Nicholas Brown

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is: Kompulsa.com.

Survey: Building Automation and Data Analytics Are Top Efficiency Priorities

According to Schneider Electric Research, planned efficiency improvements have been increasing among U.S. companies for 2014. It surveyed 369 representatives of efficiency services companies, utilities and potential customers. 43 percent of those surveyed said they planned to increase their efficiency programs budgets over 2013, while 22 percent intended no budget modifications. Only 10 percent said they intended to spend less on efficiency enhancements. According to Green Tech Media, the increase isn’t surprising, as there was a surge in ratepayer-funded efficiency…

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Top 5 Ways To Save Energy Without Spending A Cent

Only 5 ways? How could this possibly help much? You may have seen lists of 50, or even 100 things you can do to save energy, and when you load them, you see that many of the things are repeated and could have been condensed significantly. For example: A suggestion to turn off electrical equipment when not in use could be stretched out into over 20 suggestions, each being a suggestion for individual appliances, and there is no need for…

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The Sun

New Building Code For Energy Efficiency

The International Code Council considers a new building code for energy efficiency which improves the energy efficiency of buildings, providing buildings with an efficiency score. The new code should save $300 to $850 off utility expenses annually. Don’t forget that it mitigates the problem which makes you have to choose between getting hot and sweaty, or paying more than you can afford for energy. I’m sure that some home buyers would like to know the energy cost of the houses…

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Shipping Container Homes Prove That Size Isn’t As Important As Many Think

Shipping container homes are catching on. When you step into a building with a low ceiling or one which is divided by many walls, it may feel small to you. This has led architects and even homeowners to pursue more “open” concepts which make buildings feel bigger. In these open concepts, walls are removed to convert multiple small rooms into one large one so that it feels spacious. Some people have taken small structures to the next level and built…

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Passive Houses Gaining Popularity In The U.S.

For my entire life, I never owned a working air conditioner, and I used a standing fan to keep myself cool the whole time (it consumed only 50 watts), and Jamaica is pretty hot. Electricity prices are extremely high here (the U.S. equivalent of $0.39 $0.45/kWh), and that make continuous air conditioner operation too cost prohibitive. In America, where air conditioner usage is extensive and popular, passive housing is finally gaining ground. Passive homes go further than me by using…

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Air Conditioner Power Consumption Increasing In The Southern U.S.

In the southern states of the U.S., air conditioner power consumption increased by 43% since 1993. While that isn’t a shocking explosion, it has been on the rise for a long time. This isn’t just a brief spike. In that region, air conditioners now account for 21% of all power consumption. This is very significant for a single type of appliance. The rest of the appliance account for much smaller fractions than that.

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Best Skylights Around — Light Scoops!

A new skylight design from the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) allows a reasonable amount of sunlight into buildings, but not too much like older designs do, and it adjusts the amount of light it allows in depending on the weather. A survey showed a high user satisfaction level of 90% with this skylight design compared to older designs.

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Re-purposing Discarded Subway Cars As Artificial Homes

Since 2001, old subway rail cars have been re-purposed as artificial reefs by placing them in waters. Whether on land or at sea, if an old piece of equipment with space in it is left unattended for a long enough time, animals — and sometimes plants — tend to take it over. Of course, spiders have dibs on it first! They will create webs inside if it is on land. Along will come the lizards, rats, maybe birds, and so…

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Arizona Desert Hosts World’s Largest “Net-Zero Energy” Building

In the Arizona desert lies the world’s largest “net-zero energy” building. It is the Phoenix Regional Office of DPR Construction. It was given this certification by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). Located on the corner of 44th and Van Buren, the energy efficiency transformation took 10 months to complete. It is the largest building in the world to receive such a certification from this particular institution. It was originally a windowless concrete block building from the 1970s which was aging. It was…

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Stanford’s Environment & Energy Building Receives Best LEED Cert.

“This certification is more than a reflection of the incredible performance of the Y2E2 building in terms of energy, water and resource use. It is a measure of the dedication and commitment to meeting the daily challenge of sustainability of the inhabitants of the building and all the vendors and contractors that service it,” said Professor Jeffrey Kosef, co-director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and chair of the Y2E2 Building Leadership Team.

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Stained Glass Windows Capture Solar Energy

No, I’m not talking about letting sunlight into the room. These windows actually generate electricity! They are being installed in the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, Saskatechewan, and they are connected to the local electricity grid. Solar panels are usually connected to the local electricity grid to supply the grid with electricity using net metering. It is done by solar panel owners to offset their energy usage. In this case, it powers the Cathedral, and leftover power is…

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On Rooftops, There Is A Growing Rival For Utility Companies

People have been installing solar panels on their rooftops to avoid paying utility companies for electricity. Utility companies are not pleased with that, and, for every person that does that (a full solar installation), that is one less paying customer for utility companies. According to NBC News: “Alarmed by what they say has become an existential threat to their business, utility companies are moving to roll back government incentives aimed at promoting solar energy and other renewable sources of power.…

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Finally! An Integrated Solar Power Supply

Bosch has decided to step up to the plate and construct an integrated solar power supply system called the BPT-S 5 Hybrid. Almost everything is integrated into it. The company integrated an inverter, Saft lithium-ion batteries, and an energy management system (charge controller) into a single unit which is certified and safety tested for domestic installations. This system was launched in 2012, but has now been fully commercialized. It is being sold in Germany’s residential photovoltaic (PV) market. This reminds me of…

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Understanding Evaporative Coolers

You may have heard people mention swamp coolers; there are different types of these units on the market. This article is focused on the basic concept of evaporative cooling. Evaporative coolers help to cool you for two reasons: One is that they ventilate your room. If heat accumulates in your room (which usually happens when there is a lack of ventilation), then ventilation will literally blow it outside. The other reason is that they literally cool the air via evaporation.…

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Green Roof At Penn. Children’s Hospital Contributes To Leed Potential

“Incorporation of natural spaces like green roofs helps Penn State Hershey fulfill our mission of providing comprehensive care to sick or injured children and their families, care that is focused on them and designed to help them heal not only physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well,” said Penn State Hershey Medical Center director of design and construction, Richard Aradine, in a press release. “Inclusion of these green spaces also puts us in a good position to achieve LEED certification for the new Children’s Hospital building, a commitment we’ve made for all new construction on our campus.”

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Solar panel installation

Rooftop Solar Takes Off In California As Costs Decline

California is known for alternative energy enthusiasm and dedication to energy usage reductions. As part of that, back in 2007, the state launched a $3.3 billion effort to install 3,000 MW of new solar capacity over the next decade. California is one of the US states in which the use of solar energy is encouraged most, and this encouragement (because of the California Solar Initiative) has been so successful that a record-breaking 391 MW of solar panels were installed in California…

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