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.

Free Event 11/9 in SF – Energy Modeling

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The SF AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) presents:

Energy Modeling for the Small and Midsize Architecture Firm

November 9, 2010 –  6:00 – 8:00 pm

AIA San Francisco, 130 Sutter Street, Suite 600

With the development of LEED and other energy efficiency standards, energy simulation has developed tremendously over the last decade. It is becoming imperative that architects better understand the available tools so that they can make informed decisions throughout the design process. Given the complexity of energy modeling, this session will focus on how architects in small and mid-size firm can best use energy simulation. What types of questions should be answered with energy models? What types of energy modeling information is most useful, and when during design should it be used? What simulation tools are favored among small and mid-size firms? How do they develop expertise within their design teams and address budgetary constraints? A panel of Bay Area architects and designers, all of whom are noted for advances in sustainable design, will address these questions. Following the panel discussion, the presenters will be available for an extended question-and-answer session.

MODERATOR:

Claire Maxfield

PANELISTS:

Philip Banta, Charlie Stott, David Scheer, & Stet Sanborn

For more information and moderator and panelist bios, see the AIA SF event site, here.

This is a FREE event.

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Lighting, Light Bulbs, and Lingering Habits

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Highlighting a few recent stories…

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Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Research by the California Public Utility Commission staff indicates that if enough existing lighting and lighting for new buildings incorporate the latest technologies, the state could achieve a 60 to 80 percent reduction in light-related energy use. New policies adopted  by the commission promote that goal by encouraging utilities to rethink their current consumer subsidies, which tend to focus on compact fluorescents, in favor of the newer and more energy-efficient technologies. “We need to move on and look at how best to spend our resources on the next step of lighting,” said Theresa Cho, an aide to Commissioner Diane Grueneich. “Our goal is market transformation.” The shelves of Wal-Mart and other big-box stores are already full of compact fluorescents, she said – via the New York Times Green Blog.

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A trio of House Republicans, Joe Barton and Michael Burgess of Texas and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, have introduced the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, which would repeal the section of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that sets minimum energy efficiency standards for light bulbs and would effectively phase out most ordinary incandescents – via the New York Times Green Blog.

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The Department of Energy’s inspector general released an audit on Wednesday showing that it is continuing to buy obsolete fluorescent lamps, bypassing the more modern technologies that it spent tax dollars to develop. Yet even more surprising, it is still buying the familiar incandescent bulbs in place of compact fluorescents. The department operates at 24 sites, and the auditors visited seven of them. “Despite the substantial benefits of C.F.L.’s, all of the sites we visited continued to purchase incandescent lights,” the report said – also via the New York Times Green Blog.

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Major Appliance Efficiency Agreement

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Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

A few days ago, appliance manufacturers and energy efficiency advocates announced an agreement to call for new national minimum efficiency standards to improve energy and water efficiency standards for refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers, clothes dryers, dishwashers, and room air conditioners. The coalition of major appliance manufacturers, their trade union, and the energy efficiency advocates propose that the new national minimum efficiency standards and tax credits be instituted through action by the Department of Energy and by Congress.

According to the press release, the recommended standards and tax credits would save more than 9 quads of energy over 30 years. The recommended water efficiency standards and tax credits for clothes washers and dishwashers would save about 5 trillion gallons of water over 30 years.

Below, I’ve put together a rough timeline of how the proposed standards would take effect:

  • January 2013 – dishwashers would see 14% energy savings and 23% water savings
  • January 2014 – new refrigerator and freezer energy reduced up to 30%
  • June 2014 – room air conditioners would increase in efficiency 10-15%
  • 2015 – top loading clothes washers would have 26% energy savings and 16% water saving compared to current standards
  • 2015 – front loading clothes washers would have 43% energy savings and 52% water savings compared to current standards
  • 2015 – clothes dryers will increase in efficiency 5%
  • 2018 – top loading clothes washers would have 37% energy and water saving compared to current standards

An overview of the agreement is here.

The agreement was signed by major appliance manufacturing members of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) and by major energy and water efficiency organizations, consumer groups and environmental organizations including the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Alliance for Water Efficiency, Alliance to Save Energy, Appliance Standards Awareness Project, Consumer Federation of America, National Consumer Law Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northwest Power and Conservation Council, and Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships.