Thursday, October 30, 2008

Renewable Power and Alternative Energy Advantages and Disadvantages

By: Steve D Evans

Renewable energy is the centerpiece of eco-energy planning. Yet all renewable energy sources are not created equal and some are far more sustainable in the long term than others. We will explore the available types of renewable energy considering the advantages and disadvantage as we go.

However are we all clear about the difference, such as it is between renewable energy and alternative energy. Alternative energy is all energy sources other than carbonaceous sources, whereas renewable energy is energy that is replaced almost as quickly as it is used by being part of the natural carbon cycle of the earth. Renewable fuels produce carbon dioxide but since the renewable source is always being replenished the energy use is merely interceding in the natural cycle.

Alternative energy sources encompasses all the renewable sources but also nuclear, and for example, energy from municipal solid waste (MSW) which - due to its source may not be strictly a renewable source. and new types such as hydrogen power from new energy conversion process

An example of a renewable fuel is wood which is renewed by the re-growing of the forest from which the tree was felled. Another prime example of this type of energy is solar power. Many governments are setting out to increase the use of renewable power. The increasing use of renewable energy is, for example, an integral part of the United Kingdom Government's longer-term aim of reducing CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050. In 2000 the Government set a target of 10% of electricity supply from renewable energy by 2010, and in 2006 that nation announced our aspiration to double that level by 2020.

Renewable energy is produced from sources that are replenished as they are used, such as the wind, water flowing in streams, rivers and seas, the sun and sustainably grown crops. In order to harness these sources and reduce our dependency on finite reserves of oil, coal and gas, renewable energy professionals need to understand the scientific principles of renewable energy technology and have the management skills to ensure that UK and international carbon emission reduction targets are met.

All alternative energy is best derived from inexhaustible sources such as wind, the sun, sea, or replaceable sources such as waste products and crops. Using sources of renewable energy should be viewed as a long-term method to tackle climate change, and will play an increasingly important part in helping reduce carbon emissions by 2050.

However, before we get really excited about the potential for renewable sources of power. Renewable energy is not all it's made out to be, it's not that cheap compared to conventional fossil fuel generating plants. Also, the production of enough renewable energy is also very hard to achieve rapidly. In comparison to a large fossil fuel power station oil, natural gas or coal each renewable power plant is really tiny. Literally thousands of large wind turbines, for example, are needed to replace just one coal, gas or oil fired power station.

The only real alternative to fossil fuels which is a well tested and mature technology, and can be built really quickly is nuclear energy.

Nuclear power should be considered "clean" and "green" when compared with fossil fuels. The carbon dioxide emissions from a nuclear plant are mostly during its construction, and are very low compared with fossil fuel sources. So, it is an alternative energy capable of reducing global waming effects if developed in a big way in the next few years.

Nevertheless, advantages and disadvantages as there may be to renewable energy. It is certain to be an area of significant investment and importance for future generations. The ability to develop technology that harnesses energy from wind, solar, water, and other renewable resources defines future generations of technology. The share of US power which will be obtained from alternative renewable sources including large hydro and biomass) in global primary energy is projected to be between 8% and 17% for the years up to 2010, possibly increasing to above 50% by 2100.

Its is clear to all to see that the renewable energy is bandwagon is rolling and it is becoming increasingly popular as fossil fuel prices rise. For example, the state of Iowa now has over 600 wind turbines that help supply its power.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Alternative Electrical Power Sources - What Is The Future Of Electricity?

by Peter Harris

What is the future of electricity? Can we develop alternative electrical power sources? When the future of electricity is discussed, quite a number of thoughts come into mind. Let's look at a few of such ideas.
Electricity will be wireless! Wouldn't it be delightful to see no wires in the house even with an uninterrupted supply of electricity? Will the future see wireless supply of electricity? Apparently, it will, according to industry experts. Last year, a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted a wireless electricity experiment successfully. This dream has never been far-fetched, and with the success of wireless electricity experiments, this dream will soon come true. So, it is not very far that we will see electrical appliances charging themselves off air!
Consumers will have complete control! Industry experts believe that in future, your power supply will not be dependent on the electricity department but on you. You will have complete control on how you want the power supply to reach your place. You may not be required to pay the mandatory amount when you are vacationing around the world, shutting off the house. Experts see a variety of control options for consumers in the future. Now, whether this future is in the next ten years, or twenty, or a fifty years is not known, but what is known is that the future will see the consumers in control of what they use.
Electrical energy will be clean! Do you know that the remains of electricity production emit enormous amounts of carbon dioxide in the air? The future of electricity is perceived as green and clean. Given the concern for the environment, the electricity in future will make use of renewable sources of energy, leading to a clean environment. Currently, electricity is produced mostly by consuming fuels that are on the verge of being extinct.
All things will be electric! OK, we have already seen electric cars and electric shavers, what else will the future see? May be, electric shoes! Combs, toothbrushes, watches, glasses, even clothes may become electrical gadgets. If these sound far-fetched ideas, visit the futuristic shops at Akihabara in Japan for a glimpse of the future.
There will be no outages! More than anything, consumers look forward to seeing a future with absolutely no power outages. Alternative electrical power sources promise to take us into a future that has no power interruptions. With increased dependency on power for everything, consumers need to have an uninterrupted supply of power.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Alternative Energy Faces New Headwinds

For all the support that the presidential candidates are expressing for renewable energy, alternative energies like wind and solar are facing big new challenges because of the credit freeze and the plunge in oil and natural gas prices, The New York Times’s Clifford Krauss.
Shares of alternative energy companies have fallen even more sharply than the rest of the stock market in recent months. The struggles of financial institutions are raising fears that investment capital for big renewable energy projects is likely to get tighter.
Advocates are concerned that if the prices for oil and gas keep falling, the incentive for utilities and consumers to buy expensive renewable energy will shrink. That is what happened in the 1980s when a decade of advances for alternative energy collapsed amid falling prices for conventional fuels.
“Everyone is in shock about what the new world is going to be,” V. John White, executive director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technology, a California advocacy group, told The Times. “Surely, renewable energy projects and new technologies are at risk because of their capital intensity.”
Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain both promise ambitious programs to develop various kinds of alternative energy to combat global warming and achieve energy independence.
But after years of rapid growth, the sudden headwinds facing renewables point to slowing momentum and greater dependence on government subsidies, mandates and research financing, at a time when Washington is overloaded with economic problems.
John Woolard, chief executive officer of BrightSource Energy, a solar company, said he believed the long-term future for renewables remained promising, though “right now we are looking at tumultuous and unpredictable capital markets.”
Venture capital financing for some advanced solar projects and for experimental biofuels, like ethanol made from plant wastes, is drying up, according to analysts who track investment flows.
At least two wind energy companies have had to delay projects in recent days because of trouble raising capital. Several corn ethanol projects have been delayed for lack of financing in Iowa and Oklahoma since last month, and one plant operator in Ohio filed for bankruptcy protection last week.
Tesla Motors, the maker of battery-powered cars, recently announced it had been forced to delay production of its all-electric Model S sedan, close two offices and lay off workers.
Investment analysts say initial and secondary stock offerings by clean energy companies across global markets have slowed to a crawl since the spring, and for the full year could total less than half of the record $25.4 billion for 2007.
Worldwide project financings for new construction of wind, solar, biofuels and other alternative energy projects this year fell to $17.8 billion in the third quarter, from $23.2 billion in the second quarter, according to New Energy Finance, a research firm in London. The slide is expected to be sharper in the fourth quarter and next year.
In the United States, financing for new projects and venture capital and private equity investments in renewable energy this year might still top last year’s results because so much money was in the pipeline at the beginning of the year, but the pace has slowed sharply in the last month.
The next presidential administration, to make good on campaign rhetoric and continue supporting renewables, will have to choose alternative energy over other programs at a time of ballooning deficits. Analysts say that is no sure thing.
“Government funding for renewables is now going to have to compete with levels of government funding in other areas that were unimaginable six months ago,” Mark Flannery, an energy analyst for Credit Suisse, told The Times.
The central questions facing renewables now, experts say, are how long credit will be tight and how low oil and natural gas prices will fall. Oil and gas are still relatively expensive by historical standards, but the prices have fallen by half since July. Some economists expect further declines as the economy weakens.
Wall Street analysts say most utilities and other builders can profitably choose big wind projects over gas-fired plants only when gas prices are $8 per thousand cubic feet or higher. Natural gas settled Monday at about $6.79 per thousand cubic feet, down from about $13.58 on July 3.
“Natural gas at $6 makes wind look like a questionable idea and solar power unfathomably expensive,” Kevin Book, a senior vice president at FBR Capital Markets, told The Times.
Government mandates already on the books, including state rules requiring renewable power generation and federal requirements for production of ethanol, ensure that to some degree, alternative energy markets will continue to exist no matter how low oil and gas prices go. But the credit crisis means some companies that would like to build facilities to meet that demand are going to have problems. “If you can’t borrow money, you can’t develop renewables,” Mr. Book said.
Renewable energy has become a big business worldwide, with total investment increasing to $148.4 billion last year, from $33.4 billion in 2004, according to Ethan Zindler, head of North American research at New Energy Finance. Mr. Zindler said the upward momentum had halted, and that total investment this year was likely to be lower than last.
In its recent financial rescue package, Congress provided $17 billion in tax credits to promote various forms of clean power, for everything from plug-in electric vehicles to projects that will capture and store carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants. Production and investment tax credits were extended for wind energy for one year, geothermal energy for two years and for solar energy for a full eight years.
But some analysts say the government supports may not be enough to propel continued growth for renewables, noting that several states have already relaxed their goals.
“When they can’t meet their targets,” Mr. Book told The times, “they change them.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hart Energy to Recognize Global Energy Leaders During 2008 Energy Solutions Conference

8th Annual Global Energy and Environmental Excellence Awards highlight significant contributions in innovation and technology
Business Wire

In conjunction with the 2008 Energy Solutions Conference, Hart Energy Consulting will celebrate its 8 th Annual Global Energy and Environmental Excellence Awards on November 6. These awards recognize companies who, through innovation and technology, have made significant progress towards solving our global energy challenges. Award categories include:

Refining – National and International,
Technology – Refining and Oilfield,
Alternative fuels,
Financial, and
Emerging Enterprises.

“With the widening gap between energy supply and demand, the need for sustainable resources is more urgent than ever, ” said Kristine Klavers, Vice President, Hart Energy Consulting. “We want to recognize those who are positively impacting our global energy outlook by creating innovative technologies and smarter solutions. These companies are changing the face of our industry, and we are honored to award them for their achievements. ”
The awards will be sponsored by leading companies in a variety of industries, including Continental Airlines, Criterion, Petrobras, ConocoPhillips, NASDAQ OMX, CDTech, Hess,

Hawkeye, Toyota, UOP and Lyondellbasell.
The 2008 Energy Solutions Conference will host leading energy industry strategists and analysts, policy makers, transportation executives and technology providers as they examine national and global energy issues. For more information on the event and the Global Energy & Environmental Excellence Awards, go to

About Hart Energy Consulting
Headquartered in Houston, with representation in New York, London, Washington, Brussels, Bahrain, Singapore, and many other international cities, Hart Energy Consulting is a division of Hart Energy Publishing. Hart Energy Publishing ’s market-leading publications include Oil and Gas Investor, E&P, FUEL and PipeLine and Gas Technology. Hart also produces newsletters, custom publishing products, conferences, and unique multi- and single-client consulting services. Hart Energy Consulting is a leading full-service information, analysis and communication resource for the worldwide energy industry. Multi-client consulting services already include the International Fuel Quality Center (IFQC), with over 100 members from industry and government, the Global Biofuels Center, World Refining & Fuels Service to 2030 (WRFS), and Government Affairs.

Friday, October 17, 2008

An Introduction to Weather Normalization of Utility Bills for Alternative Energy Contractors

by: John Avina

More and more, alternative energy contractors want to prove to customers the savings they expect. Customers often want to know that they have saved the energy and costs they were originally promised. From the customers’ viewpoint, the simplest and most understandable proof of energy savings comes from a simple comparison of electricity bills. Did the system save on electricity costs or not?(1) In theory, a simple comparison of pre-installation bills to post-installation bills, and you will see if you have saved.
But if it is so easy, why write a paper on this? Well, it isn’t so easy. Let’s find out why.
Figure 1.1: Expected Pre and Post-Retrofit usage for chilled water system retrofit. (
Suppose a solar energy contractor installed a new solar electric system for a building. One likely would expect to see energy and cost savings from this retrofit. Figure 1.1 presents results our alternative energy contractor might expect.
But what if, instead, the bills presented the disaster shown in Figure 1.2?
Figure 1.2: A disaster of a project? Comparison of Pre-Retrofit and Post-Retrofit data (
Imagine showing a customer these results after they have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in your system. It is hard to inspire confidence in your abilities with results like this.
How should the solar energy contractor present this data to customer? Do you think the contractor would be feeling confident about the job, and about getting referrals for future solar projects? Probably not. The customer might simply look at the figures and, since figures don’t lie, conclude they have hired the wrong contractor, and that the solar system doesn’t work very well!
There are many reasons the system may not have delivered the expected savings. A possibility is that the project is delivering savings, but the summer after the installation was much hotter than the summer before the installation. Hotter summers translate into higher air conditioning loads, which could result in higher utility bills.
Hotter Summer >> Higher Air Conditioning Load >> Higher Summer Utility Bills
In our example, we are claiming that because the post-installation weather was hotter, the solar electric project looked like it didn’t save any energy, even though it really did. Imagine explaining that to customers!
If the weather really was the cause of the higher usage, then how could you ever use utility bills to measure savings from solar energy projects? Your savings numbers would be at the mercy of the weather. Savings numbers would be of no value at all (unless the weather was the same year after year).
Our example may appear a bit exaggerated, but it begs the question: Could weather really have such an impact on savings numbers?
It can, but usually not to this extreme. The summer of 2005 was the hottest summer in a century of record-keeping in Detroit, Michigan. There were 18 days at 90°F or above, compared to the usual 12 days. In addition, the average temperature in Detroit was 74.8°F compared to the normal 71.4 °F. At first glance, 3 degrees doesn’t appear significant, however, if you convert the temperatures to cooling degree days(2), as shown in Figure 1.3, the results look dramatic. Just comparing the June through August period, there were 909 cooling degree days in 2005 as compared to 442 cooling degree days in 2004.
That is more than double! Cooling Degree Days are roughly proportional to relative building cooling requirements. For Detroit then, one can infer that an average building required (and possibly consumed) more than twice the amount of energy for cooling in the summer of 2005 than the summer of 2004. It is likely that in the Upper Midwestern United States there were several solar contractors who faced exactly this problem!
Figure 1.3: Cooling Degree Days in Detroit, Michigan for 2004 and 2005 (
How is a solar energy contractor going to show savings from a solar electric system under these circumstances? A simple comparison of utility bills will not work, as the expected savings will get buried beneath the increased cooling load. The solution would be to somehow apply the same weather data to the pre- and post-installation bills. Then there would be no penalty for extreme weather. This is exactly what weather normalization does. To show savings from a retrofit (or good alternative energy practice), and to avoid our disastrous example, an alternative energy contractor should normalize the utility bills for weather, so that changes in weather conditions will not compromise the savings numbers.
The practice of normalizing energy bills to weather with energy software is catching on, with more and more energy managers, energy engineers, and contractors correcting their bills for weather because they want to be able to prove that they are actually saving energy from their efforts. This process has many names: weather correction, weather normalization, tuning to weather, tuning, or weather regression.
Rather than compare last year’s usage to this year’s usage, when we use weather normalization, we compare how much energy we would have used this year to how much energy we did use this year. Many in our industry do not call the result of this comparison, “Savings”, but rather “Usage Avoidance” or “Cost Avoidance” (if comparing costs). But, since we are trying to keep this chapter at an introductory level, we will simply use the word Savings.
When we tried to compare last year’s usage to this year’s usage, we saw Figure 1.2, and a disastrous project. We used the equation:
Savings = Last year’s usage – This year’s usage
When we normalize for weather, the same data results in Figure 1.4, and uses the equation:
Savings = How much energy we would have used this year – This year’s usage
Figure 1.4: Comparison of Baseline and Actual (Post-Retrofit) data with Weather Correction (
The next question is, how do we figure out how much energy we would have used this year? That is where weather normalization comes in.
First, we select a year of utility bills(3) to which we want to compare future usage. This would typically be the year before you started your alternative energy program, the year before you installed a retrofit, or the year before you, the new energy contractor, were hired, or just some year in the past that you want to compare current usage to. In this example, we would select the year of utility data before the installation of the solar electric system. We will call this year the Base Year(4).
Figure 1.5: Cooling Degree Days (
Then we calculate degree days for the Base Year billing periods. Because this example is only concerned with cooling, we need only gather Cooling Degree Days (not Heating Degree Days). A section on calculating Degree Days follows later in the chapter. For now, recognize only that Cooling Degree Days need to be gathered at this step.(5) Figure 1.5 presents Cooling Degree Days over two years.
Figure 1.6: Finding the relationship between usage and weather data. The blue dots represent the utility bills. The red line is the best fit line. (
To establish the relationship between usage and weather, we find the line that comes closest to all the bills. This line, the Best Fit Line, is found using statistical regression techniques available in canned utility bill tracking software and in spreadsheets.
The next step is to ensure that the Best Fit Line is good enough to use. The quality of the best fit line is represented by statistical indicators, the most common of which, is the R2 value. The R2 value represents the goodness of fit, and in energy engineering circles, an R2 > 0.75 is considered an acceptable fit. Some meters have little or no sensitivity to weather or may have other unknown variables that have a greater influence on usage than weather. These meters may have a low R2 value. You can generate R2 values for the fit line in Excel or other canned utility bill tracking software.(6)
This Best Fit Line has an equation, which we call the Fit Line Equation, or in this case the Baseline Equation.(7) The Fit Line Equation from Figure 1.6 might be:
Baseline kWh = (5 kWh/Day * #Days) + (417 kWh/CDD * #CDD)
Once we have this equation, we are done with this regression process.
Let’s recap what we have done: We normalized Base Year utility bills and weather data for number of days in the bill. We graphed normalized Base Year utility data versus normalized weather data. We found a Best Fit Line through the data. The Best Fit Line then represents the utility bills for the Base Year. The Best Fit Line Equation represents the Best Fit Line, which in turn represents the Base Year of utility data.
Base Year bills ≈ Best Fit Line = Fit Line Equation
The Fit Line Equation represents how your customer used energy during the Base Year, and would continue to use energy in the future (in response to changing weather conditions) assuming no significant changes occurred in building consumption patterns.
Once you have the Baseline Equation, you can determine if you saved any energy.
How? You take a bill from some billing period after the Base Year. You (or your software) plug in the number of days from your bill and the number of Cooling Degree Days from the billing period into your Baseline Equation.
Suppose for a current month’s bill, there were 30 days and 100 CDD associated with the billing period.
Baseline kWh = (5 kWh/Day * #Days) + (417 kWh/CDD * #CDD)
Baseline kWh = (5 kWh/Day * 30) + (417 kWh/CDD * 100)
Baseline kWh = 41,850 kWh
Remember, the Baseline Equation represents how your customer used energy in the Base Year. So, with the new inputs of number of days and number of degree days, the Baseline Equation will tell you how much energy the building would have used this year based upon Base Year usage patterns and this year’s conditions (weather and number of days). We call this usage that is determined by the Baseline Equation, Baseline Usage.
Now, to get a fair estimate of energy savings, we compare:
Savings = How much energy we would have used this year – How much energy we did use this year
or if we change the terminology a bit:
Savings = Baseline Energy Usage – Actual Energy Usage
where Baseline Energy Usage is calculated by the Baseline Equation, using current month’s weather and number of days, and Actual Energy Usage is the current month’s bill. Both equations immediately preceding are the same, as Baseline = “How much energy we would have used this year”, and Actual represents “How much energy we did use this year.”
So, using our example, suppose this month’s bill was for 30,000 kWh:
Savings = Baseline Energy Usage – Actual Energy Usage
Savings = 41,850 kWh – 30,000 kWh
Savings = 11,850 kWh
Cooling Degree Days (CDD) are roughly proportional to the energy used for cooling a building, while Heating Degree Days, (HDD) are roughly proportional to the energy used for heating a building. Degree Days, although simply calculated, are quite useful in energy calculations. They are calculated for each day, and then are summed over some period of time (months, a year, etc.).(8)
Figure 1.7: Determining the balance point using a kWh/day vs. Outdoor Temperature graph (
In general, daily degree days are the difference between the building’s balance point and the average outside temperature. To understand degree days, then, we first need to understand the concept of Balance Points.
Buildings have their own set of Balance Points for heating and for cooling – and they may not be the same. The Heating Balance Point can be defined as the outdoor temperature at which the building starts to heat. In other words, when the outdoor temperature drops below the Heating Balance Point, the building’s heating system kicks in. Conversely, when the outdoor temperature rises above the Cooling Balance Point, the building starts to cool.(9) A building’s balance point is determined by nearly everything associated with it, since nearly every component associated with a building has some effect on the heating of the building: building envelope construction (insulation values, shading, windows, etc.), temperature set points, thermostat set back schedules if any, the amount of heat producing equipment (and people) in the building, lighting intensity, ventilation, HVAC system type, HVAC system schedule, lighting and miscellaneous equipment schedules, among other factors.
In the past, before energy professionals used computers and utility manager software in their everyday tasks, degree day analysis was simplified by assuming balance points of 65°F for both heating and cooling. As a result, it was easy to publish and distribute degree days, since everyone calculated them using the same standard (that is, using 65°F as the balance point). It is more accurate, though, to recognize that every building has its own balance points, and to calculate degree days accordingly. Consequently, you are less likely to see degree days available, as more sophisticated analysis requires you to calculate your own degree days based upon your own building’s balance points.(10)
Figure 1.8: kWh /day vs Average Outdoor Temperature (
To find the balance point temperature of a building, graph the Usage/Day against Average Outdoor Temperature (of the billing period) as shown in Figure 1.7. Notice that Figure 1.7 presents two trends. One trend is flat, and the other trend slopes up and to the right. We have drawn red lines signifying the two trends in Figure 1.8. (Ignore the vertical red line for now.) The flat trend represents Non-Temperature Sensitive Consumption, which is electrical consumption that is not related to weather. In Figure 1.7, Non-Temperature Sensitive Consumption is roughly the same every month, about 2450 kWh per day. Examples of Non-Temperature Sensitive Consumption include lighting, computers, miscellaneous plug load, industrial equipment and well pumps. Any usage above the horizontal red line is called Temperature Sensitive Consumption, which represents electrical usage associated with the building’s cooling system. Notice that in Figure 1.8, the Temperature Sensitive Consumption only occurs at temperatures greater than 61°F. The intersection of the two trends is called the Balance Point, or Balance Point Temperature, which is 61°F in this example.
Notice also that, in Figure 1.8, as the outdoor temperature increases, consumption increases. As it gets hotter outside, the building uses more energy, thus the meter is used for cooling, but not heating. The Balance Point Temperature we found is the Cooling Balance Point Temperature (not the Heating Balance Point Temperature).
Figure 1.9: kWh/day vs Average Outdoor Temperature (
We can view the same type of graph for heating usage in Figure 1.9. Notice that the major difference between the two graphs, is that the Temperature Sensitive trend slopes up and to the left (rather than up and the right). As the outdoor temperature drops, the building use more electricity to heat the building.
Now that we have established our balance point temperature, we have all the information required to calculate Degree Days. If your graph resembles Figures 1.9, you will be using Heating Degree Days. If your graph resembles Figure 1.8, you will be using Cooling Degree Days.
Figure 1.10: Daily Usage Normalized to Production and Weather. The Baseline Equation is Shown at the Bottom of the Figure (
More and more energy professionals are coming to understand the value of normalizing utility data for production in addition to (or instead of) weather. This works if you have a simple variable that quantifies your production. For example, a computer assembly plant can track the number of computers produced. If a factory manufactures several different products, for example, disk drives, desktop computers, and printers, it may be difficult to come up with a single variable that could be used to represent production for the entire plant (i.e. tons of product). However, since analysis is performed on a meter level rather than a plant level, if you have meters (or submeters) that serve just one production line, then you can normalize usage from one meter with the product produced from that production line.
Figure 1.10 presents normalized daily usage versus production for a widget factory. The baseline equation for this normalization is shown at the bottom of the figure. Notice that Units of Production (UPr) as well as Cooling Degree Days (CDD) are included in the equation, meaning that this normalization included weather data and production data.
School districts, colleges, and universities often normalize for the school calendar. Real estate concerns, hotels and prisons normalize for occupancy. Essentially any variable can be used for normalization, as long as it is an accurate, consistent predictor of energy usage patterns. Again, these normalizations can be performed by specialized utility bill tracking software, or using spreadsheets.
Weather varies from year to year. As a result, it becomes difficult to know whether the change in your utility bills is due to fluctuations in weather, or due to your alternative energy system, or both. If you wish to use utility bills to determine energy savings from your alternative energy system with any degree of accuracy, it is vital that you remove the variability of weather from your energy savings equation. This is done using the weather normalization techniques described in this paper. You may adjust your usage for other variables as well, such as occupancy or production.
-- 1) What are the alternatives? The most common might involve determining savings for each of the energy conservation activities using a spreadsheet, or perhaps even a building model. Both of these alternative strategies could require much additional work, as the alternative energy contractor likely has employed several strategies over his tenure. One other drawback of spreadsheets is that energy conservation strategies may interact with each other, so that total savings may not be the sum of the different strategies, and finally, spreadsheets are often projections of energy savings, not measurements.
2) Cooling degree days are defined in detail later in the chapter, however a rough meaning is given here. Cooling Degree Days are a rough measure of how much a period's weather should result in a building’s cooling requirements. A hotter day will result in more Cooling Degree Days, whereas a colder day may have no Cooling Degree Days. Double the amount of Cooling Degree Days should result in roughly double the cooling requirements for a building. Cooling Degree Days are calculated individually for each day. Cooling Degree Days over a month or billing period, are merely a summation of the Cooling Degree Days of the individual days. The same is true for Heating Degree Days.
3) Some energy professionals select 2 years of bills rather than one. Good reasons can be argued both for choosing one year or two years. Do not choose periods of time that are not in intervals of 12 months (for example, 15 months, or 8 months could lead to inaccuracy).
4) Please do not confuse Base Year with Baseline. Base Year is a time period, from which bills were used to determine the building’s energy usage patterns with respect to weather data, whereas Baseline, as will be described later, represents how much energy we would have used this month, based upon Base Year energy usage patterns, and current month conditions (i.e. weather and number of days in the bill).
5) Canned energy software does this automatically for you, while in spreadsheets, this step can be tedious.
6) The statistical calculations behind the R2 value, and a treatment of three other useful indicators, T-Statistic, Mean Bias Error, and CVRMSE are not treated in this chapter. For more information on these statistical concepts, consult any college statistics textbook. (For energy contractors, a combination of R2 values and T-Statistics is usually enough.)
7) Baseline Equation = Fit Line Equation +/- Baseline Modifications. We cover Baseline Modifications later in this chapter.
8) You would not sum or average high or low temperatures for a period of time, as the result would not be useful. However, you can sum degree days, and the result remains useful, as it is proportional to the heating or cooling requirements of a building.
9) If you think about it, you don’t have to treat this at the building level, but rather can view it at a meter level. (To simplify the presentation, we are speaking in terms of a building, as it is less abstract.) Some buildings have many meters, some of which may be associated with different central plants. In such a building, it is likely that the disparate central plants would have different balance points, as conditions associated with the different parts of the building may be different.
10) If you calculate degree days by hand, or using a spreadsheet, you would use the following formulae for your calculations. Of course, commercially available utility manager software that performs weather nomalization handles this automatically.
For each day, HDDi = [ TBP – ( Thi + Tlo ) / 2 ] x 1 Day+ CDDi = [ ( Thi + Tlo ) / 2 – TBP ] x 1 Day+
Where: HDDi = Heating Degree Days for one day CDDi = Heating Degree Days for one day TBP = Balance Point Temperature, Thi = Daily High Temperature Tlo = Daily Low Temperature + signifies that you can never have negative degree days. If the HDDi or CDDi calculation yields a negative number, then the result is 0 degree days for that day.
Heating and Cooling Degree Days can be summed, respectively, over several days, a month, a billing period, a year, or any interval greater than a day. For a billing period (or any period greater than a day),
Take a look back to Figure 1.3, where you may have noticed that there are more than twice as many Cooling Degree Days (CDD) in August 2005 than in August 2004. Because Cooling Degree Days are roughly proportional to a building’s cooling energy usage, one could rightly assume that the cooling requirements of the building would be roughly double as well.

Spinal Cord Injury: Diagnosis with Medical Intuition and Treatment with Alternative & Integrative Energy Healing

by: Brent Atwater

Spinal Cord Injury: Diagnosis with Medical Intuition and Treatment with Alternative & Integrative Energy Healing Spinal cord injury (herniated discs, pinched nerves, collapsed vertebrae) is one of the most devastating catastrophic injuries that one can endure. The spinal cord is the gateway for all nerve paths. The location of the injury and the severity of the damage determine the complications involved and the dysfunction. Science is discovering that the sooner the spinal cord injury is addressed and treatment begins, there is a direct correlation to recovery of the affected areas. As a medical intuitive and "human MRI", when assessing a spinal cord injury, I look at the 360 degree view of the traumatized area. Failing to "see" the entire injured area can produce further injury, and create neglect in areas that need to be immediately addressed. It is best to look at each segment of the spine (discs and vertebrae) and spinal cord nerves in 4 equal quadrants. When helping to diagnose and evaluate the damaged area, reevaluating every 3 hours for the first 24 hours until the client is stabilized produces more accurate readings and beneficial results, as inflammation, further compression and damage can progress after the initial injury has occurred. Although the initial site of the catastrophic injury is your primary source of dehabilitation, the damaged neural pathways can extend beyond that original area and days later create problems of their own. To counter this problem, "tracking" the energy of the affected neural pathways will give you further information of possible deterioration and additional side effects. If you do not have extending neural circumstances, containing the affected areas in a bubble of Healing energy will usually suspend further exacerbation of future problems. While the allopathic physicians are providing their treatments, you can effectively use energy healing to complement and integrate with their procedures. Removing pain is usually the first consideration, unless the client is rendered "numb" by his experience. Secondly, work on inflammation to help minimize current damage and to alleviate possible secondary symptoms and spinal surgery. In my experience in healing the spinal cord nerves, vertebrae and herniated discs of a paralyzed dog in 90 days, it is best to work on each issue separately so as not to overload the client's health response system during a time of great stress. Use energy healing to build a solid foundation step by step to rebuild the molecular structure of the cells and in turn the bodily systems. It is also best to work in increments and intermittently, so the molecular structures can recalibrate, and regenerate without stressing the physical structures. First, regenerate the vertebrae's cellular structure in order to provide a foundation that is capable of holding the disc. Secondly, reestablish the health of each disc, leaving the neural pathways as your last concern. Once the spine is stabilized, then revitalize the neural pathways. If you reactivate the nerves before you have a solid base in the spinal column, you might create more inflammation and pain than necessary. Rebuilding a system, inch by inch produces a stronger foundation that will allow the client to rebuild his muscular system with physical therapy without causing extra pain. Although stem cell research is providing a gateway of hope for Spinal cord injuries, electromagnetic bio molecular energy healing can and will be a beneficial healing modality. Feel free to reprint this article in its original format. Contact Information: Brent Atwater. Alternative Medical Specialist Medical Intuitive, Distance Energy Healing ATL, GA Phone: 404.242.9022 USA NC Phone: 910.692.5206 USA Website: Email: Disclaimer: Brent Atwater is not a medical doctor or associated with any branch of medicine. Brent works in Alternative Medicine. She offers her opinions based on her intuition, and her personal energy healing work, which is not a substitute for medical procedures or treatments. Always consult a physician or trained health care professional concerning any medical problem or condition before undertaking any diet, health related or lifestyle change programs. There are no guarantees with the Energy work.

Alternative Fuels

by David Odell

With the rise of gas prices these days, many people are looking for other ways to fill their tanks. Alternative fuels are a great way to keep your car running while preserving the natural resources of the environment, and many of these resources are cost-effective as well.
There are a number of oils that can be used as alternative fuels, such as fossil fuels, which includes petroleum and coal. These materials are becoming more and more scarce due to overproduction in factories and the burning of toxic wastes, so it is important to recycle and 'live green' so that these resources can be protected. Propane and natural gas are also among the alternative fuels that can be used to power cars, and while these sources may be a little more experience in some places, there are some cars that run just fine using these sources; models from Honda and many European cars have already switched over to being run entirely from alternative fuels, and these vehicles are becoming more and more popular.
Non-fossil methane and vegetable oil are also among the alternative fuels that you may want to investigate for your car. You can talk to the dealership that you purchased the car from, as well as search online to figure out whether your car's model with run properly using these alternative forms of gas, and you may find that the internal parts of your car are more protected with these less abrasive forms of fuel as well.
In addition to the rapid loss of natural resources all over the world, there are a number of reasons why alternative fuels are in higher demand than ever before. Almost two million cars that use alternative fuel were sold in the U.S. in 2007, which means that more and more people are starting to learn more about this trend. The environmental concerns surrounding this fuel also has a lot to do with global warming, since the temperature of the earth has increased dramatically since the 20th century. Burning the fossil fuel that is usually used for gas has caused an increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations, which is why learning more about alternative fuels is so important.
You may also want to learn more about renewable energy if you're thinking about using natural substances to power your car. Renewable energy includes methods like solar power, wind power and hydropower, and manufacturers are currently working to distribute more automobiles that use renewable energy. There are several machines that are run by the power of the wind or water, and if you are interested in learning more about this process, you can visit sites like to learn more about how you can start incorporating alternative fuels in your daily life.


Solar Powered Lights: Alternative to Conventional Lighting

by Ernesto Maitim

Many would content that solar powered lights are perfect only for those where regular source of power is not available or if accent lights are needed instead. These are the kind of lighting that has solar panels in them to collect the energy coming from the sun and then converts it to electricity. Such power is stored on reliable rechargeable solar battery.
While solar powered lights can last giving off illumination up to ten hours, it should be noted that the brightness is at its fullest on the first few hours, then as the hours progress slowly fades until it runs totally of power. Still, if one is able to fully charge the batteries by letting them be exposed to sun shine for a long 8 hours, then you can be assured of more or less 8 hours of bright illumination. These solar outdoor lights possess built-in sensors that make them turn off automatically at the start of the day and then lights up during nighttime.
As we all know that solar powered lights use clean alternative power from the sun, there is indeed something noble about us using these kinds of lighting in our garden. This means we are truly concerned about our environment by not using the conventional form of power or electricity. Energy from the sun is renewable environment friendly power, which means no dangerous pollutants are emitted.
The only downside of solar powered lights is that they still have to show improvement when it comes to the intensity of the brightness of their illumination. They can be bright, but not as bright as the ordinary light bulbs that burn via electrical power. However, it is certain that with the continuous evolution of the solar technology, in no time will we see improvement of the solar lights on this regard. For now, the outdoor solar lights, especially of low wattage are excellent for lighting and accentuating the landscape of the garden.
For more articles on solar powered garden lights and other outdoor solar lights and gizmos, do visit our Solar Lights and Gizmos blog.


Perpetual Remodeling Syndrome: Alternative residential energy

by Kelly Smith

So you're fed up with your monthly gas and electricity bill? Or you're building a new abode and you want to get off on the right track with controlling how much utility power you have to buy from an outside producer?
What you need are alternate sources of energy. There are several ways to do this and you're free to mix and match in order to reach your energy freedom goals. No, I'm not recommending that you do any strip mining for coal in your backyard or install a nuclear reactor. (Might be a good idea, though.)
Choices for alternative energy sources
When it comes to providing some or all of your own energy sources, you have options, and the viability of these will vary according to where you live. Live out on the open plains? You're a good candidate for windmill type power (wind energy).

If you live in the sun belt (below the Mason-Dixon line), solar power is your ace in the hole.
If you happen to have a stream or fast-moving river in your backyard, you might just be able to harness that power to run your air conditioner, juice up your microwave, and heat your water. Let's look at these energy sources in more detail.
Ideally, you can use a little of all of these methods to meet your energy demands.

Electricity from wind energy
Wind is a great energy source because it's almost always in motion to some extent. And once you've got those big propellers set up and spinning, you're money ahead. Take that, electrical company!
This kind of power is generated using blades, like a fan, mounted on a pole, and incorporated with a wind turbine. The rotational power turns the turbine and converts this energy into electricity. To be most effective, many turbines are connected together on a "turbine farm."

Location of wind turbine farms
These farms are usually situated on plains or beaches. Recently, plans have been made to install floating farms in the Gulf of Mexico off the Texas coast. But for you, just stick them in your backyard. If anything, you might catch some flack from your homeowner's association.
Economical considerations for wind power
Although wind power is "free" as far as the raw material fee goes, there are still construction and operating costs involved. And, since a wind turbine presents a pretty large target, it is considered to be a vulnerable asset during a hurricane or tornado.
Using solar power for a residential energy supply
Solar energy is an even more predictable source of energy than wind. Even in the dog-dead still days of summer the sun shines, and even in the winter when the mercury drops, light energy is light energy. Solar panels also offer a smaller footprint than wind turbines.
They can either be mounted on a pole outside your home or simply laid on and secured to the roof of your home. And who sees it there? It might even keep some of that heat from entering your attic. Win-win, ka-ching!

The cost of solar power panels
Solar panels may sound expensive, and believe me, they are, but when all things are considered, the bite isn't really as bad as the bark. The main manufacturers (which you should use because in this case, a good track record and reputation are gold) are General Electric, Kyosera, Evergreen Spruce, British Petroleum, Sunteck, and Sharp.
These companies are very competitive so the pricing structure is fairly level. As a baseline, for a panel that converts the sun's energy into 200 Watts will run you between $800 and $1000 plus your labor (And just how expensive are you as a DIYer?).
One of the upsides of this is that once it's installed you won't see it on the local bendovernow power company bill. The other upside is that you will qualify for state and federal government tax deductions. Be sure to check your local details.

Using running water as an energy source
OK, granted that this option isn't much used by any but the most adventurous DIY homeowners. But if you're handy, you can put this together. You'll need a paddle wheel and you'll have to attach it to to a turbine, similar to the one used in wind energy generation.
You've likely seen plenty of these kind of set-ups in movies, but used to grind grains rather than turn a turbine. The concept is basically the same.

How does it all work?
Your system will generate the electricity and store it in wet batteries. As you know, wet batteries are a direct current (DC) storage medium. Homes run on alternating current (AC). Hmmm, something must be done to translate the juice.
You'll need a converter, or more properly called, an inverter. Kyosera does market one with their panels as a selling point. The batteries in the system are called deep-cycle batteries. This is unlike your car's battery which is a shallow-cycle battery.
The difference here is that a deep-cycle battery provides a steady low output of electricity whereas your car's battery needs a big jolt when starting and then charges steadily as you drive.
Can you be a stand-alone energy provider for yourself?
Probably not. Whether you use wind, water, or the sun to provide raw material for electricity, nature itself is not going to be as consistent as a power plant burning gas or coal. The solution?

Tie into the local power grid.
When you have less power than you need, buy some. When you have more, sell some; although they won't give you the same price they charge you, tha' bums!
You'll have to ensure the power company that your power is compatible with theirs. It's important to be compatible with both their frequency and sinusoidal waveform. You will also have to be sure that when conventional power in your neighborhood is experiencing an outage, you're not feeding electricity into the lines. You might fry a lineman working on the system!


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