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Links for September 29th through October 5th

by Mel Starrs on October 6, 2011

in News

These are my links for September 29th through October 5th:

  • Installed Cost of Solar Photovoltaic Systems in the U.S. Declined Significantly in 2010 and 2011 « Berkeley Lab News Center – "The average installed cost of residential and commercial PV systems completed in 2010 fell by roughly 17 percent from the year before, and by an additional 11 percent within the first six months of 2011. These recent installed cost reductions are attributable, in part, to dramatic reductions in the price of PV modules. Galen Barbose of Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division and co-author of the report explains: “Wholesale PV module prices have fallen precipitously since about 2008, and those upstream cost reductions have made their way through to consumers.”"
  • Energy Center of Wisconsin | Go hybrid with HyGCHP – An easy-to-use, but sophisticated method of analyzing various hybrid geothermal configurations is one piece that has been missing from the world of geothermal analysis tools. With our free modeling tool, HyGCHP (Hybrid Ground-Coupled Heat Pumps) you can use the powerful TRNSYS-based ground heat exchanger module1 to investigate several configurations of geothermal system, including both conventional geothermal systems and various hybrid options, from heating dominated to cooling dominated systems
  • Fuel poverty statistics – Department of Energy and Climate Change – Statistics and a wealth of other information from DECC: "A household is said to be in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on fuel to maintain a satisfactory heating regime (usually 21 degrees for the main living area, and 18 degrees for other occupied rooms)."
  • Planning Portal – Green power move planned – "The new permitted development rules remove the need for planning permission in most circumstances for small-scale wind turbines and air source heat pumps."
  • Planning Portal – Law Commission launches ‘rights to light’ review – "The Law Commission has announced a review of the rights to light. This exercise will begin in earnest next year and will involve a consultation paper in 2013 and the possibility of a report and legislation in the shape of a draft bill by late 2014 or early the following year."
  • – PV innovations seem to be happening on a weekly basis at the minute: "Mitsubishi Chemical is the first company to create prototype spray-on solar cells, which at present have a practical conversion level of 10.1 percent of light energy into electricity."
  • The Low Carbon Kid: 899MW of newly approved biomass plants could increase carbon emissions – Biomass's fall from grace continues: "The EEA's report, however, says that biomass – fuels of plant origin like trees – should not be considered carbon neutral because this "fails to recognize that if bioenergy were not produced, land would typically grow plants anyway, and those plants would continue to absorb carbon and help to reduce carbon in the air".
    The report calls it "double-counting to credit bioenergy for reducing carbon in the atmosphere through plant growth" because "plants would grow and absorb that carbon anyway"."
  • Sun-free solar power?, Tech – TechTalk – Mumbai Mirror – <p>A new photovoltaic energy-conversion system developed at MIT can be powered solely by heat, generating electricity with no sunlight at all. While the principle involved is not new, the team have created a new material to convert heat into precisely tuned wavelengths of light selected to match the wavelengths that photovoltaic cells can best convert to electricity.</p>
  • What is Energy Use Intensity? ASHRAE Seeks to Define – <p>A forum seeking input on the energy target initiative was held at ASHRAE’s 2011 Annual Conference in Montreal, June 25-29. Also, ASHRAE has developed a public policy brief asking Congress to foster collaboration among the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and ASHRAE along with partner organizations to:
    Establish a single objective definition of energy use intensity (EUI) for the design of commercial buildings
    Determine a single objective baseline EUI for design of commercial buildings from which to measure relative energy use reductions
    Create a performance environment that will support reduction in energy consumption associated with all loads in commercial buildings
    Identify a single objective set of commercial building types and simulation models for establishment of target design EUIs
    Produce one set of design target EUIs for the commercial building sector to guide the development of fu</p>
  • NHBC: How occupants interact with their homes – "The report concludes that, although there may be an improvement in energy efficiency in homes built to the most recent, and even future, building Standards, the full benefit of these changes will only be realised if people living in them are willing and able to change their current behaviour. But they will not do that without help and support and it is here where the housing industry, along with others, has a vital role to play."
  • The new planning rules: faster, simpler – but at what cost? | Analysis | Building Design – The NPPF debate rages on: "Whatever the final details of the reforms, a major overhaul looks certain. As the national row rages on, the government has refused to countenance a full U-turn. But ministers’ recent remarks have been increasingly conciliatory, signaling the potential for changes.
    As it stands, the framework offers potential for the architecture profession. Its success will depend on pinning down what is “sustainable”, and whether good design is something for which the government thinks developers should pay."
  • True meaning of sustainability | Opinion | Building Design – Good points: "When is a real understanding of the word going to sink in? A process is sustainable. A material object within that process does not by its static nature contribute to “sustainability”. It is the procurement and use and management of resources within a closed cycle environment — in most cases the Earth — that may be sustainable or not.
    A re-education is needed. Many efforts, mostly well meaning, to do the right thing are counter-productive. True sustainability is a highly technical process requiring understanding, competent design, monitoring and revising."
  • The myth of Easter Island’s ecocide – Mark Lynas shreds Jared Diamond's Easter Island parable, with well referenced papers. I'm kind of disappointed, but not surprised. Is it me or is this year's underlying theme discreditment?
  • The myth of Easter Island’s ecocide – Mark Lynas shreds Jared Diamond's Easter Island parable, with well referenced apers. I'm kind of disappointed, but not surprised. Is it me or is this year's underlying theme discreditment?
  • UK homes need to warm to new sustainable heating technologies, says report – Decarbonising grid a must before this is reality: "Dr Adam Hawkes, co-author of the paper, discusses highlights from the paper including the impact of gas boilers on our climate, which accounts for 12.4 per cent of total UK greenhouse gas emissions. He then goes on to talk about the different types of low carbon residential heating systems available and how they can reduce our impact on the environment if we can find ways of integrating them more effectively into our infrastructure."
  • RETScreen International 2011-09-02 – An updated version of the RETScreen Clean Energy Project Analysis Software was released on September 2, 2011. The improvements include:
    enhanced energy algorithms (e.g. building envelope model)
    bug fixes for a number of minor items in the software (e.g. PV off-grid model)
    updated manual with new features and content (e.g. pipe insulation cost table)
    increased number of links to energy resource maps (e.g. tidal power in Scotland)
    more than 600 additional products added to the product database (e.g. solar air heaters)
    additional training course modules integrated (e.g. Engineering Tools in RETScreen)
  • whysustainability

    thanks for these useful links