Category Archives: Efficiency

Efficiency During The Holidays: What’s the cost of decorating?

Dominion North Carolina has put together a calculator to help figure the cost to light your home — but it may fall short for the true holiday fanatic. The app only lets you assume running 150 strings of lights for 24 hours/day — certainly not up to Clark Griswold standards:

Maxing out Dominion’s calculator would mean burning 396 Kwh/day at  cost of about $1,300 in December. But it is the holidays, after all, and you could turn the lights off during the day.

National Grid included among its holiday tips a “smart baking” section, and noted that “on average, a whole meal can be cooked in a slow cooker for 17 cents worth of electricity.” The utility suggests using the smallest appliance, pan and burner while cooking to save energy, and notes microwave ovens require less than half the energy of a conventional oven.

And does your neighborhood go all-out on the homefront decorations? A string of lights on the tree or mantle may not draw that much power, but according to National Grid more elaborate decorations come with a cost.

Yard inflatables can which range from simple blow-up cartoon characters to large globes with rotating figures, blowing snow and lights. “Large globes consume about 150 watts per hour, while rotating carousels consume around 200 watts. At 10 hours per day, the total cost of electricity could be $10 per inflatable, per month,” the utility said.

Full artcle @ UtilityDive


Essess – Startup Gets $10.8 Million In VC To Detect Energy Leaks

Over the past few years, Essess Inc. has deployed cars mounted with imaging sensors to drive around the U.S. creating heat maps that show which homes aren’t sealed properly, wasting energy and their owners’ money.

The startup, which told Venture Capital Dispatch it raised $10.75 million since its founding in 2011 from venture investors, is now rolling out its technology for use by power utilities.

The idea is that utilities could use the information collected and processed by Essess to tell their customers where exactly their “house envelopes” are leaking, and what fixes could improve the seal.

This approach, according to Essess Chief Executive Thomas Scaramellino, could help utilities and customers make improvements in energy savings that are larger and longer-lasting than simply replacing an old lightbulb with a more efficient one, for example.

Essess, whose roots are in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is joining a growing number of startups that are going after the billions of dollars that utilities in the U.S. must spend on energy-efficiency programs under state mandates.

The goal of the tech companies is to lower the cost of analyzing which buildings are most wasteful and pinpoint the reasons remotely, in order to avoid in-person and expensive energy audits.

Essess has a high-tech method, with a focus on the “building envelope.” It’s using advances in robotics, computer vision and machine learning, and collects more than three terabytes of data each night, the CEO said.

Heat leaking from window frames, doors and poorly insulated attics and walls can make people uncomfortable and power use inefficient. The company’s approach allows it to gather a lot of information about many homes quickly, and yet produce very specific home-by-home results. It can pinpoint exactly where air is leaking in each individual home, the company says. It says that it can do thermal scans of entire utility service territories in days or weeks.

Full Article @ WSJ

How the most efficient states convince utilities to conserve energy

When it comes to promoting energy efficiency, it’s all about incentives.

The least energy efficient states in the nation have no efficiency resource standards in place, a new nationwide survey finds, and typically do not have policies in place that treat energy efficiency as a resource.

Conversely, state law in Massachusetts requires utilities to prioritize cost-effective energy efficiency over other resources when making procurement decisions, and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has named Massachusetts as the most efficiency state for the fourth consecutive year.

Essentially, development of specific energy savings targets for utilities or independent statewide program administrators is one of the most direct and effective efforts a state can take to become more efficient, according to the ACEEE’s annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.

“States are truly at the forefront of energy efficiency policy in the United States,” said Maggie Molina, Director of ACEEE’s Utilities, State, and Local Policy program.”What we’ve found is when the right state policy tools are in place, consumers are then in power to make smarter efficiency choices.”

This eighth version of the scorecard greater emphasis on utility and public policy, and for the first time includes a metric worth negative points. ACEEE notes, for instance, that the past year has seen a rise in efforts from large customers to completely opt out of energy efficiency programs. The report subtracted one point from states that allow such opt outs without requiring customers to demonstrate equivalent investments in energy efficiency.

For the most part, the rankings bear out as might be expected—states in the southeast and states with significant oil and gas production find themselves ranked lower in efficiency. The more efficient states have a reputation for valuing efficiency and green power. The scorecard uses a 50-point scale, with 20 of those possible points coming from the utility sector.

Massachusetts, for example, has a perfect 20/20 utility score in ACEEE’s rankings.

California was followed by a three-way tie between Oregon (15/20 utility score), Rhode Island (20/20) and Vermont (18.5/20). On the lower side of the list, North Dakota (0/20) was named the least-efficient state, followed byWyoming (2/20), South Dakota (3.5/20), Mississippi (1/20) and Alaska (0/20).

But a closer look at ACEE’s findings reveals policy similarities impacting utilities, ratepayers, and the ancillary industries built around the power industry…

Full Article @ Utility Dive

Aquion Energy Raises Another $38 Million to Advance Grid Storage

VC-funded battery maker Aquion Energy closed its Round E financing at $36.8 million.

In January of this year, Aquion closed a $55 million Round D to push along its manufacturing and commercial deployment. Investors in Aquion include Bill Gates, Yung’s Enterprise, Nick and Joby Pritzker (through their family’s firm Tao Invest), Bright Capital, Gentry Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital, and Advanced Technology Ventures. Trinity Capital Investment and CapX Partners recently added $20 million in venture debt, bringing Aquion’s equity, debt and grant total to more than $150 million. Aquion also recently added Thomas McDaniel, former CFO at Edison International, to its board of directors.

Aquion plans to ramp up production at its western Pennsylvania factory and has made some small commercial deliveries.

The need for energy storage on a stressed grid, along with the storage mandates recently enacted by several state utility commissions, is setting the stage for a huge market with rapid growth. Utilities are starting to demand large-scale energy storage, and venture capital is being deployed to meet this emerging need. (See our summary of recent energy storage RFQs.)

But it’s still early days, as startups and established vendors alike begin to ramp for a market still in formation.

Aquion Energy says its sodium-ion battery technology can deliver round-trip energy efficiency of 85 percent, a ten-year, 5,000-plus-cycle lifespan, energy storage capacity optimized to charge and discharge for multi-hour applications. The firm has a price target of $250 per kilowatt-hour.

Aquion’s products are starting to be deployed at a number of pilots in California and Hawaii by energy storage integrators such as Greensmith andStem.

Full Article at GreenTechGrid

Image courtesy of Aquion Energy

Vote For Best Battery Chargers – Nominations Narrowed Down To 5

We’ve been keeping you apprised of the vote hosted at Kinja Coop to determine the best battery chargers out there.

The nominations are in and the vote is down the 5 favorites. Vote now if you have a preference. We’ll see who comes out on top before long!

The nominees are:

La Crosse Technology BC-700/BC-1000


PowerEx MH-C9000 WizardOnepowerex

Nitecore IntelliCharger I4




Maha Powerex MH-C808M 8 Cell Multi-Charger


Apple Battery Charger


Learn more about each one and vote for your favorite at Kinja Coop

This Website Has Tips To Extend Battery Life On Almost Any Phone

Nobody likes it when their smartphone gives them that low-battery warning. This website (by electronics retailer LiGo) has model specific tips for a huge number of smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Blackberry, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Sony, Nokia, and even Amazon.

Everything is nicely sorted in drop-down menus. Simply pick the manufacturer, then the model and check the tips to find ways to keep your device humming along and available for use when you need it most. The latest and most popular models are there as well as the many older models and sleepers that tend to have less coverage and fewer tips posted about them.

Click Here To Find Tips For Your Phone