Friday, February 18, 2011

Ongoing Monitoring & Preventive Maintenance

Ongoing monitoring is crucial.

Building energy management and control systems are important, as they monitor and control all building functions. This includes monitoring at the whole building level as well as at every building component (lighting, air handling units, pumps, water, etc.).

Data collected from ongoing monitoring of building performance help building owners and managers to:

  • Collect data to monitor performance, maintenance and operational effectiveness;
  • Ensure that buildings continue to meet design performance targets and make adjustments to diminish performance gaps;
  • Maximize energy efficiency;
  • Identify and explain increase or decrease in energy or water use;
  • Identify and troubleshoot equipment malfunctions that waste energy or water;
  • Diagnose specific areas of wasted energy;
  • Alert the operator in the case of a failure or potential failure of the equipment;
  • Draw energy consumption trends (weekly, seasonal, operational);
  • Determine future energy use when planning changes in the business;
  • Observe how the business reacted to changes in the past;
  • Develop performance targets for energy management programs;
  • Update energy benchmarks;
  • Manage the energy consumption, rather than accept it as a fixed cost with no control over.



Communicating with devices and exchanging data with other applications across the organization is feasible in converged systems. As monitoring provides the information to effectively operating the equipment, so the effective communication is vital for the buildings in the scope of the environmental information and energy consumption.

Now we have the ability to access and communicate both real-time and historical data between energy-using end devices and environmental monitoring devices, and convergence provides the pipeline to deliver this information anywhere, anytime by using web technologies and allow to avoid the use of dedicated workstations.

Preventive Maintenance Plans

Preventive maintenance is a schedule of planned maintenance measures to prevent breakdowns and failures of the equipment before it actually occurs. It saves time and money. A regular preventive maintenance program will restrain depreciation, reduce downtime and cost associates with hardware failures and software obsolescence, as well as improve both the appearance and performance of the various components in the building.

Long-term effects and cost of preventive maintenance is unquestionably more favorable then performing maintenance actions only when the system fails. The benefits include:

  • Improved system reliability
  • Reduced cost of replacement
  • Decreased system downtime
  • Spare parts inventory control

Preventive maintenance includes equipment checks, partial or complete overhauls at specified periods, oil changes, lubrication, etc., and consists of three elements:

  1. Inspections to help detect or give indications of unsatisfactory performance that can be fixed before costly repairs are needed.
  2. Scheduled maintenance of facility's systems, devices, and equipment that can minimize wear, improve operation and reduce costs.
  3. Daily maintenance or cleaning of the various components of each building including the equipment that can help prevent the build-up of dirt, dust and grime.

Make your facility’s systems truly sustainable and energy efficient, saving money and resulting in successful carbon footprint reduction. Operating buildings that meet sustainable requirements may be challenging. Start with the low hanging fruit.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Top 50 Most Efficient Geothermal Heat Pumps

To educate and encourage professionals interested in geothermal heat pumps, Bryan Hayden from HeatSpring Learning Institute posted the ranking of the top 50 list.

Full report--with explanations how these rankings were compiled--is available at

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Green Building = Energy Efficient Building

In the United States buildings account for:
  • 72% of electricity consumption
  • 39% of energy use
  • 40 –70% of GHG emissions in urban areas
  • 30% of waste output (136 million tons annually)
  • 14% of potable water consumption

If all new buildings, starting right now, would be zero net energy buildings, this would account for only 1% of energy savings by 2020. 

According to the California Long Term Energy Efficiency Plan, all new commercial construction in California will be zero net energy by 2030.

Energy consumption reductions in existing buildings ranging from 25% to 40% are achievable with attractive economic payback periods of 3-5 years.

Buildings are investments and so, they are opportunities
  • 72% of existing buildings were built before 1990
  • There is over 70 billion sq. ft. of existing commercial space in the U.S.
  • Over 90% of the buildings that will exist in the year 2020 are already built today
  • The majority of existing buildings will still be here in 2050
  • Existing buildings outnumber new buildings by a ratio of over 100 to 1

Green building can reduce:
Energy efficiency is frequently described as the “low-hanging fruit” for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing fossil fuel consumption. Energy efficiency improvements can meet a substantial portion of new U.S. energy demand and are relatively easy, cheap, and within the scope of current technology.

Benefits of Building Retrofits:
  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Lower ongoing building operating expenses
  • Attractive economic return on investment
  • Reduce the greenhouse gas emissions
  • Labor intensive and thus create jobs
  • Incentives, Rebates, and Funding

Energy Efficiency  = Low Risk & High Returns

Other benefits of high-performance buildings:
  • Attractiveness to new tenants
  • Reduced turnover and vacancy
  • Improved ability to attract and retain employees
  • Ability to meet shareholder and customer expectations regarding environmental programs
  • Ability to meet emerging environmental requirements

Energy efficiency measures provide a win-win situation by promoting cost-savings, lowering environmental impacts while promoting economic growth and social development. Energy efficient buildings represent one of the primary opportunities to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions, as well as to create new jobs.

The International Energy Agency estimates that, on average, an additional $1 spent on more efficient electrical equipment, appliances and buildings avoids more than $2 in investment in power supply.

Green buildings generate an average increase of 7.5% in building value, a 6.6% improvement in return on investment, and lower vacancy rates than other existing buildings.

Friday, September 24, 2010

California new tougher renewable energy goals

On Thursday September 23, 2010 CARB (California Air Resources Board) approved in a vote the new goal to raise the state's renewable energy target to 33 percent by 2020 from previous 20 percent by 2010.

As usually the new law impose some controversy. While environmentalists say the goals are too low, the large-scale developers say they are too high. Industry professionals indicate this target as more achievable than a prior goal, however it requires faster approvals for plans and ongoing governmental financing support. 

The new target would boost the renewable energy industry but is facing the significant challenges, as the new initiative in November election may revoke the new law and also the state's governor has the right to suspend provisions of the law for up to a year. 

Proposition 23 (Anti-Renewables Ballot), if approved, would suspend AB 32 CA State laws requiring major polluters to report and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming until unemployment rate drops below 5.5% or less for full year. 

Supporters of the prop 23, including oil companies, fight for jobs and economic stability as a cover (but think and ask yourself could it be really true?) and don't care about the environmental protection as AB 32 "The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006" was intended to protect California from human caused global warming. 

AB 32 is the first comprehensive climate change law in the United States that established the goal of reducing California's statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a reduction of approximately 12.5% from current levels and 40% from business-as-usual in 2020.

"We must resist the efforts of out-of-state oil companies to roll back one of the most important environmental protection laws California has ever enacted and one that will serve to increase investment in energy efficiency, produce jobs, and stimulate growth within the state of California," said commission President Michael R. Peevey. "Suspending AB 32 would reverse the regulatory signal to invest in clean, environmentally friendly resources. If this were to occur, customers could face significant carbon abatement costs when AB 32 or federal regulation forces the inclusion of a carbon price into the price of the power. Delaying action now will make it more expensive to reduce greenhouse gases in the future."

The California Public Utilities Commission CPUC has voted to oppose Prop 23 on the following grounds:

1. California is a leader in economically viable environmental protection. AB 32 is one of the most ambitious climate change laws in the U.S. From energy efficiency to renewables, California has taken a leadership role in many of the technologies and strategies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while providing secure, affordable power to its citizens.

2. Proposition 23 will suspend the implementation of AB 32 indefinitely.

3. The indefinite suspension of AB 32 will cause investment dollars currently being spent in California to retreat to other states halting the largest growth industries in the state and stunting job growth.

4. Regulatory uncertainty caused by the indefinite suspension of AB 32 will undermine energy markets, potentially increasing the cost of electricity for consumers.

5. The evidence of the predicted deleterious impacts of climate change is more conclusive than the purported injurious impacts of AB 32.

On August 23, 2010 CARB also adopted goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 and 2035 associated with passenger vehicle travel, for more healthy and sustainable communities that improves the way we plan and promotes more transportation choices. 

Southern California will have to reduce emissions by 8% by 2020 and 13% by 2035, while the Sacramento Region will have to reduce emissions by 7% by 2020 and 16% by 2035. More at

California's energy sources in 2008 according to California Energy Commission were: 
Natural Gas 45.7% (with In-State generation 87%)
Coal 18.2% (with In-State generation 7%)
Nuclear 14.4%
Large Hydro 11.0%
Renewables 10.6%
Crude Oil In States source in 2008 was 38%

Forcing more renewable power to be generated in California, would decrease our dependency on foreign oil, reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, and promote the creation of green jobs in The Golden State--direct and indirect.

On September 23, 2010 CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) took another step towards State's renewable energy goal.  

They approved a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric Company) with First Solar, Inc. for generation from the 300 MW PV Desert Sunlight project that will deliver approximately 619 GWh of energy annually begining in July 2015, as well as 12 renewable energy contracts for SCE (Southern California Edison). 

12 PPAs were executed as part of Edison's 2009 Renewables Standard Contract (RSC) Program for renewable energy projects under 20 MW to provide a streamlined procurement process for smaller renewable energy projects. The total renewable capacity will be approximately 180 MW. Two of the projects are existing landfill gas facilities, eight are new solar photovoltaic facilities, and two are new wind facilities. 

First Solar is pursuing a Department of Energy loan guarantee under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the project. The proposals voted on are available at (PG&E) and (Edison).

The CPUC's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) program requires investor-owned utilities, energy service providers, and community choice aggregators operating in California to obtain 20% of their retail sales from renewable energy sources by 2010 and 33% by 2020

In 2009, PG&E served 14.4% and Edison 17.4% of their retail sales from renewable energy sources. RPS Quarterly Report for the 3rd Quarter 2010 is available at

CPUC authorized SCE (Southern California Edison), PG&E( Pacific Gas and Electric Company), and SDG&E( San Diego Gas & Electric Company) to own and operate solar PV facilities (UOG) as well as to execute SPPAs with IPPs (independent power producers) through a competitive solicitation process. These programs will provide up to 1,100 MW of new solar PV power in California over the next 5 years that will be RPS-eligible. More at

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What Sustainable Means

"Sustainable" has such a comprehensive meaning. 

Among other means it involves:
- environment protection, including people, flora-green plants and fauna-animals, extinction of species; 
- water conservation and reservoirs protection; 
- air & environmental quality (indoor and outdoor); 
- land preservation, including land use, habitat destruction, and intensive farming; 
- pollution prevention (including air, water, soil and land, light, noise, thermal, radioactive, littering); 
- ozone depletion stopping; 
- GHG-greenhouse gas emissions decrease that leads to global warming, slowdown of thermohaline circulation - large-scale ocean circulation or global dimming - reduction of direct irradiance at the Earth's surface; 
- land preservation that covers urban sprawl, habitat destruction and fragmentation, desertification, soil erosion and contamination; 
- ocean protection against acidification, deoxygenation, dead zones, and sea level rise; 
- energy efficiency and conservation; 
- resources preservation (energy resources, such oil and other fossil fuels, but also fishing: overfishing, cyanide fishing, shark finning, whaling; logging: clear-cutting & deforestation; and mining); 
- renewables; 
- ecotechnology; 
- toxins production elimination (dioxin, toxic heavy metals, toxic wasteherbicides, pesticides, CFCs-chlorofluorocarbons, DDT-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane pesticide, PCBs-polychlorinated biphenyls);
- waste management (landfill, litter, marine debris, medical waste, leachate, incineration, e-waste, including computers, phones &TVs,  hazardous waste, such batteries, paints, motor oils, pesticides, aerosols, refrigerants, thermometers and fluorescent lighting);
- recycling and reusing;
- environmental health that involve airborne diseases, like asthma, chemical poisoning, radiation, sick building syndrome, and all kind of medical conditions;
- other human activities that encompass genetic engineering, nuclear issues, nanotechnology - nanopollution & nanotoxicology, and overpopulation. 

The list can go on and on with more details.

Let's not forget also about our consumerism, over-consumption and obsolescence.

With all the green trends nowadays I am sure we'll throw most of the non-green products right away, instead of trying to utilize it as far as possible, since we already have it. One of the eye-opening, simply said, and informative stories can be watched at

It took us years and years to get to the point we are now and we are unable to fix everything at once. That's why we all need to be cautious, aware, act with common sense and see a big (or even bigger) picture in order to sustain and survive.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

US Largest 62MW Solar Power Development & Solar Ramp-Up Law Signed by IL Gov Quinn

Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn announced over $4 million stimulus grant award for 62 MW Rockford Solar Project, the largest photovoltaic (PV) solar development in the Midwest and one of the largest in the United States at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Wanxiang America Corporation's newly built solar panel manufacturing plant in Rockford, IL on August 17, 2010.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has cut the ribbon to officially open the largest in the Midwest and one of the largest in the USA solar developments, 62MW Rockford Solar Project

62 MW PV system operating an average of 5hrs a day for 365 days will produce approximately 113,150,000 kWh of electricity and reduce the impact on the environment in comparison to traditional power plants burning fossil fuels.

62 MW Rockford Solar Project will generate enough electricity to power over 10,000 homes and reduce carbon dioxide emissions at a rate of 113,000 tons annually, equivalent to the emissions from nearly 12,000,000 gallons of gasoline consumed and the sequestration of 24,000 acres of established forest per year. The Project will decrease ultra-fine particulate emissions, such as Nitrous Oxides (NOx), Sulfurous Oxides (SOx), Mercury and Soot that cause adverse health effects and acid rain in the amount of 51 tons per year. Rockford Solar Project will also contribute to the fresh water conservation in the amount of about 113 million gallons annually. Moreover the project will significantly help utilities achieve the required 0.5% solar target by 2012.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the Green House Gases (GHG), main contributors to the global warming. GHG’s form in the atmosphere, trap the heat and the  infrared radiation and cause warming the earth like in a greenhouse. The majority of the GHG soar is from human activity, like burning fossil fuels, industrial production, transportation, deforestation, etc. The GHG emissions has to be seriously reduced to protect our environment, our health and economic well-being.

The reduction of 113,000 tons of carbon dioxide CO2 is an equivalent to an annual greenhouse gas emissions from circa 20,000 passenger vehicles, or carbon sequestered by around 3,000,000 tree seedlings grown for 10 years, or greenhouse gas emissions avoided by recycling nearly 35,000 tons of waste instead of sending it to the landfill.

More equivalents of the 113,000 tons of CO2 reduction:

CO2 emissions from 238,400 barrels of oil consumed
CO2 emissions from 1,369 tanker trucks’ worth of gasoline
CO2 emissions from 12,441 the electricity use of homes for one year
CO2 emissions from 8,724 the energy use of homes for one year
Carbon sequestered annually by 21,858 acres of pine or fir forests
Carbon sequestered annually by 973 acres of forest preserved from deforestation
CO2 emissions from 4,271,328 propane cylinders used for home barbecues 
CO2 emissions from burning 535 railcars’ worth of coal 
Annual CO2 emissions of 0.027 coal fired power plants 

The Project is an effort of Rockford Solar Partners, LLC, a joint venture between Wanxiang America, the U.S. subsidiary of one of the largest non-state owned companies in China with $8 billion in revenues worldwide, and Chicago-based renewable energy developer, New Generation Power to develop and operate an up to 62 MW photovoltaic solar generation facility in Rockford, Illinois.

“The state’s investment will help ensure Illinois remains a leader in renewable energy development, while continuing to build on the state’s energy independence goals,” said Governor Quinn. “With partnerships with companies like Wanxiang and New Generation Power, we’re creating hundreds of sustainable, green-collar jobs and providing an economic boost to the entire state.”

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn with Pin Ni, President of Wanxiang America and Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, President of New Generation Power

Earlier that day, Governor Quinn has signed House Bill 6202 into law, which establishes interim solar targets to help Illinois successfully scale up to reach the state’s solar renewable portfolio standard of 6% by 2015. The new law marks a landmark achievement for solar energy in Illinois and will create over 5,000 solar panel installation, manufacturing, and maintenance jobs and significantly reduce Illinois’ carbon footprint.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announces Solar Ramp-Up Law and $4 million federal grant awarded to our 62MW Rockford Solar Project

“We thank Wanxiang for their investment in its North American solar panel manufacturing facility,” said City of Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey. “We are equally enthusiastic about New Generation Power’s potential Solar Farm at Chicago Rockford International Airport. Investments in green technology such as these will help reinvent Rockford’s economy.”

“Thank you to Wanxiang and New Generation Power for its investment in our region. This is the perfect example of how the city and county came together to create jobs and promote the renewable energy industry. Currently we have locally made Wanxiang solar panels, purchased by Winnebago County, producing energy at Freedom Field,” said Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen.

The Rockford Solar Project not only creates jobs in construction, installation and servicing but also countless additional jobs are generated in the sale and marketing of green power. The Project will also source PV solar panels locally from the Wanxiang solar panel plant.

“We are helping to establish Illinois as one of the largest producers of solar energy in the country and generating much-needed jobs for the Rockford area” said Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, President of New Generation Power.

Production has already started on Wanxiang’s solar panels in the flagship manufacturing facility located in the Rockford Global Trade Park adjacent to the Rockford International Airport. Rockford officials have indicated the facility is designed for expansion on the 10-acre Wanxiang campus.

“Solar energy is becoming more and more popular in America, and in the world as well. We believe the market is poised for rapid growth,” said Pin Ni, President of Wanxiang America. “We appreciate the State and City governments to support the solar business. Our goal is to expand the plant threefold to meet the demand of Illinois’s new solar energy mandate.”

In March 2010, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) awarded a grant of $4,025,000 to Rockford Solar Partners, equivalent to 1.26% of the Project’s total cost. 68% will be financed by nongovernmental sources. The federal funding was awarded pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Community Renewable Energy Program to create and retain jobs.

House Bill 6202, the Solar Ramp-Up Bill, passed the Illinois General Assembly on May 27, 2010 and established interim solar targets to help Illinois successfully scale up the solar portion of Illinois’ Renewable Portfolio Standard: 0.5% in 2012, 1.5% in 2013, 3% in 2014 to reach 6% in 2015.

Wanxiang America Corporation, headquartered in Elgin, IL, is the U.S. subsidiary of Wanxiang Group Companies, one of the largest companies in China with $8 billion in revenues. Wanxiang currently has 4,100 employees in the U.S. and over 45,000 worldwide. Wanxiang Solar is a major player in renewable energy production, including wind and solar, and is the largest manufacturer of medium/large size silicon ingot and wafer cutting in China.
New Generation Power is a renewable energy company that develops and manages projects across the USA. Headquartered in Chicago, New Generation Power was founded by renewable energy experts and experienced entrepreneurs to expand clean energy generation in the United States and increase access to alternative power in response to the growing need for green energy solutions. Committed to meeting our country’s energy needs, New Generation Power supplies affordable green energy to commercial, utility and REIT customers with an abiding sense of our environmental responsibility for future generations.

New Generation Power

Sunday, August 15, 2010

How solar panels are made

The sun is able to produce electricity. Solar electric panels are made of photovoltaics cells--PV for short. PV stands for photo (light) and voltaic (electricity). PV technology enables to create electricity using sunlight. 

This great video shows how solar panels are made.