ACEEE 2012 – Think Bigger: Net Zero Energy Communities

One of the first panel sessions I went to featured a talk by Jeff Harris, of the Alliance to Save Energy.

He covered a lot of ground in defining “net-zero energy,” covering state and federal goals around NZE, detailing many of the appeals of NZE, and then focusing on the potential of NZE communities.

What I found most interesting during his talk was the specific examples of the military’s focus on getting a number of bases to NZE. He noted that there are more than 6 pilot sites targeting ZNE (often used interchangeably with NZE) by 2020. Two of the sites have the additional aggressive goal of being “triple-net-zero,” or net zero energy, water, and waste.

He also mentioned a specific site – Fort Carson – and showed some analysis (I think by the National Renewable Energy Lab, NREL) of what kinds of strategies and systems will be needed to achieve the ZNE goal.

After the session, I found an NREL report online that provides significant detail on the recommendations provided for Fort Carson” “Targeting Net Zero Energy at Fort Carson: Assessment and Recommendations” (link opens a PDF).

Zero Resource at ACEEE Summer Study 2012

I’m spending the week at the 2012 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficient Buildings.

I’ll be sharing interesting information, ideas, and resources with you as the week progresses. Right now, I’m listening to Jeff Harris of The Alliance to Save Energy discuss some of the advantages of thinking about achieving net zero energy goals by looking at the goal at the scale of net-zero energy communities.

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Land Surface Temperatures Over Time

This video shows the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature groups’s land surface temperature data from 1800 to 2009, illustrating overall global warming since the industrial revolution.

Click the image below to watch it on The Guardian website or click here (there may be an ad first).

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More information on the results of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group can be found on their website, here. Team members include Art Rosenfeld.

CEC Approves New California Building Energy Efficiency Standards!

“California officials on Thursday approved energy efficiency standards for new homes and commercial buildings that officials are describing as the toughest in the nation. …

“The new requirements, set to go into effect in 2014, will reduce energy use in California homes and businesses by 25 percent or more, commission officials said.”

Read the full story at the San Francisco Chronicle. I’ll post more details about the new building efficiency standards tomorrow.

For those that want the details now, the full 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards Rulemaking is online here.

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Snippets

Why young people are driving so much less than their parents [The Atlantic]

Berkeley starts to recycle mixed rigid plastics [East Bay Express]

BART is projecting a budget surplus for next fiscal year [SF Examiner]

Urban development projects in California are in limbo [NY Times]

Photo: A water fountain and water bottle filling station at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, IL, by Anna LaRue

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Two Years of Zero Resource

Over the last two years, we have covered a number of topics, from tiny houses, to DOE rules on showerheads, to definitions of terms.

Since the end of February, when WordPress starting showing the statistics, Zero Resource has attracted readers from all over the world.

Over the last two years, the top twenty most popular posts of all time are:

  1. Death Rays
  2. More Tiny Houses
  3. The Difference Between the CEC and CPUC
  4. Tour a Tiny Apartment in Spain
  5. Putrescible Waste
  6. Finding Data – GDP and Electricity Consumption
  7. Alex Wilson, Founder of EBN – Part 1
  8. Plastic Bag / Retail Bag Laws in the U.S.
  9. Bad News About CBECS 2007
  10. Nina Maritz
  11. Are People Clueless about Energy Savings?
  12. MRF (Rhymes with Smurf)
  13. Resilience vs. Sustainability
  14. The Key System
  15. Visualizing the U.S. Power Grid
  16. Do Green Roofs Improve Solar PV Performance?
  17. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
  18. Local Target Stores & Hazardous Waste
  19. Tiny “Spite” Houses
  20. Houses – Small, Reused, and Prefab

Many thanks to all the Zero Resource readers around the world! We look forward to another year.

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Snippets

After 100 years, San Francisco Muni has gotten slower [NY Times]

LBNL and UC Berkeley researchers measured emissions from drayage trucks in the Port of Oakland [EETD newsletter]

A report from UC Davis says water in California’s farm country is polluted by synthetic fertilizers [UC Davis]

A report from the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy chronicles the life and death of urban highways [ITDP website]

Photo: A front yard full of chard in Berkeley, CA, by Anna LaRue

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UC Berkeley myPower Website

Yesterday, UC Berkeley announced several new energy-related tools designed to reduced campus energy use. From the email announcement:

Starting April 3, 2012, the campus community can visit the myPower website to see real-time energy use data for 57 campus buildings. … These dashboards will provide evidence of the cumulative impact of the energy-saving measures you and others in your building take, demonstrating that small actions can add up to a large impact.  The website also provides information about proven ways to save energy in offices, labs, and residence halls.

The screenshot above shows the dashboard for Wurster Hall, which houses the Department of Architecture, among others. I’ll be checking out some of the other campus buildings over the next few days.

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Solar Decathlon Time Lapse

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This week’s video is a time lapse of the construction of the 2009 Solar Decathlon entry from Cornell University, nicknamed the “Silo House.”

You can find more information about the 2009 Solar Decathlon here. You can find more information about the Cornell entry here.

THIS POST IS PART OF OUR FRIDAY VIDEO SERIES.
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Blots, or Blotting

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(Image credit: StructureHub)

I started hearing about blots and blotting late last year, first via a couple posts I found on Shrinking Cities (here and here) and then most recently via a story on NPR. Both sources feature stories about the de-densifying city of Detroit. Interboro claims credit for coining the term “blotting” about eight years ago.

According to Shrinking Cities, “the use of ‘blots’, or ‘side lot expansions’, is a technique that gives homeowners with vacant land adjacent to their home the opportunity to purchase that property as an expansion to their own for a nominal cost.”

The NPR story cites a startling statistic – in Detroit, it’s estimated that up to 40 square miles of land sits vacant.To give a sense of scale,the entire city of San Francisco is about 47 square miles. So both formally and informally, Detroit is encouraging its residents to buy or just sort of annex adjacent properties in order to take care of the properties and stabilize neighborhoods.

Part of our series making sense of eco-lingo and technical terms.
For more, check out our Jargon page.