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Save Money With These Great Home Improvement Tips

Do you enjoy improving upon your home? If you answered “yes,” then great! You have stumbled onto an article that can reaffirm your home improvement knowledge and may even improve your skills. Incorporating the knowledge in this article into your next job can help you out.

Removing dated wallpaper is a home improvement that can completely transform the interior of your house. If you have money to spend, the best way to remove wallpaper would be to buy a commercial stream wallpaper stripper. If, however, you are on a limited budget, fill a spray bottle with a mixture of hot water and fabric softener and completely saturate the wallpaper. Leave the wallpaper for a few minutes then carefully peel off with a putty knife.

One of the best ways to increase value in a home, is to add additional rooms. This can be done by reducing the size of the back yard and increasing the size of the living room or another family area. This is a great advantage to selling your home.

Taking good care of your home is as important as putting money in your savings account on a regular basis. Well maintained homes are worth more money than those which need lots of deferred maintenance. By keeping up with small fixes, you will keep your home at it’s prime market value.

Remove an old vinyl tile with heat. Old vinyl tiles often need to be replaced. Getting them up without damaging the tiles around them, however, can be a challenge. Place a dry towel over the tile and then heat it with an iron. The adhesive should loosen and the tile can then be easily removed using a putty knife.

Windows

Is your home getting to hot in the day or is your home too bright for your liking? If so, you should try tinting the windows in your home. This is a fairly easy process that most people can do on their own. Additionally, tinting your windows saves a lot on your cooling bill.

Making your home improvements energy efficient will be good for the environment and for your bills. You should use money to block drafts, seal windows, and insulate walls before doing any aesthetic renovations and then take the money you save on your bills and put it away towards the renovations you dream of.

New Windows

Are your windows outdated? Do they provide the right insulation? Maybe one or two of them are cracked or perhaps the style and design just doesn’t fit the times anymore. Updating to new windows improves the beauty of your home as well as the value. Consider getting new windows if it is time.

To increase energy efficiency and save significantly on your utility bills, consider replacing single pane windows with newer energy efficient ones. The investment you make in new windows now will easily pay for itself over time as your utility bills will be lower and, of course, your home will be more comfortable.

Did you enjoy going through information on an activity that you enjoy? Did you find anything that you can use on your next job? This article was written to help people like you reaffirm their enjoyment of the activity, along with learning a few pro tips and tricks to improve your home.

It is also useful to read about Velfac energy windows ( Velfac energiruder in Danish) advantages.

Energy Efficiency Public Relations Can Help Businesses Educate Consumers

As an energy firm, or any business for that matter, you understand the complexities of todays supply issues. Growing global demand and dwindling carbon-based reserves have put a strain on our energy ingenuity. In light of this, we are faced with a few options. One is to simply abandon our advanced way of life, or limit the spread of industrial technology. Another is to simply continue our current trajectory and deal with the issue when it happens. The third and most reasonable approach is to modify our consumption in addition to developing new energy sources.

So the best way to go about this is to reduce and conserve power. It saves the environment and saves money. But it can be much more. With energy efficient public relations, you can maximize your efforts and use your budget for advertising and marketing in the most efficient manner.

But what does a energy efficient public relations campaign entail? The first thing it includes is a significant change by your firm. This does not mean it ahs to be large in terms of scope, but it must be meaningful. If you manufacture something, reducing power use with newer equipment can mean a lot. Or if you run an It firm, replacing older inefficient servers with newer ones can cut wattage and improve your data capabilities. Whatever the case is, you have to make some kind of commitment or change that will result in decreased energy use.

Once you have taken that step or outlined a long term plan to reduce power use and increase your efficiency, energy efficient public relations takes full effect. This means you will have appropriate media coverage and industry attention on your advancements. This attention can be in the form of appropriate papers, awards, partnerships with environmental agencies and general promotion. Regardless of what specific media outlets you target, you will want to have your energy efficiency public relations campaign run by the best people possible.

Unless your firm is an expert in energy efficient public relations or public relations in general, you will run into a few glitches and worst of all not be as efficient or as effective as you could be. Take for example Makovsky + Company. For over 3 decades, they have been working on energy efficient public relations campaigns. They have the expertise and resources to design and implement an energy efficiency public relations campaign that meets your goals.

This is due to their commitment to specialized thinking. When approaching energy efficiency public relations, they will do so in a unique way. This means truly evaluating your competition and the challenges you currently. In fact, they will even look down the road at difficulties you could face in the future. Partnering with them will get you the full energy efficiency public relations package. No aspect is left unconsidered.

In todays market, cutting costs, improving the bottom line and boosting your image are all things that can make or break your firm, and having an energy efficiency public relations campaign is part of the solution.

Nj Energy Audit Is First Step Toward Energy Efficiency

Through an NJ energy audit, you will achieve lower energy consumption and a whole lot better energy performance throughout your home. You can also considerably lower your energy bills and even improve the quality of air in your home. There is something more that an energy audit can give you. It can make you qualify for up to $5,000 dollar-for-dollar direct rebates that you can directly use for the overall upgrade of your energy-using materials. To top that, you can also qualify for $500 tax credits until December 2013 from the federal government. If your house is over 10 years old, you can qualify for this energy rebate. Other points for qualification are air conditioner compressor that is older than 8 years, furnace that has been more than 10 years in use, and water heater that is older than 5 years.

Energy Audit Process

Savings for you can only come from improved energy efficiency. It all starts with an energy audit from the experts, such as an NJ energy audit. A highly trained energy auditing technician will give your home a thorough technical inspection including your furnace, attic, and crawlspace areas. The technician will also inspect your water heater, appliances, and air conditioning units. The findings and the resulting recommendations will be included in a report that will be subsequently submitted by the technicians auditing company to the New Jersey Clean Energy Program.

Improved Home Heating

An upgrade to your home heating is one of the best ways to make energy use more efficient in your home. These upgrade and improvements can be done by such companies that perform heating repair in South Jersey. The result is an overall efficiency upgrade to your energy-consuming systems at home. These technical experts professionally inspect your home heating system and provide recommendations for its improvement. Some technical recommendations include the use of a better thermostat for better heat control, installation of more thermostats for heat control in individual rooms, and change into a new and energy-efficient furnace.

Efficiency Lowers Energy Costs

Only when heating and air conditioning appliances are repaired, improved, and upgraded can we be assured that energy efficiency can be achieved. Likewise, only energy efficiency can bring about reduced energy bills and costs. One of the best ways to achieve all these is through the repair of heating appliances by professionally trained companies that accomplish heating repair in South Jersey. These companies and their technicians do the most effective repairs after a thorough inspection of your heating appliances. The result is improved quality of air in your home and reduced energy costs.

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.

The Oreck Family History

The Oreck company is known for making vacuums, but it also produces air cleaners and miscellaneous household products. The company makes several models of household vacuums, shop (wet/dry) vacuums, floor waxers and refinishers, and air purifiers.

The Oreck Corporation was founded by David Oreck in the United States in 1963. The company is based in New Orleans, Louisiana, and its principal manufacturing facilities are in a modern 375,000 square foot factory in Long Beach, Mississippi.

Oreck Corporation started as a manufacturer of upright vacuum cleaners for the hotel industry in the United States. They designed a lightweight yet powerful and durable vacuum which was preferred by hotel housekeepers over the very heavy models available at that time. Oreck vacuums proved so popular that they are now used in over 50,000 hotels worldwide. After using these efficient vacuums at work, hotel personnel wanted to buy the machines for home use, which prompted Oreck to manufacture household models as well as their commercial line. Their products, while not cheap, are known for exceptional durability and ease of handling.

The Oreck XL 8-pound vacuum cleaner, aside from being one of the lightest models on the market, has a factory-tested estimated product lifespan of 18 years. The Arthritis Foundation gave this vacuum an Ease-of-Use Commendation for its exclusive Helping Hand Handle, which is ergonomically designed to reduce strain on wrists and arms. The user can simply push and pull the vacuum without having to grip the handle tightly, making it much easier to use for arthritis sufferers.

The Oreck air cleaner works by attracting air particles such as pollen and dust onto an electrically-charged collection grid. One unit can clean the air of a 30 foot square room. After passing air over a collection plate to trap particles, an Air Revitalizer is added at the end of the air cleaner which releases negative ions to revitalize the air. The Air Revitalizer can be turned on or off on the Professional Air Purifier. Leaving theAir Revitalizer on provides a pleasant, clean smell, but has no effect on the air purifiers cleaning efficiency.

The Oreck Air Purifier is not an ozone generator because it does not rely on ozone as part of the cleaning process. However, ozone is a natural by-product of many electrical appliances. The Air Purifiers Air Revitalizer emits only a very low level of ozone, well under UL and FDA guidelines of 50 ppb (parts per billion). Though ozone generators are sold by other manufacturers, they do a poor job of cleaning the air and generate high levels of ozone, especially in small spaces, which irritate the lungs. Consumers are advised by health authorities and the EPA not to purchase these units.

The collection grid of the Oreck air purifier, which should be kept clean to maintain the efficiency of the unit, is easy to remove and can be washed simply by a short soak in warm water and detergent. The company offers a specialized cleaning solution for the collection cell, but unless the air is full of tarry substances such as cigarette smoke, this is not necessary. Other than the carbon filter, which is not necessary to clean the air, there are no disposable filters to buy.

The Oreck model functions differently from a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance, and These filters use a mat of very fine fibers to capture airborne particles.

HEPA filters create high resistance to airflow, which gets worse as the filter loads with dirt. This resistance causes HEPA units to use more energy , and cost more to operate. As the filter becomes more and more clogged, performance declines. Therefore, HEPA units require the user to frequently change the expensive filters. Since Oreck uses only a washable collection plate, continuing cost is not an issue with their air filters.

However, it is important to keep the collection cell clean, as it does not function well once it covered with dust. The company advises users to wash the collector after 4 weeks of initial use and every 8 weeks thereafter, but every house has a different amount of dust, so it is best to check the unit every few weeks to see whether a film has accumulated on the collector.

New units come with a 3-year warranty, and reconditioned units come with a 1-year warranty. The company has been in business for a long time and has a good reputation for honoring its guarantees.

Get Datacenter Energy Efficiency Easily

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.

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How Cooling Systems Can Improve Your Energy Efficiency

The business case for energy efficiency is a powerful one. At the end of 2010, the Carbon Trust reported that the average return on investment of energy-efficiency projects carried out in commercial premises is 48%. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that to invest in sustainability is to save money.

But while the UK government is supporting carbon reduction by introducing grants and green initiatives, these have done little more than skew people’s perception of what represents an energy saving. With heavy focus applied to insulation and heating, cooling strategies have been left rather more out in the cold.

The hot topic

The government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was announced in March 2011 to drastically alter the way heat is generated and used in buildings and homes. Britain’s largest energy users are required by the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme to start lowering carbon emissions so will naturally be enticed by such offers. But incentives like the RHI fail to acknowledge that when a commercial building is designed, the crowds of people and electrical appliances that then occupy it are not taken into account.

Human bodies and devices such as computers, printers, coffee makers, toasters and refrigerators generate an exceptional amount of heat and cause room temperatures to dramatically increase. So, instead of heating, most commercial buildings need to bring temperatures down in order to maintain a comfortable environment and maintain staff productivity.

Office cooling, namely air conditioning, represents a huge energy burden, and can increase a building’s emissions by 100%, according to Carbon Trust research. So, to use it on a daily basis yet take a grant to invest in heating and insulation is a notion most people would surely see as perverse.

The reality of air conditioning is that, despite its widespread use, the energy it consumes often goes to waste. Realistically, without tackling this problem it is unlikely than any commercial building will be able to create a truly energy-efficient environment, no matter how much government grant money it is awarded.

Here comes the sun

As we all know, when the sun comes out in the UK, it is met with something resembling blind panic. Whether in the heights of summer or the depths of winter, sunshine causes heat to build up through unprotected glass windows. These windows then get thrown open to create a through draft, or in colder months, blinds will be snapped shut to block out the sun’s glare, meaning that lights have to be switched on. Either way, this behaviour ends up negating the effect of air conditioning, causing wildly fluctuating internal temperatures and eating up a large, unnecessary supply of heat and energy.

Such widespread and basic energy wastage should not be allowed to continue. Maintaining stable internal temperatures requires more than efficient heating and insulation; businesses need a cooling solution that minimises air conditioning, allows natural light to enter the building and helps to block out heat, rather than trap it within the building. One of the most simple and most cost-effective solutions that can deliver all of these benefits is one you may not have heard of: solar-control window film.

By rejecting up to 82% of solar energy, window film can reduce internal temperatures by up to ten degrees. This stops air conditioning units from being maxed out during sunny spells, meaning that internal temperatures are kept stable and extreme peaks in energy usage are reduced.

Cooling systems can therefore be run more efficiently and inexpensively, reducing a building’s cooling load by 30%, or roughly 5% of the energy bill. If window film were taken into consideration during the design stages of a new building, savings would be greater still as businesses would reduce cooling requirements from the outset; using smaller, cheaper air conditioning units that are easier to install and maintain. In plain English, this could mean thousands of pounds in savings to many UK firms.

Love in a cold climate

With budgets being squeezed and such significant carbon reductions to be made, the heat is on for UK businesses to find meaningful ways to lower emissions. It is the responsibility of our government to steer them in the right direction. Improved insulation and heating is, without doubt, an effective means of preventing energy waste, but without considering the likely effects of over-heating, businesses are in danger of missing the bigger picture.

While most UK businesses will currently look to insulation as their first port of call for energy savings, more vocal support for solutions such as window film by government schemes and incentives, would show these companies that such measures are just the tip of the iceberg.

Know Why The European Energy Efficiency Rules Are Worthy

When it pertains to initiatives on climate change and control of emissions, the European Union is one of the most proactive governmental blocks as they go on with setting standards for energy efficiency. Recently, the EU issued new rules that will help ensure energy efficiency by requiring all industrial, commercial, and household machines and appliances to have labels displayed. As part of the major roster change, this is to ensure that energy efficiency will be a top priority to help commercial agenda move forward.

The rules on energy efficiency issued by the European Parliament insist that all building that are new and constructed after 2020 should have to be powered by renewable energy sources. Buildings account for a significant proportion of greenhouse gases emitted and it has long been recognized that stringent action should be taken to apply energy efficiency rules for new building stock.

The EU has been one of the most proactive governmental blocks pertaining to the war against climate change and in controlling emissions, continuously setting high standards of energy efficiency. They have recently issued new energy efficiency rules that expand the need to display labels on industrial, commercial and household appliances and machines. This is part of a sweeping roster change, aimed at ensuring that energy efficiency is at the top of the commercial agenda going forward.

Since buildings have a lifespan of approximately 50 years, the environmental impact should not be underestimated. Renovation and retrofitting can only go so far and new emphasis is being placed on sustainable efforts during the process of construction, as well as during the design phase. The European Union’s energy efficiency rules dictate that all buildings made after 2020 will conform to this philosophy.

The European Parliament is convinced that education is paramount when it comes to achieving high energy efficiency standards and as such, labels must now be attached to energy consuming products for industrial or commercial use across the Union. Windows and framework must also be appropriately labeled, so that users can see how much energy they are responsible for and can choose wisely, in advance.

If consumers, individuals or corporations are in possession of all the right information, they can choose to include appliances that work well according to their sustainability objectives. Each appliance or asset must perform with ultimate energy efficiency in the “carbon era” of tomorrow, or the user will be responsible for additional fees in one way or another.

The concept of carbon taxation or “cap and trade” restrictions is not new in the European Union, as their Energy Efficiency Scheme has been in place since 2005. Such concepts are beginning to become clear in the United States, where the corresponding legislation is already being considered, which will most probably include a cap and trade and taxation options.

In order to provide detailed information pertaining to energy use and carbon emissions, procedures and systems need to be implemented at the boardroom level for each organization. Quite apart from greenhouse gas reduction, energy efficiency drives savings, which every organization should be focusing on these days.

Around the world, governments tend to agree that we must aim for as much as an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as based on 1990 levels, by the time we get to 2050. If not, considerable and detrimental change could be caused to climate and weather patterns. This level of change will, nevertheless, call for consistent and urgent action and implementation of new energy efficiency rules, everywhere.

Selecting The Right Windows For Energy Efficiency

Selecting The Right Windows for Energy Efficiency

New window technologies have increased energy benefits and comfort, and have provided more practical options for consumers. This selection guide will help homeowners, architects, and builders take advantage of the expanding window market. The guide contains three
sections: an explanation of energy-related window characteristics, a discussion of window energy performance ratings, and a convenient checklist for window selection.

Selecting the right window for a specific home invariably requires tradeoffs between different
energy performance features, and with other non-energy issues. An understanding of some basic energy concepts is therefore essential to choosing appropriate windows and skylights. As illustrated on the following page, three major types of energy flow occur through windows:

(1) non-solar heat losses and gains in the form of conduction, convection, and radiation;
(2) solar heat gains in the form of radiation; and
(3) airflow, both intentional (ventilation) and unintentional (infiltration).

Insulating Value

The non-solar heat flow through a window is a result of the temperature difference between the indoors and outdoors. Windows lose heat to the outside during the heating season and
gain heat from the outside during the cooling season, adding to the energy needs in a home. The effects of nonsolar heat flow are generally greater on heating needs than on cooling
needs because indoor-outdoor temperature differences are greater during the heating season than during the cooling season in most regions of the United States. For any window
product, the greater the temperature difference from inside to out, the greater the rate of heat flow.

A U-factor is a measure of the rate of non-solar heat flow through a window or skylight. (An R-value is a measure of the resistance of a window or skylight to heat flow and is the reciprocal of a U-factor.) Lower U-factors (or higher R values), thus indicate reduced heat flow. U-factors
allow consumers to compare the insulating properties of different windows
and skylights.

The insulating value of a singlepane window is due mainly to the thin films of still air on the interior and moving air on the exterior glazing surfaces. The glazing itself doesnt offer
much resistance to heat flow. Additional panes markedly reduce the U-factor by creating still air spaces, which increase insulating value.

In addition to conventional double-pane windows, many manufacturers offer windows
that incorporate relatively new tech- nologies aimed at decreasing U-factors.
These technologies include low-emittance (low-E) coatings and gas fills. A low-E coating is a microscopically thin, virtually invisible, metal or metallic oxide coating deposited on a glazing surface.

The coating may be applied to one or more of the glazing surfaces facing an
air space in a multiple-pane window, or to a thin plastic film inserted between panes. The coating limits radiative heat flow between panes by reflecting heat back into the home during cold weather and back to the outdoors during warm weather. This effect increases the insulating value of the window. Most window manufacturers now offer windows and skylights
with low-E coatings.

The spaces between windowpanes can be filled with gases that insulate better
than air. Argon, krypton, sulfur hexafluoride, and carbon dioxide are among the gases used for this purpose. Gas fills add only a few dollars to the prices of most windows and skylights. They are most effective when used in conjunction with low-E coatings. For these reasons, some manufacturers have made gas fills standard in their low-E windows and skylights.
The insulating value of an entire window can be very different from that of the glazing alone. The whole-window U-factor includes the effects of the glazing, the frame, and, if present, the insulating glass spacer. (The spacer is the component in a window that separates glazing panes. It often reduces the insulating value at the glazing edges.)
Since a single-pane window with a metal frame has about the same overall Ufactor as a single glass pane alone, frame and glazing edge effects were not of great concern before multiple-pane, low-E, and gas-filled windows and skylights were widely used. With the recent expansion of thermally improved glazing options offered by manufacturers, frame and spacer properties now can have a more pronounced influence on the U-factors of windows and skylights.

As a result, frame and spacer options have also multiplied as manufacturers offer improved designs. Window frames can be made of aluminum, steel, wood, vinyl, fiberglass, or
composites of these materials. Wood, fiberglass, and vinyl frames are better insulators than metal. Some aluminum frames are designed with internal thermal breaks, non-metal components that reduce heat flow through the frame.

These thermally broken aluminum frames can resist heat flow considerably better than aluminum frames without thermal breaks. Composite frames may use two or more materials (e.g. aluminum-clad wood, vinyl-clad wood) to optimize their design and performance, and typically have insulating values intermediate between those of the materials comprising them. Frame geometry, as well as material type, also strongly influences thermal performance properties.

Spacers can be made of aluminum, steel, fiberglass, foam, or combinations of
these materials. Spacer thermal perfor- mance is as much a function of geometry as of composition. For example, some well-designed metal spacers insulate almost as well as foam.

The table on page 3 shows representative U-factors for window glazing, frame, and spacer combinations under winter design conditions. Due to their orientation and their greater projected surface areas, domed and other shaped tilted and horizontal skylights have significantly higher U-factors than do vertical windows of similar materials and opening sizes.

Central Heating Pros And Cons – Underfloor Heating

Put simply, underfloor heating provides warmth to a room by heating the floor and having that warmth travel up, rather than heating the air, which rises to the top of the room before falling as it cools. All under-floor heating systems work according to similar principles, in that they consist of a heating element surrounded by insulation to disperse the heat and keep it in the room.

Rooms where people are likely to feel the coldness of the floor through their feet, such as bathrooms or kitchens, are obvious candidates for under-floor heating. However, you can have underfloor heating installed in virtually any room, with any type of flooring, be it linoleum, carpet, stone or hardwood.

It is common for extensions and conservatories to be fitted with under-floor heating, as it is a lot easier and cheaper to install it while other building work is being done.

There are a number of good reasons to install underfloor heating, but it is not a technology that is entirely without its drawbacks, either. Here are a list of the pros and cons of underfloor heating:

Pros:

Tiled rooms, such as bathrooms and kitchens are a lot less of an ordeal to walk on in bare feet when they are warm underfoot

Wet underfloor heating systems are much more energy efficient than a traditional radiator system, as the heat is concentrated in the lower half of the room where all the people are

Cons:

Though cheaper to buy and install than wet systems, dry systems are a lot less energy efficient and could end up costing you more in the long run

If you are installing an underfloor heating system in an existing property, the floors will need to be taken up, which can make it prohibitively expensive

As with any other heating system, underfloor heating will not work very efficiently in homes that are poorly insulated, as much of the heat will simply escape into the atmosphere