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Evaluating Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Applications
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Integrated Energy Policy Report Approved. On Nov. 21, the California Energy Commission approved the 2005 Integrated Energy Policy Report that recommends actions to meet California's energy needs. Recommendations include reducing demand through energy efficiency and alternative resources, improving the state's energy infrastructure, and cutting statewide greenhouse gas emissions. It also addresses transmission reliability, liquefied natural gas, adequate electricity and transportation fuel supplies, and the building and permitting of petroleum facilities. See the CEC press release.
Federal Government Exceeds Renewable Energy Use Goal. From 173 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy use in 1999 to 2,375 gigawatt-hours on Sept. 30, the federal government exceeded its goal of obtaining 2.5 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and biomass. Today's figures are enough to power 225,000 homes. See the DOE press release.
SDG&E’s Bill-Payment Assistance. To help families cope with high winter heating bills, SDG&E is helping families who need help in paying their energy bills through the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program. Open to qualified customers facing financial hardships, the program provides a one-time grant amount of up to $200 per customer and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis or until funds are depleted. See the SDG&E press release.
Serving as SDREO's Policy Analyst, Jennifer will research local, state and federal energy policy and assist with energy policy education. Erika is SDREO's Administrative Assistant and is responsible for the day to day administration of the front office, as well as providing support to all programs.
Pre-Rinse Spray Valves in commercial kitchens impact three utility costs: water, gas or electricity (to heat the water) and sewer. By reducing the water flow, all three of these costs are reduced. The time it takes to successfully pre-rinse the dishes before loading into the dishwasher is a function of how well the spray valve works. Better valves clean dishes in less time, using less water and energy.
The Rinse & Save program in California states that the dishwashing operation in a typical restaurant can consume over two-thirds of the facility water use. In some cases, nearly half of the water demand in the entire dishwashing process is used by the pre-rinse spray valve. By replacing old, high-volume sprayers with a more efficient high-velocity model, a typical medium-sized restaurant can save from $700 to $900 per year. The new, high velocity sprayer uses only 1.6 gallons per minute of hot water -- compared to 2 to 6 gallons per minute with standard valves. The efficient valves utilize a 'knife-edge' spray rather than a 'shower-type' spray, removing food particles more efficiently. Replacement of one valve in such a facility can provide savings of 200 gallons of water, 200 gallons of waste water, and 1.3 therms of energy per 4 hours of usage.
Nearly 20,000 water-saving, pre-rinse spray valves have been installed in California restaurants and food service facilities as part of a commercial water conservation program - more than 1,000 in San Diego alone for 2005. Interested parties can get a free, installed Pre-Rinse Spray Valve through the CII Voucher Incentive program.
"At the heart of this infrastructural challenge lies our near total dependence on electrical energy, a fact made painfully obvious in the first paragraph of nearly every disaster report detailing the contribution the loss of this vital resource has to the calamity at hand.
Whether the issue of concern is communications, transportation, water and sewage transport and delivery, or power for critical services, electrical energy is the essential ingredient. We know it. We've been shown it time after time. This dependence grows hour-by-hour with every new arrival in our infrastructure-dominated world, yet we continue to ignore the lessons of the past -- lessons that show indelibly the weaknesses and risks of centralized systems, and go right back to those systems that failed."
-- John Trotti, Group Editor, Distributed Energy Magazine
Energy Connection is a monthly publication of the San Diego Regional Energy Office.
Moving Beyond Unleaded, Plus and Premium
Fuel alternatives for motor vehicles
It is no secret that fossil fuels are important for transportation. In fact, 98 percent of our transportation system is fueled by petroleum. However, political factors, rising gas prices and environmental issues have increased the demand for fuel conservation and alternative energy technologies.
New technologies in transportation energy not only reduce dependence on imported fuel, but also improve air quality and stimulate our domestic economy. From vehicles using alternative fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, to hybrid electric and electric vehicles, consumers now have more viable options for transportation than before. This article briefly describes some of the more popular alternatives.
Give the Gift of Energy Savings
This holiday season, show someone you care by giving a gift that "keeps on giving" long after the holidays. Here are a few gift ideas:
A sweater or fleece blanket plus a programmable thermostat. Cuddle up with a warm fleece blanket and lower the thermostat temperature -- every two degrees can save up to 5 percent in heating costs. For those who always forget to turn down the heat when leaving a room, give them a programmable thermostat, which can save an additional 10 percent.
Managed by the San Diego County Water Authority, the Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional (CII) Voucher Incentive Program provides point-of-purchase vouchers to customers purchasing water efficient equipment in commercial, industrial and institutional settings. Replacing inefficient water equipment helps businesses save on water, gas or electricity and sewer costs.
Alternative fuel vehicles ( AFV) can operate on fuels other than gasoline or diesel. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) defines alternative fuels as biodiesel, ethanol, natural gas, propane, methanol, hydrogen, and electricity.
Alternative fuel examples:
Ethanol is produced by fermenting plant sugars and can be made from corn, sugar cane, wheat, brewery waste, and many other agricultural products. Flexible fuel vehicles (FFV) run on a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline (E85). Ethanol blends are likely to reduce carbon emissions by 10 to 30 percent, but even these emissions are recaptured as nutrients for the crop used in its production.
Biodiesel is made by chemically altering organic oils, such as vegetable oil or animal fat. It is a stable, biodegradable fuel that can lower toxic emissions in diesel vehicles by approximately 45 to 90 percent.
Natural gas is a gaseous fossil fuel consisting primarily of methane. Dedicated natural gas vehicles (NGV) can reduce carbon emissions by 70 to 80 percent when compared to conventional gasoline vehicles.
Electric vehicle examples:
Fuel cell vehicles (FCV) are electric vehicles that use a fuel cell rather than a battery to provide electricity for movement. While a standard electric vehicle battery must be recharged after all its fuel has reacted, a fuel cell is a "refillable battery" that can use hydrogen as an energy source. Fuel cells have gained worldwide attention as a clean power source for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and have considerable potential for the transportation sector.
Electric vehicles have been in use for a number of years and have gained popularity for short distance residential travel. Light electric vehicles (LEV) range in size from electric scooters to small cars and provide local point-to-point transportation for one or two people and some cargo at speeds and costs that are moderate. "Neighborhood Electric" vehicles may be a good option if you work locally, need just a small amount of cargo space and drive less than 25 miles at a time.
Hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV) combine a gasoline powered internal combustion engine, an electric motor and a regenerative braking system to maximize efficiency, improve fuel economy and increase power. The fuel economy of an HEV is approximately double that of the average car. Many industry experts consider hybrids a transition technology as manufacturers move beyond petroleum-based engines to options like fuel cell vehicles.
Lastly, if driving an alternative fuel vehicle or hybrid is not an option, you can still save money, reduce emissions and improve road conditions by taking steps towards fuel conservation and efficiency. Some of the easiest ways to conserve fuel are to avoid unnecessary accelerations, maintain a constant speed, combine errands, and properly maintain your car. Most importantly, consider carpooling or public transportation for your daily travels.
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Table or floor lamps with compact fluorescent lights (CFL). If you give a lamp as a present, make sure you include CFLs to not only brighten the room, but also to save energy. CFLs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs, last 10 times longer and cost one-fourth to operate. They also make great stocking stuffers.
Light-emitting diode (LED) holiday lights with the annual holiday ornament. Is the annual holiday ornament a gift-giving tradition? Include LED holiday lights. They can save up to 88 percent energy compared to super bright mini sets. They also last longer, saving money on replacements bulbs.
Toys or games with rechargeable batteries and precision charger. A majority of toys and games require batteries that can be harmful to the environment when thrown away. So instead of regular batteries, make sure you include rechargeable batteries and a precision charger with toys and games. Precision chargers switch to trickle mode once the batteries have been fully charged.
Low-flow shower heads. Help family and friends cut hot water consumption and lower energy bills by giving them low-flow shower heads. Compared to older shower head models that use up to 6 gallons of water per minute, low-flow shower heads limit the flow of water to 2.5 gallons per minute. So a 10-minute shower with a low-flow shower head installed can save up to 35 gallons of water per shower, and save on your electric or gas bill to heat that water.
ENERGY STAR electronics and home appliances. Are DVD players and other home electronics on the wish list? Make sure you buy ENERGY STAR electronics that use up to 50 percent less energy. Visit the ENERGY STAR site for a list of qualified products.
Occupancy sensor light switch. Do family members always need to be reminded about turning off the light when leaving a room? Well, never again. Get them an occupancy sensor light switch and replace standard existing kitchen or bath light switches. That can lower energy use by approximately 20 percent.
Happy Holidays from the SDREO staff!
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The CII Voucher Incentive Program provides rebates or vouchers for a variety of water efficient equipment. Businesses can get up to $95 when replacing old less efficient toilet fixtures with ultra-low-flush toilets which save an average of 20,000 gallons annually, and waterless urinals that typically save 40,000 gallons per year. Installing water efficient cooling towers can save as much as 800,000 gallons of water per year and the program provides vouchers of up to $500 for them. The program also offers free "conservation reminder" hotel placards (while supplies last) and free installation on pre-rinse spray valves (see Tech Tip). Visit the program web site for more information.
Vouchers may be redeemed only at the time of purchase from a participating plumbing or equipment dealer, or a clothes washer route operator. No after-purchase rebates are available.
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