Energy-efficiency Electronics Hardware A bridge Fuel To The Future

Demand for energy continues to be a major topic around the world. Renewable energy sources such as wind, solar or hydro power are increasingly being utilized to provide for that demand. Many States have even recently passed laws raising the minimum renewable usage cap that utility companies must implement into their overall supply. But … we still require escalating amounts of energy for agriculture, industry, and to heat our homes and offices. Emerging as a “bridge fuel” to clean energy and renewable resources, the power electronics industry is poised to span that gap with hardware solutions needed to build intelligent power systems.

The Obama administration plans to spend billions of dollars on power conservation and sustainable energy projects as part of a $787 billion stimulus package which is has focused on energy efficiency. Andrew Fanara, of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program has famously said. “Energy efficiency is the bridge fuel we must build on and must invest in” he stresses “Energy efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest, fastest way to act.”

In part, the administration’s strategy is to use improved energy efficiency as a method of buying time to invest in and explore emerging and clean energy options. With initiatives like the smart power grid gaining traction, the power electronics hardware that makes it all work and its new designs aimed at increasing energy efficiency will be at the core of the plan.

Already, there is huge demand for power efficiency by consumers found an industry survey. And, consumers are willingly paying a premium for electronic hardware that delivers energy efficiency. This trend anticipates a growing number of electronic hardware devices will be utilized, which lowers costs and drives improved energy efficiency. Measured in dollars per watt this high volume of hardware deployment forecasts the efficiency for power electronics may drop to as low as 12 cents per watt by 2013.

The focal point of “smart power” systems and a national smart energy grid has clearly been on the hardware side of the equation. To be successful, in the not to distant future, engineers will also make use of the intelligence provided by software so that the hardware components communicate most effectively to accomplish maximum reduction of power consumption. The know-how exists now for this integrated software, but it is still far from widespread.

Power Profiling is a valuable energy-efficiency tool that granularly identifies the power consumed specifically by HVAC, appliances, networks, lighting etc. and communicates this information to users. A user profile is developed by use of proprietary algorithms that calculate information regarding a structure’s overall usage, and several data points such as the time of day and its energy consumption history.

The purpose of power profiling is to enable users to know exactly what activities or systems are consuming the most power, including how much, and how that consumption is affected by actions they take. Most HVAC and appliances are not yet enabled so numerous hardware metering devices are used throughout the structure, at least an adequate number to demonstrate to the user what the largest power users are and how to limit consumption.

Home Area Networks (HAN) are increasingly communicating with utilities in addition to the traditional media centers and computers. Both utilities and consumer electronics companies are offering and assortment of hardware solutions with methods of pre-programming and remotely controlling home systems such as water usage, heating & cooling, and appliances. With the arrival of “smart” appliances and new wireless network protocols designed specifically for energy-efficiency, many of these hardware solutions communicate to users and utilities over one or more wireless systems.

ZWave for media and home automation

ZigBee chosen by utility companies because of it’s secure protocol, and

EnOcean a European self-powered energy harvesting technology that powers devices without the use of batteries.

Hardware using these wireless protocols can all be controlled from a single point building management system, or a homeowner’s computer. Even though these technologies are still on the leading edge, trends indicates they are very near to wide-scale adoption, enabling buildings to connect to smart grid applications that exponentially increase energy-efficiency.

Advances in alternative energy sources have provided greener ways of producing electricity and the burgeoning energy-efficiency industry is providing a plethora of energy saving hardware devices to help users re-tool . We can reduce energy consumption with these advances and make strides toward energy independence. Consider what T. Boone Pickens says “In additional to putting our security in the hands of potentially unfriendly and unstable foreign nations, we spent $475 billion on foreign oil in 2008 alone. That’s money taken out of our economy and sent to foreign nations, and it will continue to drain the life from our economy for as long as we fail to stop the bleeding.

Projected over the next 10 years the cost will be $10 trillion – it will be the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind.”

“By investing in renewable energy and conservation, we can create millions of new jobs. Developing new alternative energies while utilizing natural gas for transportation and energy generation; securing our economy by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and keeping more money at home to pay for the whole thing.”

Moving forward with renewables is a must, but it is also a documented fact that this increased capacity will not be enough to meet upcoming demands and provide energy independence. The tremendous strides being made in energy efficiency technologies are to help stem the tide, bridging the gap.

Flexidry Enhancing Energy Efficiency For Modernahus, The New Green Housing Solution For The Uk

ModernaHus, the new generation of energy efficient green homes for the UK, will have 9500sm of its underfloor heating screeded with FlexiDry F1/7 day dry floor screed.

ModernaHus is being introduced in the UK after long trials by Scandinavian builders, Skanska. This innovative green home solution has already been adapted by several countries across Europe, and has been in the test phase in the UK for several years.

After two years of trials and considerable adaptation to suit the UK market and environment, the ModernaHus UK project is now underway and is scheduled for completion by October 2011.

The first phase of the ModernaHus UK project will comprise of 108 one to four bedroom residential units, in a rejuvenated site in Coldharbor Lane, Brixton. A good majority of the construction elements will be manufactured offsite and delivered to the site, ready for installation. This prefabricated building system has been found to be successful in bringing down the effective construction time while ensuring site safety as well as quality and finish of the products.

For energy efficiency, ModernaHus combines a well insulated building envelope, under floor heating, ground source heat pumps, solar panels and a central biomass boiler. The ModernaHus homes which will be 30% more efficient than normal homes, has obtained the Code for Sustainable Homes, Level 4.

With energy efficiency figuring as the priority for modern buildings, FlexiDry fast drying floor screeds is one of the screeds that is very much in demand by most major builders. When underfloor heating system can enhance energy efficiency, the use of the right screed is found to compound its effectiveness by acting as a thermal mass to dissipate the heat. FlexiDry floor screeds act as very good thermal conductors of heat and cut down the thermal losses and reduce the amount of heat required at the source. With an efficiency of 20-30% more than the normal anhydrite screeds, and drying times as less as 3 days to 21 days, FlexiDry is currently the chosen name for most of the major projects like ModernaHus.

Most Popular Fixes To Increase Home Comfort And Energy Efficiency

Keeping your home comfort levels high while maintaining an efficient home does not have to be difficult. In fact, there are several small things you can do around your home with very little money that will increase your comfort levels while decreasing your bills.

Insulate Electrical Outlets and Switches

A lot of energy is lost through drafty switches and sockets. You can purchase small kits at any big box retailer or home improvement store that will allow you to insulate all of your switches and outlets. Depending on the size of your home, you can typically do this for under $50.

Update Old Windows

Old windows can wreak havoc on your heating and cooling system. You may have to spend some money to replace the windows, but in most cases if you choose energy efficient windows you will make that money back in utility savings in just a few years. If you do not have the money to replace all the windows, do what you can and work on insulating the rest. Even just replacing the caulk around the windows can dramatically improve a drafty room. In the winter you can find plastic kits that will seal the windows, helping to improve the efficiency.

Check the Doors

Doors are another big source of heat loss during the winter. Cool air from indoors can also seep out during the summer months. You do not have to replace your doors to help fix this problem. If the doors are in good condition, consider using an expanding foam to reduce gaps around the door frame.

Sealing Vents

Laundry vents, outdoor faucets, and other types of hook ups can create energy loss. Walk around the outside perimeter of your home and inspect for these areas that could be insulated. Insulating and sealing these items can create a much more efficient home.

Attic Insulation

A good layer of insulation in your attic will prevent heat from escaping through the ceiling and roof of your home. You can do this on your own with just a small investment in the insulation. You can also hire a professional to blow in the insulation if you do not want to deal with this on your own.

Simple Additions

Another way to increase your homes comfort and lower bills is by adding small details such as insulated curtains. These will help prevent air from escaping and can be purchased for around $30 a set. If you have hardwood floors, adding a throw rug to rooms that are heavily populated will actually help maintain the temperature.
Professional Inspections

At least once a year you should have your heating and cooling system inspected. This will alert you of any potential problems, and can help you maintain your homes comfort while keeping your utility bills in check. If you have a service contract with a company this is typically covered. If not, it does not cost a lot of money to have an inspection done annually.