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September 05, 2010
September/October 2010
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2010 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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SRP to Double Elster EnergyAxis Smart Grid Solution Deployment

Phoenix’s Salt River Project (SRP), the third-largest public-power utility in the United States, expanded in May 2010 to 1 million Smart Meters as part of its Smart Grid project.

With the use of DOE Smart Grid Investment Grant funds and matching, SRP is doubling its deployment of the Elster EnergyAxis Smart Grid Solution by adding 500,000 Smart Meters to the current installed base over the next three years. This will improve SRP’s sophisticated time-of-use (TOU) pricing and award-winning customer service, eliminate thousands of truck rolls, and improve energy management for both customers and the utility.

EnergyAxis enables SRP customers to monitor and manage their energy consumption based on preselected TOU rates. The utility has seen a 20% increase in voluntary TOU rate program participation with Smart Meter installations, as consumers gain access to TOU data via the SRP web portal or e-mail notifications.

Elster is one of the world’s largest electricity, gas, and water measurement and control providers. Its offerings include distribution monitoring and control, advanced smart metering, demand response, networking and software solutions, and numerous related communications and services—all of which make possible consumer choice, operational efficiency, and conservation. Its products and solutions are widely used by utilities in the traditional and emerging Smart Grid markets.

Elster has one of the most extensive installed revenue measurement bases in the world, with more than 200 million metering devices deployed over the course of the last ten years. It sells its products and services in more than 130 countries across electricity, gas, water and multiutility applications for residential, commercial and industrial, and transmission and distribution applications.

For more information:

For more information about SRP, go to www.srpnet.com.
For more information about Elster, visit www.elster.com.

The First Increase in Criteria for Energy Star Water Heaters

This fall, the Energy Star program will increase the minimum energy factor (EF) for gas storage water heaters from 0.62 to 0.67. Water heaters that meet the higher minimum offer homeowners significant savings in gas consumption, even when compared to today’s 0.62 EF models, and provide up to 14% percent greater savings than conventional gas models. Gas storage heaters with a 0.62 EF consume 242 therms per year. According to Energy Star calculations, 0.67 EF models consume only 224 therms per year, saving 7.3% more than 0.62 models.

“Water heaters became eligible for the Energy Star label in January 2009 with a minimum efficiency of 0.62, which the Department of Energy felt was a good base to set for energy-efficient water heaters,” said Kara Rodgers, senior program manager for the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) and spokesperson for the Coalition for Energy Star Water Heaters.  “This is the first planned increase to 0.67, which should provide a consumer significant energy savings over time.”

Several gas storage heaters with a 0.67 EF are currently available, including many new products recently developed in preparation for the upcoming change. There are also a number of other water heater models that carry the Energy Star label, including electric heat pump, solar-thermal, and tankless units. Sponsors of the Coalition for Energy Star Water Heaters—A.O. Smith, Bradford White, and Rheem and Rinnai—offer many of these models.

Plumbers can check with their distributors and local utilities on the availability of new 0.67 EF gas storage models and rebate offers in their area.

“Coalition For Energy Star Water Heaters” is the name of a national awareness and education campaign managed and conducted by CEE, an award-winning consortium of efficiency program administrators from the United States and Canada. CEE unifies program approaches across jurisdictions to increase the impact of communications between fragmented markets. By joining forces at CEE, individual electric and gas efficiency programs are able to partner not only with each other but also with other industries, trade associations, and government agencies. Working together, administrators leverage the effect of their ratepayer funding, exchange information on successful practices, and by doing so, achieve greater energy efficiency for the public good.

For more information:

For more information on local utility rebates and other water-heating efficiency news, go to www.eswaterheaters.org.
For more information on CEE, go to www.cee1.org.

Federally Funded Jobs Training Program Puts Felons to Work

Since receiving $440,803 from the federal government’s stimulus funds via the New York State Department of Labor, Episcopal Social Services has begun a program to provide green job training and job placement to individuals who have recently been released from New York State’s penitentiary system. The training programs, provided by the Network Therapeutic Reentry/Green Collar Training Program, will teach released felons green job skills in construction and retrofitting.

The money was granted in connection with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The stimulus funds cover the skills training; private donations from individuals and foundations cover the rest of the expenses.

For this program, Network partners with Sustainable South Bronx, a community organization that looks for economically stable projects that solve environmental problems, and with STRIVE, an organization that has provided vocational training to poor or less-educated men and women since 1984.

For more information:

To learn more about ARRA, go to www.recovery.gov/Pages/home.aspx.
For more information about STRIVE, go to www.strivenational.org/strivesite.

DOE Program takes on Market for Highly Efficient Windows

In order to overcome the barriers of cost and awareness that many new energy-efficient technologies face, the Department of Energy (DOE) kicked off the Highly Insulating R-5 Windows and Low-E Storm Windows Volume Purchase Program on May 27, 2010; a market transformation effort aimed at increasing the market penetration of these highly efficient windows and low-e storm windows. Due to the limited awareness of highly efficient window products, it had remained difficult for an individual window manufacturer to invest in the production capacity necessary to produce cost-effective products. . . until now.

This volume purchase program, an effort over two years in the making, worked with both window suppliers and buyers to ensure the program’s effectiveness. Volume Purchase Team Members from DOE, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) and Energetics, Incorporated, educated end-users and bulk purchasers on the cost and energy savings these windows produce, while at the same time coordinating with suppliers to develop final window specifications for program participation and on marketing efforts. In the end, everyone benefits—manufacturers have a market for their products, and customers benefit from competitive prices and energy-efficient products. The windows volume purchase solicitation process (issued in December 2009) yielded a response that far exceeded expectations concerning manufacturer interest and participation.

Today, qualified R-5 and low-e storm windows and R-5 patio doors are listed on the program’s web site, www.windowsvolumepurchase.org. For each product type, qualified manufacturers are listed according to product size, with a range of prices from lowest to highest displayed. Defined shipping regions are also listed next to each manufacturer participating in the program. As the program evolves in the coming year, expect further enhancements to the volume purchase web site.

Why R-5 and low-e storm windows? These energy-efficient window products have significant energy and cost savings potential. Highly-insulating R-5 (U-factor of 0.22 or less) can reduce heat loss through the window by over 30% compared to Energy Star windows (U-factor ~0.3). In cold and mixed climates low-e storm windows can be placed over existing windows (inside or outside) and are much more effective energy savers than traditional storm windows.

DOE is committed to making this program a collaborative and transparent process with window manufacturers and looks to continue the early success of the program throughout the year and into a phase II effort.

– Walter Zalas
Walter Zalas is project manager for the DOE windows volume-purchasing program. He works for Energetics, Incorporated, a Washington D.C. management consultant.

For more information:

To learn more about the Windows Volume Purchase Program,visit DOE's web site, http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/windowsvolumepurchase/
For more information about STRIVE, go to www.strivenational.org/strivesite.

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