Innovations in Elevation

| Seven billion. That’s the estimated number of elevator journeys taken each day. Elevators are an invisible yet integral part of our increasingly vertical urban culture. And yet the efficiency of this building component is often overlooked. Elevators often weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds. Lifting and lowering that amount of mass multiple times every hour requires ... READ MORE

Easing Energy Inequities

| Emissions trading, or cap and trade, is a permit-based approach to controlling pollution that offers companies economic incentives for reducing emissions. The permitting process limits the amount of total allowable emissions while enabling companies to purchase additional permits from those producing fewer emissions. California’s cap and trade program—the fourth largest in the world according to Yale Environment 360—raises billions ... READ MORE

Identifying Metering Tools to Prevent Energy Loss

| Researchers at Washington State University had discovered occupants in high-efficiency buildings were so frustrated with unresponsive motion sensors and temperature controls, they had found unconventional solutions to thwart the energy efficiency tools, Smithsonian Magazine reported in late November 2017. ... READ MORE

Expensive Electrons

| Regardless of income level, people today need energy to live—to heat their homes, preserve food, and function in an increasingly digital society. Energy is not a discretionary expense. But what percentage of a household’s income should be allocated to pay energy bills? A 2016 study by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ... READ MORE

Talking the Talk and Walking the Walk

| The energy industry is amidst the most dramatic period of change that it’s ever experienced. Advances in distributed energy resources, energy storage products, cleaner-burning fuels, and improved data management are driving monumental industry shifts. We’re amidst a metamorphosis of traditional power architectures, equipment, and policies. A recent study released by Schneider Electric found that while most ... READ MORE

Phase Change Technology Energizes Buildings

| Phase change technology has been used in a very basic sense for hundreds of years, predominantly in the form of melting ice to keep food and people cool. Ice box refrigerators and artificial refrigeration date back to the 1750s, although it wasn’t until 1834 that the first vapor-compression refrigeration system was built. ... READ MORE

Brains, Brawn, and Bill Gates

| “The current reality of smart cities is that there aren’t any,” asserts a recent Scientific American article. And it’s true. While there are a number of cities with “smart” elements, such as networked cameras and traffic signals or daylight-sensing streetlights, most of today’s smart cities are made up of smart projects within traditional infrastructures, not ... READ MORE

Innovations in Smart Window Coverings

| Prior to the fourth century A.D., windows were typically holes in walls, usually covered with animal hides, cloth, wood, or shutters. In some places, translucent animal horns, thin slices of marble, or even paper were set in frameworks of wood, iron, or lead. ... READ MORE

Fan Arrays for Efficiency, Redundancy, and Fit

| There is an industry-wide push right now to use fan arrays based on efficiency, redundancy, and fit. Not too long ago, the only fans in use in air handlers were double-width, double-inlet (DWDI) fans. In recent years, engineers and facility personnel have begun to understand how plenum fans, if applied correctly, could provide a larger set of solutions for a specific job. Fan array systems can offer a simpler maintenance process, lower noise output, and a smaller environmental footprint than traditional air handling units. In addition, fan array systems can make facility personnel's jobs easier. ... READ MORE

Innovations in HVAC

| HVAC duct systems play a key role in indoor air quality and comfort as they serve the functions of supplying, returning, and ventilating air. The type of system can underscore its efficiencies. Case in point: the shape of the duct always makes a difference in terms of efficiency, notes Roger Coday, product manager for duct and acoustic products for SEMCO. The company designs air climate and air movement systems. ... READ MORE