Progress on Commercial Building Energy Efficiency has been Good, but More Attention is Needed to Decrease Waste in Several Areas

July 4, 2016
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Data recently released as part of the Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) highlights changes in commercial sector energy demand between 2003 and 2012. The Energy Information Administration conducts CBECS approximately every five years, and examines in depth a nationally representative sample of thousands of commercial buildings. Overall, energy use per square foot of floor area is down by 12%. Great strides have been made in reducing energy use for lighting and space heating. Regarding space heating, the reduction is due to both greater use of energy-saving technologies and practices, as well as higher growth in building floor area which accounted for 39% of commercial building floor area in 2012, up from 37% in 2003.


Next wave of renewables to drive urban energy revolution

30 June 2016
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Researchers are hoping to usher in an urban energy revolution by fitting our homes with third-generation solar cells, micro wind turbines and seasonal energy storage.
The idea is that moving energy production from remote power plants to the local neighbourhood will increase the uptake of renewable energy, a move that could cut energy bills for consumers as well as decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
One way researchers hope to do this is through so-called third-generation solar cells, which are cheaper, thinner and potentially more efficient than ones currently in use.
Professor Adélio Mendes from the University of Porto, Portugal, is project coordinator of the EU-funded GOTSolar project, which is aiming to produce a commercial solar cell from perovskites, a material with a specific crystalline structure.

‘Perovskite solar cells may become as much as 70 % cheaper than the conventional technology,’ said Prof. Mendes. They can also be up to 250 times thinner than the current silicon versions and offer potentially better efficiency.


Local Authorities Clueless About PC Energy Consumption

07 June 2016
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FOI request reveals that majority of London local authorities are entirely unaware of their IT power usage
A Freedom of Information (FoI) request from IT services provider Streamwire has revealed the majority of local authorities in London have no clue about the energy consumption of their PC infrastructure.

The finding comes at a time when local authorities are facing tough financial pressure, and demonstrates a worrying lack of understanding of how reducing energy consumption can reduce council expenditure.
Streamwire approached 32 boroughs in London and discovered that only seven local authorities were able to accurately calculate the power consumption of their desktop computers. Eighteen local authorities were unable to accurately calculate PC power consumption, and seven failed to reply at all.
Streamwire points out that the findings cast doubt on whether many local authorities are doing enough to reduce their energy use – and thereby their expenditure.

“Energy efficiency should be a major plank in any IT strategy as it is a significant contributor to the cost of operations,” explained Kevin Timms, COO and co-founder of Streamwire. “It is also important that the government has its own house in order as it encourages all of us to use less energy and become more environmentally conscious.”
The FOI request saw all London Boroughs questioned about the power consumption of their desktop computers and whether they had clearly defined strategies in place to reduce their IT-related energy consumption.
But depressingly, it seems that energy efficiency is low down on London local authorities list of priorities.


Energy Retrofits for Commercial and Public Buildings: Global Markets

07 June 2016
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BCC Research estimates the global conventional energy retrofits market for public buildings and private commercial buildings to grow from $85.1 billion in 2015 to nearly $132.3 billion by 2020, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2%.
HVAC equipment as a segment should grow from $67.1 billion in 2015 to nearly $98.1 billion by 2020, with a CAGR of 7.9%. Energy efficient lighting equipment as a segment should grow from $12.5 billion in 2015 to nearly $21.7 billion by 2020, with a CAGR of 11.6%.

Buildings are a leading global consumer of energy, with this trend likely to continue well into the future, primarily driven by economic and population growth. This trend is increasingly recognized by a multitude of countries worldwide. Today, most international governments perceive investing in green energy technologies for existing and new buildings as an opportunity to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets.