 will also depend on whether or not any deductions have already been claimed or returns have been amended. A thorough analysis of each taxpayers scenario by an advisor experienced in 179D is advantageous to determining the best approach and claiming the maximum deduction allowed under the law.
Aluminium lean-to conservatories provide superb thermal and energy efficiency none more so than lean-to conservatories designed by Apropos.
Apropos lean-to conservatories conform to the highest standards and regulations for thermal and energy efficiency; meaning that, in the colder months, their lean-to conservatories can be enjoyed as much as they would be in the summer months.
First the statistics…
Apropos lean-to conservatories offer one of the best thermal efficiency ratings on the market – with a structural U-value of 1.6 W/mK and a centre pane U-value of 1.1 W/mK.
What does this mean?…
It means that Apropos bespoke lean-to conservatories are super efficient at retaining heat during cold weather. Conservatories of old were chilly places in the winter months, and, more often than not, shut off from the rest of the property by external-style patio doors. Not so Apropos modern lean-to conservatories, which act as hubs for family life all-year around.
The lean-to conservatories designed and manufactured by Apropos provide a welcoming space for all the family to enjoy, whatever the weather outside. Indeed, lean-to conservatories need not be partitioned off with bulky doors. Beautiful archways can be created to allow access into the lean-to conservatories at all times with householders safe in the knowledge that warm, inviting environments will be awaiting them in their lean-to conservatories.
At this time of year, with cold weather fast approaching, it is reassuring to know that lean-to conservatories will withstand the harsh winter months.
Of course, lean-to conservatories can be used as sun rooms or even as greenhouses in the summer months, with amazing folding sliding doors allowing wonderful freedom to maximise the garden; but lean-to conservatories can also be used as dining rooms, living rooms, and kitchen extensions throughout the year.
Indeed, in a few weeks time many families will either be preparing or tucking into their Christmas dinners in their own lean-to conservatories; enjoying the magnificent settings that lean-to conservatories provide for such occasions. Indeed, should it be a white Christmas then the picture will be complete. Proof indeed that lean-to conservatories are super family places to be enjoyed whatever the weather.
If you want to learn more about lean-to conservatories please request a brochure at http://www.apropos-conservatories.com/contact-us.php, or a free design consultation at http://www.apropos-conservatories.com/design-consultation. Alternatively, telephone 0800 328 0033.
There are only minor changes to the energy efficiency provisions in the newly released BCA 2012, volumes 1 and 2. Mostly the changes are to terminology and explanatory information, intended to clarify several of the provisions. There has been one change to Table J1.3a in Section J which is of particular note; the required R-Value for roof and ceiling construction in climate zones 4 and 5 have been amended to align with climate zones 1, 2 and 3.
See below for a full list of changes.
BCA 2012 Volume 1 “” Section J:
J0.2(a)(ii) – The reference to the 2006 edition of the ABCB Protocol for House Energy Rating Software Version has been removed. The deletion is a consequence of the recognition of NatHERS as the appropriate accreditation scheme for house energy rating software.
Table J1.3a – Climate zones 4 and 5 have been amended to align with climate zones 1, 2 and 3 for the required R-Value for roof and ceiling construction.
Table J1.3b – The table has been expanded to include values for when the minimum R-Value of ceiling insulation required to satisfy J1.3(a) is less than R2.5.
Table J2.4c – The heat shading multiplier figure for climate zone 8 South orientation sector, where the G value is more than 100 mm but not more than 500 mm and has a P/H value of two, has been amended from 0.75 to 0.50.
J5.2(a)(vii) – The specific examples of applications described that could attain an exemption for an outdoor air economy cycle have been replaced with the generic term of ‘process related applications’, with the existing examples now referenced in the Guide to Volume One.
J5.2(b)(ii) – The defined term ‘outdoor air’ has been included in the provision for clarification.
J5.2(b)(iii)(B) – Minimum ventilation requirements when an atmospheric contaminant monitoring system is installed in a carpark have been relocated to the more appropriate location of F4.11(b) and revised to include a more practical control strategy.
J5.2(d)(iv) – A new sub-clause has been included to exempt a Class 8 electricity network substation from complying with the power for mechanical ventilation requirements of J5.2(b)(iii).
J5.3(b)(iii) – A new sub-clause has been included to exempt a Class 8 electricity network substation from complying with the time switch requirements of J5.3.
J5.5(b)(iv) – A new sub-clause has been included to exempt a Class 8 electricity network substation from the miscellaneous exhaust system requirement of J5.5(a).
J6.1 – The application of part has been reinstated to exempt a Class 8 electricity network substation from compliance with J6.2, J6.3 and J6.5(a)(ii).
Table J6.2a Note – Note 4 to the table has been amended to clarify that a control device which is required by J6.3 is not an allowable adjustment factor under Table J6.2b.
J6.3(d)(ii)(A) – Clarification has been added that a security key card reader must register a person entering and leaving the building.
J8.1 – The application of part has been amended to exempt a Class 8 electricity network substation from compliance with the requirements of Part J8.
Specification J5.4 – Note 2 has been amended to cover applications where local clearances Table 2a adjoining plant do not allow for the installation of insulation.
BCA 2012 Volume 2 “” Part 3.12:
3.12 – A new defined term “house energy rating software” has been included to nominate the acceptable accrediting national scheme for software used to assess the thermal efficiency of a dwelling envelope.
3.12 Explanatory Information – New explanatory information has been included to explain the purpose of the NatHERS scheme.
3.12 – As a consequence of changes to the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target scheme the defined term “Renewable Energy Certificate” has been deleted and replaced by a new defined term ‘Small-scale Technology Certificate’.
3.12.0 Explanatory Information – The explanatory information regarding the two options for complying with 3.12.1 to 3.12.4 has been amended to clarify the delineation between the Energy Rating and the Elemental Provisions options.
18.104.22.168 – Reference to the ABCB Protocol for House Energy Rating Software has been removed. The deletion is a consequence of the recognition of NatHERS as the appropriate accreditation scheme for house energy rating software.
22.214.171.124 Explanatory Information – The explanatory information has been amended to correct the terminology used and to align with the solar absorptance values of Table 126.96.36.199a.
Table 188.8.131.52b – The table has been expanded to include values for when the minimum R-Value of ceiling insulation required to satisfy 184.108.40.206(a) is less than R2.5.
Table 220.127.116.11 Note 2 – Note 2 has been amended to clarify the relationship of ventilation opening area and the presence of ceiling fans or evaporative coolers in determining if a habitable room has High air movement.
Table 18.104.22.168 Explanatory Information – Note 4 of the explanatory information has been simplified to a tabular example demonstrating the relationship of ventilation opening area and the presence of ceiling fans.
22.214.171.124(b)(iii) – The term ‘area of floor’ has been replaced with the defined term “floor area” for consistency with Part 3.8.5 and Part 3.12.2.
Table 126.96.36.199 – The term “area of floor” has been replaced with the defined term ‘floor area’ for consistency with Part 3.8.5 and Part 3.12.2.
188.8.131.52(a)(iii) – Clarification has been added that the lighting provisions for a Class 10a building only apply to Class 10a buildings associated with a Class 1 building.
184.108.40.206(b) – Reference to the defined term “Renewable Energy Certificate” has been deleted and replaced by “Small-scale Technology Certificate” as a consequence of changes made to the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target scheme.
As a roofing contractor in the state of Wisconsin, I continually field requests for light colored (reflective) roofing for the purpose of energy efficiency. A white or light colored roof will reflect sunlight, keep the building cooler, and reduce energy consumptionCorrect?
It depends on where you live and the insulation value of the building.
Most roofing material comes in a variety of colors. EPDM (rubber) membrane, for instance, is a very common low slope roofing material that comes in black or white. In the case of EPDM, the white color is much more expensive. Many consumers will justify spending more on white instead of black EPDM since they believe that there will be energy savings. Asphalt shingles come in a variety of different colors from light to dark. Some shingle manufacturers, such as GAF, have marketed Cool Series asphalt shingles that are designed to be more reflective of sunlight.
Significant studies have been conducted to study the effect of roof color on energy consumption. Heat transfer will occur from the roof into the interior of the building if there is a low level of insulation and resulting low R-Value (thermal resistance). As R-value and thermal resistance increases with better insulation systems, the type and color of roofing material becomes less and less important. In general, an R-value of 30 or more negates any energy efficiency gains from white or light colored roofing material in hot climates. It stands to reason the most effective way to decrease a buildings energy consumption is to increase insulation levels.
There are situations in which the building structure itself cannot be insulated more effectively and a low R-value cannot be avoided. What color of roofing material would be best in this situation? It depends on where you live and the climate. Do you have more heating degree days or cooling degree days? Here in Wisconsin, we definitely have more heating degree days. Therefore, a dark colored roof will help heat interior building spaces and decrease energy consumption over time. In colder climates, dark colored roofs are the most energy efficient. The opposite is true for hot climates. It would be well worth the extra investment in purchasing white roofing material in Southern Florida. Central regions of the United States are considered color-neutral. In these areas, studies have shown that energy efficiency is not impacted by roof color.
With the increase in roofing material choices, it has become increasingly important that roof designers, contractors, and facilities managers consider the right roofing material for the right situation. Reflective roofing has become a knee-jerk reaction for some designers and contractors who do not take climate zones or insulation levels into consideration. Focus should remain on insulation systems and improving insulation value when optimizing energy efficiency. Advances in insulation technology have created opportunities to increase insulation value in almost any circumstance. Spray-on foam insulation and plywood manufactured with imbedded rigid foam insulation have become popular and effective systems to increase R-value in tight spaces.
Every building and every roof system is different. Roof design for energy efficiency must take into consideration climate zone and insulation value. With sufficient insulation, roof color becomes insignificant in the energy efficiency equation.
A recent article by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy listed 10 programs that spurred organisations and customers to save energy. The findings acutely show that behavioural programs can be especially effective.
Improving energy efficiency is an important topic on the timetable of most organisations these days. The benefits are numerous, from lowering carbon footprint to the most outstanding of all cutting down on costs with energy. So million dollar question is: How to enhance business energy efficiency?
There are many ways to do so but this is not quite what I want to talk about in this column. I wont be propounding you change all the lights in your company to LED lights, even though that is one the most cost effective ways to enhance your business’ energy efficiency.
In this item I’d like to contest what is more effective consumer education or infrastructure updates. One could say that by combining both you could achieve greater results but that you will have to adjudge once you have finished reading this article.
Purchaser education has proven to be an effective way to better energy efficiency of households and businesses alike. When combined with programs that apply social science to energy conservation it can incite individuals to reduce consumption and make choices that will enable their companies to save as well.
Such programmes are an attractive way to reduce energy consumption since they have low initial cost and require little change to existing business processes / lifestyles.
However, simply relying on consumer/employee education might not be adequate. There is a real danger that energy efficiency gains seen from consumer/employee behaviour will go away over time.
That is when infrastructural upgrades come into the picture. Even though they necessitate a greater upfront investment if evaluated properly and done right such upgrades could generate better benefits. The down side is that most of these benefits will only be noticed in the long run.
But there is no better time to start upgrading your business with more energy efficient machinery. With many governments around the globe offering funds to subsidise these changes. For instance here in the UK the Government is creating the Green Investment Bank.
If you are unsure of which route to take in order to save energy. Why not ask for professional help. Hire an energy consultancy or an independent energy broker to inspect your premises and suggest the best and most effective options for you business.
As environmental issues begin to take center attention in the minds of people and on the agendas of legislature, saving energy has become an important issue facing many companies. For any business that deploys a significant amount of information technology resources, including anything from office computers to servers and data storage, reducing energy consumption while increasing resource efficiency is easier with cloud services.
Cloud services are on-demand, network-available computing resources, programs, and managed services. Also known as virtualization, physical IT resources can be utilized on a subscription or per-use basis through remote hosting. For example, software can be used through a remote provider via a network connection rather than purchasing and installing a local copy or license of that program onto every computer. Data storage can be leased in the same way instead of purchasing and installing more servers.
Cloud services have been recognized as offering many companies flexible, low-cost technology solutions that can be scaled to meet changes in demand effortlessly, all without capital outlays and dedicated support personnel and overhead. Let us examine some specific examples of employing cloud services to both achieve energy efficiency and productivity.
Data Security and Reliability Through Remote Backup Services
The bread and butter of IT resources usually consist of data management and backup, whether it is customer accounts, order histories, or client records. Cloud services can be leveraged to streamline data storage through a single portal and a single location. Most companies end up adding storage capacity over time to accommodate growth, but that creates a lot of disparate data devices that all have to be maintained separately. Virtual data hosting simplifies the entire process.
Virtual data storage services provide a number of benefits for companies of any size. In regards to green IT, virtual data storage is performed on high-performance media that consume less energy and is dynamically scaled to meet demands without waste. Coordinated storage procedures through a single, remote source ensure reliable data backup procedures and easy disaster recovery. All of these features are purchased on an as-needed plan without in-house support departments and overhead.
Managed services for data reliability include procedures compatible with PCI/DDS, Sarbanes-Oxley, and HIPPA in a plug-and-play setup.
Efficient Document and Information Management through Email Archiving
Even companies that are not heavily dependent on data still generate and manage a large volume of emails and electronic documents. Email archiving is performed by nearly every employee in an office, quickly generating hundreds and thousands of data pieces, each managed in small quantities in a different manner by each worker. This quickly creates a situation where important emails are spread out between computer hard drives, backup disks, and network drives and are not easily accessible.
Secure email archiving works to consolidate all of this data and creates effective standards in order to improve accessibility and increase reliability. This data consolidation utilizes high efficiency storage devices to save on costs and energy usage. Email archiving routines will consolidate emails, remove duplicates, and compress data all through remote managed services and internet connections to data centers. Add in retention policies and automated backup sessions and the increased efficiencies translate into saved costs, time, and energy.
Expanding IT Resources with Virtual Infrastructure
In addition to data storage and management, nearly any IT device or infrastructure can be virtualized. Cloud services cover everything from operating system virtualization, such as applications and software, to hardware, like networks, servers, and data centers, to managed services, such as regulatory compliance, industry best practices, and security and reliability procedures.
The power of virtual infrastructure lies in its scalability. Instead of periodic capital outlays for upgrades and expansions, cloud services are matched to current and future needs with instant expansions and reductions in services to follow the business cycle and seasonal operations. This efficiency translates into cutting excess costs and consuming only the minimum amount of energy. In addition, remote managed services create a safety net through redundant systems and backups for quick disaster recovery with a minimal loss in business continuity.
Like a utility provider, customers only pay for what they use without ever having systems running idle. The reductions in power consumption can form the basis of green initiatives that enable companies to rethink mission statements and company values with environmental concerns in mind. Beyond corporate culture, green solutions also carry the potential for securing incentive programs from local and federal governments. In the end, green cloud and managed services allows business to run more efficiently.
Air conditioners are some of the home appliances that homeowners need to keep their homes comfortable. However, they are also some of the home appliances that raise the energy bills in your home. Buying an energy efficient air conditioning unit is therefore necessary if you want to keep your energy bills at a manageable level and still keep your home cooled. The following is a short buying guide for buying an air conditioner.
First, decide whether a ducted air conditioning unit or a split wall hung air conditioner best suits your home. Ducted air conditioners best suit large houses with multiple rooms. Split systems are best suited for small rooms.
Second, start by looking at your home before going shopping. This will allow you decide what sizing of the air conditioner is required for your home. The sizing of the air conditioning unit doesnt mean its physical size. Rather, it means its capacity in British Thermal Units (BTU). To determine the air conditioner size you will need for your home, there are a number of features to look at. The most basic feature is the size of the rooms. In addition to this; look at the insulation in the rooms, window orientation, number of occupants in each room, artificial lighting and, appliances and furniture in the room among other features.
Third, look at additional components in each air conditioner and how useful they can be in making the air conditioning unit more energy efficient. For example, an air conditioner with a programmable thermostat will enable you set the unit to switch on and off at predetermined times. Most air conditioners with additional components will be on the high end. The best way to determine whether they are worth investing in or not is looking at what value they are adding in terms of reducing the energy consumption of the air conditioning unit.
Fourth, look for alternative air conditioners. Common air conditioners are plugged onto the electricity outlets in the house. Today, there are green air conditioners which are solar powered. These will enable you save on up to half the energy consumption in your home.
Fifth, look at the manufacturers warranties placed on the air conditioners. Like other electrical appliances, an air conditioning unit is prone to ear and tear. The warranty on the parts guarantees that the manufacturer will replace or repair worn out parts within the warranty period. Since the average air conditioner will last between 5 and 20 years, its best to look for an air conditioner with a longer warranty period to ensure that worn out and broken parts are replaced on time ensuring efficiency.
Finally, look at the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio value of the air conditioning unit. A higher value indicates that the air conditioning unit is energy efficient.
Presently the organizations have been aiming at efficient ways and procedures to attain more with less, reducing IT expenses and even minimize the incidental costs associated with data center growth and expansion. In today’s competitive market scenario data center managers need to focus on establishing effective operating environments to support the life of the existing data centers. There are numerous ways in which companies can attain data center efficiency and is inclusive of setting up a cold aisle containment system, efficient utilization of outside air and maximize compute densities. The main component however is to maintain a comprehensive metric system to evaluate how efficient is the data center and what are the efficiency enhancements that have been created.
How to estimate data center energy efficiency?
PUE, i.e. power usage effectiveness is one of the most common metrics used for calculating data center energy efficiency. It is calculated by taking into account the overall power consumption of the data center facility and then dividing it by the power consumed by the devices. The ratio that you arrive at is the effective power overhead for a single IT unit load. Most data center managers today are expected to find out ways to reduce the PUE so that the data centers can find a better way to expand.
A better way to expand is by partnering with a data center solution provider that will free organizations from all the worries of establishing and maintaining critical mission IT architecture. Advanced data center today fulfill all the needs for cloud computing services, shared hosting services, dedicated hosting services, collocation services and other security and firewall solutions. In addition to that, the organizations remain secure and well supported 24 x 7 with advanced facilities and industry leading SLAS.
Furthermore, these solution providers offer you the various ways to bring about a change and enhancement in data center energy efficiency. Two essential ways are:-
Minimizing the power that is used for the support infrastructure
Minimizing losses within the power system
By following the above mentioned ways you can ensure greater power entering the data center thereby improving its energy efficiency and reducing the PUE. At the same time, it is critical for an organization to bring down the power system losses and the power utilized for supporting infrastructure. Concurrently, it is also apparent that the mass power consumption in the data center gets transferred to the IT load. If an organization can bring down the IT load then it can naturally reduce the overall power required in the data center.