Energy Efficiency

Sustaining a Green Future

Whether the topic is global warming, pollution of water supplies, loss of fish and animal species, or depletion of natural resources, the facts are alarming. On July 9, 2002 an article entitled Wake-Up Call for the Planet Earth stated, “Since 1970, populations of the world’s forest species declined by 15 percent, marine species populations by 35 percent, and freshwater species populations by 54 percent.” The article further predicted that “…standards of living and human development will start to plummet throughout the world by 2030”. The severity of the situation varies depending on the resource referenced, but it is clear that... Read More

A Round on Energy Recovery Wheels

As energy costs continue their upward spiral, Owners and Engineers are renewing their efforts to find ways to reduce building energy consumption. Consequently, the Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) is increasingly becoming a standard feature in heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) design. Energy recovery ventilators are used to precondition outside air, using recovered building energy to do so. While useful on any building type, an ERV is most effective on those buildings with very high outside air requirements, such as schools, nursing facilities, hospitals, and laboratories. “Energy recovery ventilators are used to precondition outside air, using recovered building energy to... Read More

Highlights of High-Bay Lighting

In recent years, architectural design has accentuated and made popular the idea of the ‘high-bay’ space. Areas such as gymnasiums, indoor pool facilities, libraries, and cafeterias have all seen their interior ceiling heights pushed higher and higher. As ceiling heights have increased, so has the need for higher output lamps to light them. Until recently, designers utilized metal halide (MH) lamps for these high-bay applications because they provide a high output source, with good optical control, from a very small size lamp. Despite these photometric advantages, MH lamps come with significant operational constraints. MH lamps, for example, do not reach... Read More

Getting SEERious for the Moment

Starting January 23, 2006, the Department of Energy (DOE) will begin to enforce legislation that will increase the minimum SEER required for residential air conditioners from 10 to 13 SEER, thereby instituting a substantial reduction in the energy consumption of residential air conditioners. The last time the US government increased minimum energy efficiency requirements for residential air conditioners was in 1992. At that time, SEER requirements were raised from 8 to 10. “The Alliance to Save Energy believes that increasing the minimum SEER rating to 13 may save the country as many as 150 new power plants.” SEER stands for... Read More

Lighting the Way to Energy Savings

Last year Pennsylvania adopted a comprehensive statewide Building Code. Like many states, Pennsylvania opted to adopt the family of ‘International Codes’ written by the International Code Council. As part of this family of codes, which includes the International Building Code, International Mechanical Code, and International Plumbing Code, Pennsylvania also adopted the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Energy Conservation Codes are relatively new codes, when compared to traditional building codes, and design professionals are still adapting to their requirements. The goal of this article is to review some of the requirements of the electrical portions of the 2003 IECC. While the... Read More

Lighting Our Skies

Over the past decade, the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) has become a significant participant in the field of residential and commercial lighting design. Originally founded in 1988 by a group of concerned astronomers, the IDA was created in response to the growing amount of lighting pollution in and around major metropolitan areas. This lighting pollution, which brightens the overhead sky, is called sky glow. The increase in urban sky glow has adverse effects on our ability to view the night sky. It is believed that about two-thirds of Americans can no longer discern our own galaxy, the Milky Way,... Read More

Softer, Whiter and Less Down the Drain

In recent years, long-term care facilities have started moving toward ozone use in laundering. Ozone has been recognized for over a century as an effective cleaner. It is an unstable form of oxygen gas that is generated when oxygen is exposed to electricity. Ozone’s unstable chemistry causes it to easily bond with elements common in dirt and debris to form oxides, which can then be washed away. Due to its instability, ozone must be generated at the laundry and is done so in two ways. One involves temporarily storing ozonized water in tanks and the second involves injecting ozone into... Read More