EEI research and project findings are disseminated through a wide variety of publications.

TitleAuthorsTypeJournalPublish DateDescriptionDownload
Improving Ventilation and Indoor Environmental Quality in California SchoolsTheresa Pistochini, Caton Mande, Mark Modera, Sarah Outcault, Angela SanguinettiProject Report2020This project developed and demonstrated approaches to synergistically improve ventilation and indoor environmental quality during replacements of packaged heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in California schools.Read Report
Reduced ecosystem services of desert plants from ground-mounted solar energy developmentSteven M. Grodsky, Rebecca R. HernandezPeer-reviewed ArticleNature Sustainability2020Deserts are prioritized as recipient environments for solar energy development; however, the impacts of this development on desert plant communities are unknown. Desert plants represent long-standing ecological, economic and cultural resources for humans, especially indigenous peoples, but their role in supplying ecosystem services (ESs) remains understudied. We measured the effect of solar energy development decisions on desert plants at one of the world’s largest concentrating solar power plants.Read Article
An Experimentally Validated Model of a Cross-Flow Sub-Wet Bulb Evaporative ChillerYahui Yang, Vinod Narayanan, Theresa Pistochini, Derrick RossPeer-reviewed ArticleThermal Science and Engineering Applications2020A simplified model to predict the performance of a novel sub-wet bulb evaporative chiller (SWEC) for producing chilled water is presented. The SWEC design uses a daisy-chained arrangement of cross-flow heat exchangers (HXs) with evaporative media located in between the heat exchangers to chill water below the outdoor wet bulb temperature (WB) in either a one-pass or two-pass arrangement.Read Report
Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Using Functional Storage Options in CaliforniaNelson DichterTechnical Report2020This research investigates the potential impact thermal energy storage systems can have on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by shifting the electric load associated with vapor-compression systems from peak to off-peak hours.Read Report
Simulated solar panels create altered microhabitats in desert landforms
Tanner, Karen E; Moore‚ O'Leary, Kara A; Parker, Ingrid M; Pavlik, Bruce M; Hernandez, Rebecca R;
Project ReportEcological Society of America Journal2020Solar energy development is a significant driver of land use change worldwide, and desert ecosystems are particularly well suited to energy production because of their high insolation rates. Deserts are also characterized by uncertain rainfall, high species endemism, and distinct landforms that vary in geophysical properties. Weather and physical features that differ across landforms interact with shade and water runoff regimes imposed by solar panels, creating novel microhabitats that influence biotic communities. Endemic species may be particularly affected because they often have limited distributions, narrow climatic envelopes, or specialized life histories.
Testing, Adjusting and Balancing HVAC Systems: An Overview of Certification AgenciesFredrick Meyers, Theresa PistochiniProject Report2020In this report, we examine the benefits of using a certified contractor for TAB and describe the three main certifying agencies and differences between them.Download
The Landscape of Residential Solar Water Heating in CaliforniaMithra Moezzi, Aaron Ingle, Loren LutzenhiserProject Report2020Despite the long history of solar thermal water heating, the literature on its use is scattered, siloed, and uneven in coverage. This report outlines the “landscape” of solar water heating for single-family residences in California, covering technologies, the supply chain and marketplace, households as purchasers and users, and data sources.Download
Transient simultaneous heat and mass transfer model to estimate drying time in a wetted fur of a cowElizabeth Chen, Vinod Narayanan, Theresa Pistochini, Erfan RasouliPeer-reviewed ArticleBiosystems Engineering2020To reduce heat stress that contributes to complications in milk production and breeding, dairy cows are typically cooled by intermittent water sprays coupled with fan-induced air flow. Industry currently utilises fixed duration on and off-cycles; however, water efficiency may be improved by matching the sprinkler off-time to the cow drying time that corresponds to current outdoor environmental conditions. Electricity use can also be reduced by varying fan speeds to achieve the required heat rejection rate for a given set of conditions. To achieve savings in water and electricity, a transient, one-dimensional simultaneous heat and mass transfer model of evaporation within the wetted fur layer of a dairy cows was developed to estimate drying time and heat rejection rate based on ambient conditions.Read Article
Beyond 100% Renewable: Policy and Practical Pathways to 24/7 Renewable Energy ProcurementGregory MillerPeer-reviewed ArticleThe Electricity Journal2019Corporations are increasingly shaping the future of the electric grid by pursuing 100% renewable energy goals that seek to match their annual energy consumption with an equal volume of renewable energy. The challenge of achieving a 100% renewable electricity grid, however, is not only a question of how much renewable energy is built, but rather whether renewables can supply electricity when it is needed. One emerging approach to address this challenge is a 24/7 renewable energy which requires matching a corporation's hourly energy demand with renewable energy produced in the same region and hour.Download
Developer-Driven Sustainable Communities: Lessons from a Case Study of The Sustainable City in DubaiSanguinetti, Angela; Alan Meier; Nermin Dessouky; and Sarah OutcaultPeer-reviewed ArticleEuropean Council for an Energy Efficient Economy2019In Dubai, a private developer conceived, built, and now manages, a gated community called The Sustainable City (TSC), with more than 2,000 residents, shops, a school, and a hotel. TSC was purpose-built to consume almost no energy and be especially frugal with water, harnessing cutting-edge technologies and green building practices to promise residents both efficiency and luxury.
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Dressing for the AnthropocenePoskanzer, Deborah, Alan Meier, Chinmayee Subban, and Margarita KlossPeer-reviewed ArticleEuropean Council for an Energy Efficient Economy2019As the world gets hotter, we are caught in a dilemma between the need to maintain thermal comfort, while at the same time reducing the use of air conditioning (AC) as a source of GHG emissions. AC has been, and will continue to be, a major driver of growing electricity demand. Space cooling in buildings accounts for 10% of world total electricity use and 12% of building CO2 emissions.Read Article
Emerging Zero-Standby Solutions for Miscellaneous Electric Loads and the Internet of ThingsGerber, Daniel L., Alan Meier, Richard Liou, and Robert HosbachPeer-reviewed ArticleElectronics2019Despite technical advances in efficiency, devices in standby continue to consume up to 16% of residential electricity. Finding practical, cost-effective reductions is difficult. While the per-unit power consumption has fallen, the number of units continuously drawing power continues to grow. This work reviews a family of technologies that can eliminate standby consumption in many types of electrical plug loads. It also investigates several solutions in detail and develops prototypes. First, burst mode and sleep transistors are established as building blocks for zero-standby solutions. This work then studies the application of two types of wake-up signals.Read Article
Hare don't care! Consumption of a rare, desert milkweed containing phytochemicals by the black-tailed jackrabbit
Grodsky, Steven M; Saul-Gershenz, Leslie S; Moore-O’Leary, Kara A; Whitney, Jason P; Hernandez, Rebecca R;
Peer-reviewed ArticleJournal of Arid Environments2019We recorded video providing the first conclusive evidence that the black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) consumes Mojave milkweed (Asclepias nyctaginifolia) containing phytochemicals in the Ivanpah Valley, Mojave Desert, California, USA. We discuss possible chemical and biological interactions between the black-tailed jackrabbit and Mojave milkweed.
How South Carolina's Electric Cooperatives Build Capacity Through Multi-Level GovernanceKeith Taylor, Sarah OutcaultProject Report2019Electric cooperatives serve over 40 million consumers in the United States, and have a history stretching back eight decades. Historically, the provision of high-quality electricity services at the lowest possible wholesale price to its distribution cooperative members might have proven sufficient to declare generation and transmission (G&T) cooperatives a success. But electric cooperatives‚ business and governance models are facing new pressures as distributed energy technologies evolve and emerge; consumer-member preferences shift; and the economics of electric utilities changes regarding the cost structures of nuclear, coal, natural gas, and utility-scale renewables. Download
Non-Invasive Assessments of Thermal Discomfort in Real TimeMeier, Alan, Xiaogang Cheng, William Dyer, Graham Chris, Thomas Olofsson, and Bin YangConference Paper2019People make distinctive gestures or movements when they are thermally uncomfortable, for example self-hugging when uncomfortably cold or brow-wiping when hot. Extreme thermal conditions reinforce this tendency. These gestures may be affected by various competing motivations such as emotional or physiological responses and cultural traditions. Several software applications can now identify and track movements of a person’s skeletal joints or keypoints in real time; these include hands, arms, elbows, head, etc.. A procedure was created to identify gestures related to thermal discomfort and then to decide if a person is uncomfortably warm or cold. When a discomfort-related gesture is detected, it is scored based on the type of gesture and recognition confidence. This score is fed into a “Thermal Comfort Index” (TCI). Read Article
Real-time and contactless measurements of thermal discomfort based on human poses for energy efficient control of buildingsBin Yang, Xiaogang Cheng, Dengxin Dai, Thomas Oloffsson, Haibo Li, Alan MeierPeer-reviewed ArticleBuilding and Environment2019Individual thermal discomfort perception gives important feedback signals for energy efficient control of building heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. However, there is few effective method to measure thermal discomfort status of occupants in a real-time and contactless way. A novel method based on contactless measurements of human thermal discomfort status was presented.Read Article (paywall)
Renewable Energy EcologyGrodsky, Steven M; Fritts, Sarah R; Hernandez, Rebecca R;
Book2019The progression of renewable energy enterprises and their physical manifestations (hereafter collectively referred to as ‚renewable energy development) is a critical wildlife conservation issue. This book provides a foundation on which wildlife professionals and researchers can build their understanding of renewable energy and wildlife conservation in theory and practice.
Solar Water Heating Assessment Project: Understanding and Improving Effectiveness for California HouseholdsMithra Moezzi, Aaron Ingle, Sarah Outcault, Angela Sanguinetti, Loren Lutzenhiser, Hal Wilhite, James D. Lutz, Alan Meier, and Jennifer KutzlebProject Report2019Solar thermal water heaters are an old technology used a century ago in California. They are now used extensively, in updated form, in many countries. According to government and industry estimates, well-functioning solar water heaters can theoretically displace 50 to 80 percent of the output of a natural gas-fueled household water heater, depending how hot water usage aligns with production and storage capacities.Download
Techno-ecological synergies of solar energy for global sustainability
Hernandez, Rebecca R.; Armstrong, Alona; Burney, Jennifer; Ryan, Greer; Moore-O'leary, Kara; Diédhou, Ibrahima; Grodsky, Steven M.; Saul-Gershenz, Leslie; Davis, R; Macknick, Jordan;
Peer-reviewed Article
Nature2019The strategic engineering of solar energy technologies‚ from individual rooftop modules to large solar energy power plants‚ can confer significant synergistic outcomes across industrial and ecological boundaries. Here, we propose techno‚Äìecological synergy (TES), a framework for engineering mutually beneficial relationships between technological and ecological systems, as an approach to augment the sustainability of solar energy across a diverse suite of recipient environments, including land, food, water, and built-up systems.
Using data from connected thermostats to track large power outages in the United StatesAlan Meier, Tsuyoshi Ueno, Marco PritoniPeer-reviewed ArticleApplied Energy2019The detection of power outages is an essential activity for electric utilities. A large, national dataset of Internet-connected thermostats was used to explore and illustrate the ability of Internet-connected devices to geospatially track outages caused by hurricanes and other major weather events. The method was applied to nine major outage events, including hurricanes and windstorms. In one event, Hurricane Irma, a network of about 1,000 thermostats provided quantitatively similar results to detailed utility data with respect to the number of homes without power and identification of the most severely affected regions. The method generated regionally uniform outage data that would give emergency authorities additional visibility into the scope and magnitude of outages. The network of thermostat-sensors also made it possible to calculate a higher resolution version of outage duration (or SAIDI) at a level of customer-level visibility that was not previously available. Download
Aligning Occupant Behavior with ZNE Community Goals and Assumptions: Quantifying and Leveraging Behavioral PlasticityAngela Sanguinetti, Sarah Outcault, Alan MeierConference PaperACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings2018In residential communities designed for energy efficiency, do the occupants take an
active role in conserving energy, or leave it up to the home itself? We examined cooling
practices in a new, low-energy development, located in one of the hottest climates in the world. The Sustainable City (TSC) in Dubai attracts individuals from across the globe, with varying cultures, values, attitudes, and habits. TSC staff promote a culture of sustainability, but there are challenges in achieving zero net energy (ZNE). Data on household energy consumption were collected from residents and household staff through in-person interviews and an online survey. We found evidence of a wide range of occupant values and cooling strategies. Many residents came from cooler regions in the world and were unfamiliar with cooling practices and technologies in their homes. We identified opportunities to leverage behavioral plasticity - i.e., residents' capacity to shift everyday practices - to save energy. This study suggests a framework for aligning occupant behavior with the goals and values embodied in sustainably-built communities. Specifically, designers and managers of sustainable communities need to educate, motivate, and support residents in order to encourage the specific energy-conserving practices required for sustainable buildings to achieve their technical potential.
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Builder-Installed Electrical Loads: Parts of the House That Stay On and OnMeier, Alan; Leo Rainer; and Aditya KhandekarPeer-reviewed ArticleHome Energy2018Not too many years ago, when you unplugged all the appliances in a home the doorbell transformer was the only device still drawing power. That is no longer true‚ as a host of devices now draw power before anybody moves in. The most common devices include ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), garage door openers, and hardwired smoke alarms.Read Article
Climate Change and Garage Door OpenersMeier, AlanOtherHome Energy2018California just approved legislation requiring all new garage door openers to have battery backups, so that doors would open even when electricity service is interrupted. The legislation SB 969 sailed through with almost no opposition. Curiously, the only group to oppose the bill was the industry responsible for garage doors, the people most likely to benefit from it. What is going on here, and what does this have to do with climate change and home energy? More than you might imagine.Read Article
Electrifying Last Mile Deliveries: The Case of Parcel Delivery FleetsLeticia BlancoMaster's Thesis2018This work assesses alternative technologies using real driving data for parcel delivery fleets and evaluates the role of monetary incentives in California. The analyses show that electric trucks are a technically feasible and the cleanest alternative in California in terms of petroleum use, greenhouse gases (GHGs) and air pollutants; however, they require economic incentives to support a transition to a cleaner freight transportation system.Download
Everyone Has a Peer in the Low User Tier: The Diversity of Low Residential Energy UsersDeumling, Reuben, Deborah Poskanzer, and Alan MeierPeer-reviewed ArticleEnergy Efficiency2018Low residential energy use is typically associated with undesirable characteristics, such as poverty, thermal discomfort, or small dwelling size. The association of low energy use with deprivation has been an obstacle to promoting more aggressive goals for reduction of residential use. However, there is little research on the composition of the low user population. We investigated the demographics, behavior, and satisfaction of the lowest 10% of electricity consumers in Sacramento, CA, to see what attributes best correlated with low use. Read Article
Hydrogen Energy Storage for Renewable-Intensive Electricity Grids:
A WECC Case Study
Zane McDonaldMaster's Thesis2018Electricity grid operation requires balancing supply and demand for electricity on a continuous basis. The primary option for dealing with the variability in renewable energy
generation is to maintain a significant capacity of backup/standby peak generation. Still, offpeak renewable electric production is sometimes curtailed because it cannot be economically used or captured. Low cost, efficient energy storage could enable optimized allocation of intermittent electric generation resources to high-value markets. This research project investigates the feasibility and energy system costs and benefits of hydrogen energy storage (HES) integrated with the electricity grid.
MANY SHADES OF GREEN: Establishing a Culture of Sustainability in a Diverse, Developer-Driven Expatriate CommunityDessouky, Nermin, Angela Sanguinetti, Alan Meier, Sarah Outcault, and Richard TutwilerPeer-reviewed ArticleCommunity2018We are a team of researchers from The University of California, Davis, and The American University of Cairo, investigating ways to promote a culture of sustainability in planned communities. We have been studying TSC for three years and observing how the community has been evolving over time. It is our assertion that although TSC is a large-scale developer-led community, it illustrates the ways in which the intention of a community is integral to sustainable lifestyles. We will discuss how some aspects of TSC's design and management promote, or present challenges to, the community's culture of sustainability.Read Article
Solar Energy Development and the Biosphere
Murphy-Mariscal, Michelle; Grodsky, Steven M; Hernandez, Rebecca R;
Peer-reviewed ArticleA Comprehensive Guide to Solar Energy Systems2018Although solar energy can undoubtedly contribute to global deep decarbonization and mitigation of climate change through emissions reductions, the potential for ecological impacts from large installations on the ground merits further discussion. Solar energy development, particularly large and ground-mounted solar energy installations in natural or other types of environments with biophysical capacity may function as a contemporary, anthropogenic driver of disturbance and land-use and land-cover change.
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Turning Paris into Reality at the University of CaliforniaVictor, David G., Ahmed Abdulla, David Auston, Wendell Brase, Jack Brouwer, Karl Brown, Steven J. DavisPeer-reviewed ArticleNature2018The Paris Agreement highlights the need for local climate leadership. The University Of California's approach to deep decarbonization offers lessons in efficiency, alternative fuels and electrification. Bending the emissions curve globally requires efforts that blend academic insights with practical solutions.Read Article
University of California Strategies for Decarbonization: Replacing Natural GasMeier, Alan, Steven J. Davis, David G. Victor, Karl Brown, Lisa McNeilly, Mark Modera, Rebecca Zarin Pass, Jordan Sager, David Weil, and David AustonProject Report2018Having pledged to become carbon neutral by 2025, the University of California has embarked on a large-scale effort to evaluate options for achieving this goal. For UC, the central challenge to deep decarbonization lies in reducing and, perhaps, ultimately eliminating the use of natural gas, a fossil fuel consisting primarily of methane. Nearly all CO2emissions (96%) from UC operations come from direct combustion of natural gas (Scope 1 emission) and from purchased electricity generated from fossil fuels (Scope 2 emission). Therefore, a cost-effective exit strategy for conventional natural gas is vital to achieving the carbon neutrality goal. The UC carbon neutrality goal does not include Scope 3 emissions, which are other emissions indirectly related to the University activities, such as from gasoline burned in employee-owned vehicles.Read Article
Allometric equations and carbon stocks in tree biomass of Jatropha curcas L. in Senegal’s Peanut BasinDiédhiou, I; Diallo, D; Mbengue, A; Hernandez, RR; Bayala, R; Diéme, R; Diédhiou, PM; Sène, A;Peer-reviwed Journal Article
Global Ecology and Conservation2017In Senegal, numerous initiatives exist to cultivate Jatropha curcas L. (JCL) trees as a multipurpose energy crop, including for fuel. Thus, research on this drought-resistant shrub has been predominately focused on biofuel production from its seeds, while its potential for carbon (C) sequestration, which could be valuable in sink projects (i.e., afforestation, reforestation) under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto protocol, has been largely unstudied. This study was carried out in Senegal’s Peanut basin to develop allometric equations for estimating biomass of individual JCL shrubs, JCL plantations, and determining their respective C storage potential. We discovered a three-stage evolution of JCL biomass accumulation.Read Paper
From butterflies to Bighorns: Multi-dimensional species-species and species-process interactions may inform sustainable solar energy development in desert ecosystems
Grodsky, Steven M; Moore-O’Leary, Kara A; Hernandez, Rebecca R;
Peer-reviewed Article2017Favorable environmental conditions and abundant public lands (eg, Bureau of Land Management) may make deserts of the southwest United States the ideal recipient environment for solar energy development (BLM 2012, Hernandez et al. 2015). Although solar energy may help advance decarbonization, sensitive desert ecosystems may be imperiled by solar energy development (Lovich and Ennen 2011). For example, construction of solar facilities creates a series of biophysical disturbances, including grading of soils and vegetation removal, which in turn may affect biota via a bottom-up‚ trophic interactions (eg, degraded soils‚Üdecreased plant growth‚ reduced food and cover for wildlife; Hernandez et al. 2014b). Meanwhile, aridland Southwest ecosystems support exceptional biodiversity and many endemic, threatened and endangered species already stressed by climate change (Lovich and Bainbridge 1999, Mittermeier et al. 2001).
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Land-Sparing Opportunities for Solar Energy Development in Agricultural Landscapes: A Case Study of the Great Central Valley, CA, United States
Hoffacker, Madison K; Allen, Michael F; Hernandez, Rebecca R;
Case StudyACS Journal2017Land-cover change from energy development, including solar energy, presents trade-offs for land used for the production of food and the conservation of ecosystems. Solar energy plays a critical role in contributing to the alternative energy mix to mitigate climate change and meet policy milestones; however, the extent that solar energy development on nonconventional surfaces can mitigate land scarcity is understudied. Here, we evaluate the land sparing potential of solar energy development across four nonconventional land-cover types: the built environment, salt-affected land, contaminated land, and water reservoirs (as floatovoltaics), within the Great Central Valley (CV, CA), a globally significant agricultural region where land for food production, urban development, and conservation collide.
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Occupant Thermal Feedback for Improved Efficiency in University BuildingsMarco Pritoni, Kiernan Salmon, Angela Sanguinetti, Joshua Morejohn, Mark ModeraPeer-reviewed ArticleEnergy and Buildings2017Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems are responsible for more than half of the energy consumed in many buildings on university campuses in the US. Despite the significant amount of energy spent on HVAC operations, thermal comfort conditions in campus buildings are frequently poor. Faulty assumptions or a lack of data regarding occupant comfort can lead to energy waste from overheating or overcooling. Additionally, inadequate operational procedures and outdated technology make it difficult for occupant needs to inform temperature management. For example, campuses frequently use work order systems to manage temperature issues, but this process is slow and not widely used by students, i.e., the majority of building occupants.Read Article (paywall)
Sustainability of utility‐scale solar energy–critical ecological concepts
Moore‚O'Leary, Kara A; Hernandez, Rebecca R; Johnston, Dave S; Abella, Scott R; Tanner, Karen E; Swanson, Amanda C; Kreitler, Jason; Lovich, Jeffrey E;
Peer-reviewed Article
2017Renewable energy development is an arena where ecological, political, and socioeconomic values collide. Advances in renewable energy will incur steep environmental costs to landscapes in which facilities are constructed and operated. Scientists-including those from academia, industry, and government agencies-have only recently begun to quantify trade-off in this arena, often using ground-mounted, utility-scale solar energy facilities (1 megawatt) as a model. Here, we discuss five critical ecological concepts applicable to the development of more sustainable USSE with benefits over fossil-fuel-generated energy.
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Upscaling Participatory Thermal Sensing: Lessons from an Interdisciplinary Case Study at University of California for Improving Campus Efficiency and ComfortAngela Sanguinetti, Marco Pritoni, Kiernan Salmon, Alan Meier, Joshua MorejohnPeer-reviewed ArticleEnergy Research &Social Science2017Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is responsible for most of the energy consumed in many university buildings, which are still often uncomfortable for occupants. Previous research suggests crowdsourcing thermal comfort feedback from occupants, called participatory thermal sensing (PTS), and incorporating it into the HVAC control system can improve energy efficiency and comfort simultaneously. Most PTS research has focused on automated closed-loop systems whereby occupant feedback is automatically integrated into HVAC operations, but such systems are difficult to scale. Download
Assessing Players, Products, and Perceptions of Home Energy ManagementRebecca Ford; Beth Karlin; Angela Sanguinetti; Anna Nersesyan; Marco PritoniProject Report2016The technologies that make up Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS), providing users with information, feedback and/or control of household energy usage, are developing in a rapidly growing market within the broader smart home and Internet of Things (IoT) space. As developments create more and more energy saving products with increasing functionality, new strategies must be developed for engaging with end-users (both before adoption and after) in order to fully leverage these technologies for the energy reduction and load shifting capabilities they offer. Download
Fuel Consumption Impacts of Auto Roof RacksChen, Yuche, and Alan MeierPeer-reviewed ArticleEnergy Policy2016The after-market roof rack is one of the most common components attached to a vehicle for carrying over-sized items, such as bicycles and skis. It is important to understand these racks' fuel consumption impacts on both individual vehicles and the national fleet because they are widely used. We estimate the national fuel consumption impacts of roof racks using a bottom-up approach.Read Article
How Do Small Businesses Experience Energy Reports?Laura Cornish, Beth Karlin, Angela Sanguinetti, Jason KaufmanConference paperACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings2016How do small businesses experience energy reports that benchmark their
performance relative to similar businesses and provide recommendations to save energy?
There is a large body of research focused on energy feedback in the residential sector, but
significantly less in the commercial sector. Studies in both sectors have focused on the
effectiveness of feedback in terms of savings outcomes, while relatively little is known
about how customers experience the interface itself. This paper presents a synthesis of
results from a series of user research studies conducted with small- and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs) in Canada, the United States, and Australia.
The Iterative Design of a University Energy DashboardAngela Sanguinetti, Marco Pritoni, Kiernan Salmon, Joshua MorejohnConference PaperACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings2016Energy dashboards are monitoring and display systems that provide information about
building energy use. Dashboards may provide information, alarms, and complex trends to
support engineers in identifying energy inefficiencies in a building. Public interfaces may
contain simpler trends, with a greater focus on aesthetics and framing of content to
promote interest and engagement.
TherMOOstat: Occupant Feedback to Improve Comfort and Efficiency on a University CampusAngela Sanguinetti, Marco Pritoni, Kiernan Salmon, Joshua MorejohnConference PaperACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings2016Despite the significant amount of energy spent on Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
(HVAC) at universities, thermal comfort conditions in campus buildings are frequently poor.
Conventional HVAC management systems at universities are typically out of the hands of
building occupants and facilities management departments have limited resources to involve
them. These factors can lead to over-heating or over-cooling and undiagnosed mechanical issues.
Characterization and Potential of Home Energy Management (HEM) TechnologyBeth Karlin; Rebecca Ford; Angela Sanguinetti; Cassandra Squiers; John Gannon; Mukund Rajukumar; Kat A. DonnellyProject Report2015The Home Energy Management (HEM) market is rapidly expanding alongside substantial investments to improve energy efficiency and upgrade electricity infrastructure to a smart grid.
These changes enable consumers to take greater control of their energy use, which can be enabled through the use of Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS).
Circumvention Through the YearsMeier, AlanOtherEuropean Council for an Energy Efficient Economy2015The outrage against VW is justified, but let's not forget that other manufacturers ‚a lot of manufacturers, have been circumventing energy and emissions tests for decades. Here are a few of my own experiences.
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Diffusion of Feedback: Perceptions and Adoption of Devices in the Residential MarketBeth Karlin, Angela Sanguinetti, Nora Davis, Kristen Bendanna, Kristen Holdsworth, Jessie Baker, David Kirkby, Daniel StokolsPeer-reviewed ArticleLecture Notes in Computer Science2015Providing households with energy feedback is widely promoted as a conservation strategy and its effectiveness has been established in field studies. However, such studies actively recruit participants and little is known about naturalistic consumers. Despite hundreds of products emerging, few have taken hold in the market. Diffusion of innovation is a theory of technology adoption that details both the general process by which innovation spreads as well as the individual process of technology adoption.Read Article (paywall)
Efficient use of land to meet sustainable energy needs
Hernandez, Rebecca R; Hoffacker, Madison K; Field, Christopher B; Project ReportNature2015To identify areas meeting land, energy, and environmental (LEE) compatibility for small- and utility-scale solar energy (USSE) in the state of California, we developed the Carnegie Energy and Environmental Compatibility (CEEC) Model
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Solar Energy development impacts on land cover change and protected areas
Hernandez, Rebecca R; Hoffacker, Madison K; Murphy-Mariscal, Michelle L; Wu, Grace C; Allen, Michael F;
Project ReportPNAS2015Decisions determining the use of land for energy are of exigent concern as land scarcity, the need for ecosystem services, and demands for energy generation have concomitantly increased globally. Utility- scale solar energy (USSE) [i.e. a 1 megawatt (MW)] development re- quires large quantities of space and land; however, studies quantifying the effect of USSE on land cover change and protected areas are limited.
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Environmental impacts of utility-scale solar energy
Hernandez, RR; Easter, SB; Murphy-Mariscal, ML; Maestre, FT; Tavassoli, M; Allen, EB; Barrows, CW; Belnap, J; Ochoa-Hueso, Ravi; Ravi, S;
Peer-reviewed ArticleRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews2014Renewable energy is a promising alternative to fossil fuel-based energy, but its development can require a complex set of environmental tradeoffs. A recent increase in solar energy systems, especially large, centralized installations, underscores the urgency of understanding their environmental interactions. Synthesizing literature across numerous disciplines, we review direct and indirect environmental impacts – both beneficial and adverse – of utility-scale solar energy (USSE) development, including impacts on biodiversity, land-use and land-cover change, soils, water resources, and human health. Additionally, we review feedbacks between USSE infrastructure and land-atmosphere interactions and the potential for USSE systems to mitigate climate change. Several characteristics and development strategies of USSE systems have low environmental impacts relative to other energy systems, including other renewables. We show opportunities to increase USSE environmental co-benefits, the permitting and regulatory constraints and opportunities of USSE, and highlight future research directions to better understand the nexus between USSE and the environment. Increasing the environmental compatibility of USSE systems will maximize the efficacy of this key renewable energy source in mitigating climatic and global environmental change.
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Land-use efficiency of big solarHernandez, Rebecca R; Hoffacker, Madison K; Field, Christopher B;
Peer-reviewed ArticleEnvironmental Science & Technology2014"As utility-scale solar energy (USSE) systems increase in size and numbers globally, there is a growing interest in understanding environmental interactions between solar energy development and land-use decisions. Maximizing the efficient use of land for USSE is one of the major challenges in realizing the full potential of solar energy; however, the land-use efficiency (LUE; Wm–2) of USSE remains ambiguous. We quantified the capacity-based LUE of 183 USSE installations (>20 MW; planned, under construction, and operating) using California as a case study.
size and numbers globally, there is a growing interest in understanding
environmental interactions between solar energy development and land-
use decisions. Maximizing the efficient use of land for USSE is one of the
major challenges in realizing the full potential of solar energy; however,
the land-use efficiency (LUE; Wm‚àí2) of USSE remains ambiguous. We
quantified the capacity-based LUE of 183 USSE installations (>20 MW;
planned, under construction, and operating) using California as a case
study. "
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The Complexities of Saving Energy in QatarMeier, Alan, Sinan Sabeeh, and Darwish MohamedPeer-reviewed ArticleEuropean Council for an Energy Efficient Economy2013Qatar presents unusual energy conservation challenges, some of which will appear elsewhere as the effects of climate change and environmental degradation increase. Qatar is endowed with huge reserves of natural gas but no fresh water. All of the fresh water is obtained through energy-intensive desalination processes—which may be responsible for as much as 40% of total gas use--resulting in many links between the supply and consumption of energy and water. Conserving water translates directly into saving energy. About 80% of the electricity in Qatari buildings is used to provide air conditioning; this is the highest fraction in any country in the world. The high rate of infrastructure construction temporarily distorts energy consumption patterns.Read Article
Cars Are Buildings: Building-like Energy Use in AutomobilesThomas, Valerie M.; Alan K. Meier; Siva G. Gunda; and Thomas P. WenzelPeer-reviewed ArticleTransport and Environment2011This paper examines vehicle energy use as if vehicles were buildings. Vehicle air conditioners are much less efficient than residential air conditioners, and in the US consume about 0.9 quadrillion BTUs (quads) per year, comparable to the 2.3 by air conditioners in residences. Vehicle heating, in contrast, is a model of efficiency, running as a combined-heat-and-power system using waste heat from the motor. Electricity use from appliances such as DVD players, laptops, and refrigerators remains modest, although stand-by power use is growing. Technology and policy approaches used for buildings can address similar types of energy use in cars.Read Article
City Carbon Budgets: Aligning Incentives for Climate-Friendly CommunitiesSalon, Deborah; Daniel Sperling; Alan Meier; Sinnott Murphy; Roger Gorham; and James BarrettProject Report2008Local governments can have a large effect on carbon emissions through land use zoning, building codes, transport infrastructure investments, and support for transportation alternatives. Recognizing this, many cities have developed climate action plans, containing a disparate mix of mostly voluntary greenhouse gas emissions reduction proposals. This paper describes an integrated climate policy instrument for local governments: city carbon budgets. We identify and evaluate options for creating an effective and acceptable institutional structure, allocating emission targets to localities, measuring emissions, providing flexibility and incentives to local governments, and assuring compliance. We also discuss the likely costs of such a policy. Our recommended policy structure is based on the principles of effectiveness, equity, efficiency, administrative ease, and political acceptability.Read Article