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What's the ETA for heat pump adoption? Assessing barriers and opportunities with the Energy Technology Adoptability frameworkSarah Outcault, Angela Sanguinetti, Eli Alston-Stepnitz, Emily SearlConference Paper2024Air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) are a keystone technology to electrify and decarbonise buildings. Despite an abundance of programs to promote their adoption, uptake lags behind targeted rates in many regions. Research has highlighted a range of factors that hinder heat pump adoption, but it tends to focus on known barriers such as high initial costs and lack of awareness among potential customers. This paper takes a systematic approach to exploring barriers to heat pump adoption, using the Energy Technology Adoptability (ETA) framework. Read Papermtrp
SLIDE DECK: What's the ETA for heat pump adoption? Assessing barriers and opportunities with the Energy Technology Adoptability frameworkSarah OutcaultConference Slides2024Air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) are a keystone technology to electrify and decarbonise buildings. Despite an abundance of programs to promote their adoption, uptake lags behind targeted rates in many regions. Research has highlighted a range of factors that hinder heat pump adoption, but it tends to focus on known barriers such as high initial costs and lack of awareness among potential customers. This paper takes a systematic approach to exploring barriers to heat pump adoption, using the Energy Technology Adoptability (ETA) framework. View Slidesmtrp
Database of residential heat pump promotion effortsSarah OutcaultDatabase2024Searchable database of utility, government, and community-led programs and activities to promote residential heat pump adoption by addressing the technology's trialability, observability, complexity of installation, and non-energy benefits.View Database (Excel file)mtrp
Innovative Approaches to Residential Heat Pump PromotionSarah Outcault, Eli Alston-Stepnitz, Ellian Eorwyn, Cinthia Magana & Emily SearlProject Report2024California has identified heat pumps as a keystone technology on its path to decarbonization. To achieve the state’s goal of reaching six million heat pump installations by 2030, however, adoption rates must accelerate substantially. While various rebate programs have been introduced to alleviate the initial cost burden associated with heat pump installation, it is imperative to acknowledge and address critical non-cost barriers that may impede widespread adoption.Read Reportmtrp
Aligning renewable energy expansion with climate-driven range shiftsUzma Ashraf, Toni Lyn Morelli, Adam B. Smith & Rebecca R. HernandezPeer-reviewed ArticleNature Climate Change2024Fossil fuel dependence can be reduced, in part, by renewable energy expansion. Increasingly, renewable energy siting seeks to avoid significant impacts on biodiversity but rarely considers how species ranges will shift under climate change. Here we undertake a systematic literature review on the topic and overlay future renewable energy siting maps with the ranges of two threatened species under future climate scenarios to highlight this potential conflict.Read Report (paywall)we
Solar Energy-driven Land-cover Change Could Alter Landscapes Critical to Animal Movement in the Continental United StatesMichael O. Levin, Elizabeth L. Kalies, Emma Forester, Elizabeth L. A. Jackson, Andrew H. Levin, Caitlin Markus, Patrick F. McKenzie, Jared B. Meek, and Rebecca R. HernandezPeer-reviewed ArticleEnvironmental Science & Technology2023The United States may produce as much as 45% of its electricity using solar energy technology by 2050, which could require more than 40,000 km2 of land to be converted to large-scale solar energy production facilities. Little is known about how such development may impact animal movement. Here, we use five spatially explicit projections of solar energy development through 2050 to assess the extent to which ground-mounted photovoltaic solar energy expansion in the continental United States may impact land-cover and alter areas important for animal movement.Read Report (paywall)we
Near-term Pathways for Decarbonizing Global Concrete ProductionJosefine A. Olsson, Sabbie A. Miller & Mark G. AlexanderPeer-reviewed ArticleNature Communications2023Growing urban populations and deteriorating infrastructure are driving unprecedented demands for concrete, a material for which there is no alternative that can meet its functional capacity. The production of concrete, more particularly the hydraulic cement that glues the material together, is one of the world’s largest sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While this is a well-studied source of emissions, the consequences of efficient structural design decisions on mitigating these emissions are not yet well known. Here, we show that a combination of manufacturing and engineering decisions have the potential to reduce over 76% of the GHG emissions from cement and concrete production, equivalent to 3.6 Gt CO2-eq lower emissions in 2100.Read Report (paywall)mdsp
Cost-Constrained Optimization of Energy Efficiency for Multi-family and Commercial BuildingsDavid Vernon, Mazen Daher, Mark ModeraProject Report2023This project provides California stakeholders with cost-optimized selections of technology packages for building cost-effective and high-efficiency multi-family residential and commercial buildings. A detailed cost and energy performance analysis was used to identify measures and packages that most closely approach zero-net energy for each building type in each state climate zone.Read Report
OpenConcrete: a tool for estimating the environmental impacts from concrete productionAlyson Kim, Patrick R Cunningham, Kanotha Kamau-Devers and Sabbie A MillerPeer-reviewed ArticleIOP Science2022As the increasing global consumption of concrete drives notable environmental burdens from its production, particularly greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, interest in mitigation efforts is increasing. Yet current environmental impact quantification tools rely on user decision-making to select data for each concrete constituent, have inconsistent scopes and system boundaries, and often utilize third-party life cycle inventories. These factors limit customization or tracking of data and hinder the ability to draw robust comparisons among concrete mixtures to mitigate its environmental burdens. To address these issues, we introduce a cohesive, unified dataset of material, energy, and emission inventories to quantify the environmental impacts of concrete.Read Reportmdsp
Technology Characteristics that Influence Adoption of Residential Distributed Energy Resources: Adapting Rogers’ FrameworkSarah Outcault, Angela Sanguinetti, Leslie NelsonPeer-reviewed ArticleEnergy Policy2022Distributed energy resources (DERs) present an important opportunity to lower the carbon intensity of residential buildings but face numerous barriers to adoption. This paper extends and adapts Rogers' theory of the role of technology characteristics in the diffusion of innovation (Rogers, 1962) to address the unique features of residential DERs. Read Reportmtrp
Modeling Impacts of Ventilation and Filtration Methods on Energy Use and Airborne Disease Transmission in ClassroomsTheresa Pistochini, Caton Mande, Subhrajit ChakrabortyPeer-reviewed ArticleJournal of Building Engineering2022The benefits of increased ventilation and filtration for reducing disease transmission compared to drawbacks of reduced thermal comfort and increased energy consumption and electricity demand are not well described. A comprehensive simulation of outdoor air ventilation rates and filtration methods was performed with a modified Wells-Riley equation and EnergyPlus building simulation to understand the trade-offs between infection probability and energy consumption for a simulated classroom in 13 cities across the US.Read Report
Packaged Roof Top Unit with Integrated Heat Pump and Indirect/Direct Evaporative CoolingTheresa Pistochini, Robert McMurryTechnical Report2022The emerging technology assessed in this study is a packaged RTU that integrates a heat pump (HP) with an indirect-direct evaporative cooling(IDEC) system that is designed as a direct replacement for a traditional RTU. This project evaluates the packaged heat pump with IDEC in a field study and compares its performance to a baseline packaged RTU. Read Report
Hourly accounting of carbon emissions from electricity consumptionGregory J Miller, Kevin Novan and Alan JennPeer-reviewed ArticleIOP Science2022Carbon accounting is important for quantifying the sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are driving climate change, and is increasingly being used to guide policy, investment, business, and regulatory decisions. The current practice for accounting emissions from consumed electricity, guided by standards like the GHG protocol, uses annual-average grid emission factors, although previous studies have shown that grid carbon intensity varies across seasons and hours of the day. Read Report
Building lower-carbon affordable housing: case studies from CaliforniaSarah Outcault, Eli Alston-Stepnitz, Angela Sanguinetti, Ashley N. DePew & Cinthia MagañaPeer-reviewed ArticleBuilding Research and Information2022This research explores developers’ experiences with lower-carbon multi-family affordable housing in California using three case studies that illustrate different pathways to decarbonization – improving efficiency, eliminating fossil fuel combustion for end-uses, and adopting a zero-net energy design.Read Report (paywall)mtrp
Greenhouse Gas Analysis of Proposed HVAC Designs for the Davis Innovation Sustainability CampusDr. David Vernon, Mazen DaherTechnical Report2022The Davis City Council has required that the proposed Davis Innovation Sustainability Campus use an all-electric, high efficiency HVAC design that would be 30% more efficient than Title 24 code requirements using the Time Dependent Valuation metric. To meet this requirement, the HVAC design would use packaged air source heat pumps on each of the buildings. Upgrading the HVAC systems to a district energy system with all electric central equipment including a chiller, heat pump, thermal energy storage tanks, and a geothermal bore field has the potential to be even more efficient than the required design.Read Report
Occupant Non-Energy Impact Identification Framework: A human-centered approach to understanding residential energy retrofitsSarah Outcault, Angela Sanguinetti, Nermin Dessouky, Cinthia MagañaPeer-reviewed ArticleEnergy and Buildings2022Residential energy retrofits have the potential to generate significant non-energy impacts (NEIs) on occupants, but the understanding of those NEIs has been hampered by the lack of a shared approach to studying them. A detailed literature review revealed several common tendencies that limit the generalizability of findings, including a focus on benefits, different categorization schemes, varied scope and specificity, the conflation of impacts across occupant groups, and conflation of retrofits’ functional outcomes with occupant impacts. This paper suggests a more systematic way of conceptualizing NEIs is needed and proposes a new framework that supports a comprehensive, unbiased, human-centered, and standardized approach. Read Report (paywall)mtrp
Characterizing the performance of a do-it-yourself (DIY) box fan air filterRachael Dal Porto, Monet N. Kunz, Theresa Pistochini, Richard L. Corsi & Christopher D. CappaPeer-reviewed ArticleAerosol Science and Technology2022Air filtration serves to reduce concentrations of particles in indoor environments. Most standalone, also referred to as portable or in-room, air filtration systems use HEPA filters, and cost generally scales with the clean air delivery rate. A “do-it-yourself” lower-cost alternative, known as the Corsi-Rosenthal Box, that uses MERV-13 filters coupled with a box fan has been recently proposed, but lacks systematic performance characterization. We have characterized the performance of a five-panel Corsi-Rosenthal air cleaner using both research-grade instrumentation (an aerodynamic particle sizer, APS) and a low-cost particle sensor.Read Report
Untapped potential: leak reduction is the most cost-effective urban water management toolAmanda Rupiper, Joakim Weill, Ellen Bruno, Katrina Jessoe and Frank LogePeer-reviewed ArticleIOP Science2022Providing sufficient, safe, and reliable drinking water is a growing challenge as water supplies become more scarce and uncertain. Meanwhile, water utilities in the United States lose approximately 17% of their delivered water to leaks each year. Using data from over 800 utilities across four U.S. states, California, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas, we characterize the heterogeneity in water losses across the U.S., develop a model to assess the economically efficient level of losses, and use this model to compare the net benefits of several proposed water loss regulations and modeling approaches.Read Report
Understanding teachers' experiences of ventilation in California K- 12 classrooms and implications for supporting safe operation of schools in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemicAngela Sanguinetti, Sarah Outcault, Theresa Pistochini, Madison HoffackerPeer-reviewed ArticleWiley2022Classrooms are often under-ventilated, posing risks for airborne disease transmission as schools have reopened amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While technical solutions to ensure adequate air exchange are crucial, this research focuses on teachers’ per-ceptions and practices that may also have important implications for achieving a safe classroom environment.Read Reportmtrp
Greenhouse Gas Emission Forecasts for Electrification of Space Heating in Residential Homes in the USGTheresa Pistochini, Mitchal Dichter, Subhrajit Chakraborty, Nelson Dichter, Aref AboudPeer-reviewed ArticleEnergy Policy2022This study aims to inform policymakers about the greenhouse gas emission impacts of heat pump deployment in residential homes. Electric heat pumps eliminate direct burning of fossil fuels in homes but result in indirect emissions due to fossil fuels burned for electricity production. This paper presents the first detailed emission forecasts for operating either a heat pump or gas furnace for residential heating over a 15-year period, starting in year 2022 through 2036, in six regions across the US. Read Report
R-466A Refrigerant Demonstration and PerformanceCurtis Harrington, Fred MeyersCase Study2022Refrigerants used in vapor-compression air conditioners and heat pumps have been the subject of environmental regulations requiring the need to develop alternative solutions with lower global warming potential (GWP). In general, there is a trade-off when choosing alternative refrigerants between safety, performance, and GWP.Read Report
Decarbonizing Affordable Housing:
Case Studies on Developer Experiences with New Construction
Sarah Outcault, Ph.D., Eli Alston-Stepnitz, M.A., Angela Sanguinetti, Ph.D.,
Ashley DePew, and Cinthia Magana
Project Report2021This report explores stakeholders’ experience developing lower-carbon affordable multi-family housing. Three case communities in California were studied to yield insights about the decisions, challenges, and successes that emerged in the design, financing, operation, and maintenance of the buildings.Read Reportmtrp
Residential Electrification in Sacramento and Its Impact on Residential Appliance SalesSarah Outcault, Ashley DePew, Yemi Akoda, and Alan Meier Project Report2021The objective of this report is to investigate and quantify the market for appliances related to residential electrification and decarbonization, using the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) as a case study.Read Reportmtrp
Circularity of Lithium-Ion Battery Materials in Electric VehiclesJessica Dunn, Margaret Slattery, Alissa Kendall, Hanjiro Ambrose, and Shuhan ShenPeer-reviewed ArticleEnvironmental Science & Technology2021Batteries have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from on-road transportation. However, environmental and social impacts of producing lithium-ion batteries, particularly cathode materials, and concerns over material criticality are frequently highlighted as barriers to widespread electric vehicle adoption. Circular economy strategies, like reuse and recycling, can reduce impacts and secure regional supplies.Read Article
Design Specifications for Indoor Environmental Quality FeedbackOutcault, Sarah; Sanguinetti, Angela; Alston-Stepnitz, EliPresentationNorwegian University of Science and Technology2021This presentation outlines best practices on IEQ information granularity, building upon the eco-feedback design-behavior framework.Presentation Slidesmtrp
Microhabitats associated with solar energy development alter demography of two desert annualsKaren E. Tanner, Kara A. Moore‐O’Leary, Ingrid M. Parker, Bruce M. Pavlik, Sophia Haji, Rebecca R. HernandezPeer-reviewed ArticleEcological Applications2021Political and economic initiatives intended to increase energy production while reducing carbon emissions are driving demand for solar energy. Consequently, desert regions are now targeted for development of large‐scale photovoltaic solar energy facilities. Where vegetation communities are left intact or restored within facilities, ground‐mounted infrastructure may have negative impacts on desert‐adapted plants because it creates novel rainfall runoff and shade conditions.Read Article
Estimating Agricultural Groundwater Withdrawals with Energy DataJonathan Martindill, Robert Good, and Frank LogePeer-reviewed ArticleJournal of Water Resources Planning and Management2021Agricultural water use is the leading cause of groundwater overdraft in California. However, agencies tasked with managing groundwater resources do not have access to accurate and reliable measurements of groundwater extraction. Previous studies identified a relationship between pump energy consumption and groundwater extraction and indicated that the efficiency lift method (ELM) can produce reliable estimates of groundwater extraction if based on reliable data. Recent advances in the availability of electricity and pump operating condition data have made the ELM viable for estimating large-scale groundwater extraction.Read Article
Residential solar water heating: California adopters and their experiencesAngela Sanguinetti, Sarah Outcault, Eli Alston-Stepnitz, Mithra Moezzi, Aaron InglePeer-reviewed ArticleRenewable Energy2021 This research surveyed 227 single-family households with solar water heating across the state of California to understand their motivations and experiences, and draw implications regarding barriers to adoption. The survey explored households’ experiences across five stages of adoption, as outlined in Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation theory: Knowledge, Persuasion, Decision, Implementation, and Confirmation.Download (Paywall)mtrp
Low-Cost, Large-Diameter Shallow Ground Loops for Ground-Coupled Heat Pumps Curtis Harrington, Antash Najib, Vinod Narayanan, Mitchal Dichter, David Springer, Michael Slater, Peter Grant, Ada Liu, James Haile, Moncef Krarti, Joseph HuangProject Report2021This project developed and validated modeling tools for simulating a ground heat exchanger technology that provides a less expensive method for implementing ground-source heat pumps and significantly reduces energy use in many California climate zones, furthering attainment of California’s energy goals.Read Report
Using non-invasive MEMS pressure sensors for measuring building envelope air leakageArmando Casillas, Mark Modera, Marco PritoniPeer-reviewed ArticleEnergy and Buildings2021Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS)-based sensors have seen significant improvements in accuracy and cost over the past several years, and due to the need for altitude sensing in unmanned aerial vehicles and wearable technologies, absolute pressure sensors have shown the most dramatic improvements. This paper investigates applications of MEMS sensors in commercial buildings.Download (Paywall)
Towards Building Decarbonization: Lessons From Affordable Housing PioneersOutcault, Sarah; Sanguinetti, Angela; Alston-Stepnitz, EliPresentationBehavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference2020This presentation highlights preliminary findings about stakeholder experience developing, operating and maintaining various types of decarbonized affordable housing.Presentation Slidesmtrp
Towards a Better Understanding of Non-Energy Impacts Associated with Residential Energy Retrofit ProjectsDessouky, N., Outcault, S. & A. Sanguinetti. Conference PaperACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings2020This paper explores the limitations of methods used by studies on non-energy impacts of energy retrofit projects, and outlines an approach that facilitates more robust comparisons.Read Papermtrp
Connected thermostats for low income households: Insights from user testingAlston-Stepnitz, E., Sanguinetti, A., Peffer, T., & Outcault, S.Conference PaperACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings2020This paper describes key findings from user testing of a connected thermostat designed for low-income households.
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Aligning Climate Change and Sustainable Development Goals With an Innovation Systems Roadmap for Renewable PowerRebecca R. Hernandez, Sarah M. Jordaan, Ben Kaldunski and Naresh KumarPeer-reviewed ArticleFrontiers in Sustainability2020A global energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy may mitigate climate change but may also undermine the capacity to achieve some or all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this study, we use an innovation systems approach to construct a comprehensive roadmap for solar and wind energy to anticipate and improve impacts of a transition to a low carbon future in a manner ensuring climate goals and SDGs are mutually reinforcing.Download (Paywall)
Load shifting at wastewater treatment plants: A case study for participating as an energy demand resourceErin Musabandesu, Frank LogePeer-reviewed ArticleElsevier2020Energy load shifting can allow for increased renewable energy integration and reduced greenhouse gas intensity of the electricity grid. Recent research has demonstrated that wastewater treatment plants have considerable potential to shift energy loads and act as energy demand resources due to their energetic flexibility and energy production capacity. This paper investigates a wastewater treatment plant in Santa Rosa, California, participating as a demand resource on the wholesale energy market through the proxy demand resource program.Download (Paywall)
The cost-effectiveness of energy savings through water conservation: a utility-scale assessmentEdward Spang, Soraya Manzor, Frank LogePeer-reviewed ArticleEnvironmental Research Letters2020In a previous study, the energy savings linked to a statewide water conservation mandate in California were found comparable in both resource savings as well as cost-effectiveness to the energy savings achieved directly through energy efficiency programs. This study pursues a similar line of inquiry, but at the scale of an individual city as opposed to a statewide assessment.Download
Spillovers from Behavioral Interventions: Experimental Evidence from Water and Energy UseKatrina Jessoe, Gabriel Lade, Frank Loge, Edward SpangPeer-reviewed ArticleUniversity of Chicago Press Journals2020This paper provides experimental evidence that behavioral interventions spill over to untreated sectors by altering consumer choice.Download (Paywall)
Water-energy-food security: A Nexus perspective of the current situation in Latin America and the CaribbeanJürgen Mahlknecht, Ramón González-Bravo, Frank LogePeer-reviewed ArticleElsevier2020To attain sustainable development in Latin Ameica and the Caribbean, where there is a strong dependence on commodity and food price development, priority attention towards energy, water, and food security is critical. In this literature and data analysis, we examined the baseline and trends of resource security based on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus concept.Download (Paywall)
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 Reportmtrp
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.Downloadmtrp
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
The Land Sparing, Water Surface Use Efficiency, and Water Surface Transformation of Floating Photovoltaic Solar Energy InstallationsAlexander Cagle, Alona Armstrong, Giles Exley, Steven Grodsky, Jordan Macknick, John Sherwin and Rebecca HernandezPeer-reviewed Articlesustainability2020Floating photovoltaic solar energy installations (FPVs) represent a new type of water surface use, potentially sparing land needed for agriculture and conservation. However, standardized metrics for the land sparing and resource use efficiencies of FPVs are absent. These metrics are critical to understanding the environmental and ecological impacts that FPVs may potentially exhibit. Here, we compared techno-hydrological and spatial attributes of four FPVs spanning different climatic regimes. Next, we defined and quantified the land sparing and water surface use efficiency (WSUE) of each FPV. Lastly, we coined and calculated the water surface transformation (WST) using generation data at the world’s first FPV (Far Niente Winery, California). The four FPVs spare 59,555 m2 of land and have a mean land sparing ratio of 2.7:1 m2 compared to ground-mounted PVs. Mean direct and total capacity-based WSUE is 94.5 ± 20.1 SD Wm−2 and 35.2 ± 27.4 SD Wm−2, respectively. Direct and total generation-based WST at Far Niente is 9.3 and 13.4 m2 MWh−1 yr−1, respectively; 2.3 times less area than ground-mounted utility-scale PVs. Our results reveal diverse techno-hydrological and spatial attributes of FPVs, the capacity of FPVs to spare land, and the utility of WSUE and WST metrics.Read Article
Electrical Energy Storage and Energy Management System for the Sustainable City in DubaiPark, J.W., Rahman, M., Lacap, J., Wikler, K., Outcault, S., Sanguinetti, A., Nassar, H. & A. SafwatProject Report2019This paper examines the technical requirements for an electrical energy storage system for The Sustainable City of Dubai.Read Reportmtrp
Energy Consumption in Campus Buildings When No One is Around Alexander Joseph SloanMaster's Thesis2019This study introduced a new methodology to estimate how often regularly-inhabited buildings are vacant and the electricity consumed during these times. Read Report
Building Leakage Diagnosis Using IoT Enabled MEMS SensorsArmando CasillasMaster's Thesis2019A new method that determines building-specific envelope and duct leakage with minimal disruption to normal building operationshas been identified. The methodology utilizes an array ofMicro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) absolute pressure, temperature and humidity sensors placed at key building and ductwork locations,and makesuse ofmass/species conservation and flow characterization equations. The “MEMS protocol”was applied to a dataset aggregated from a series of controlled tests performed over a 3-month period in a building on the UC Davis campus.Read Report
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. Downloadmtrp
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.Downloadmtrp
Market Intelligence? Eliciting valuable information from non-expert stakeholders
Outcault, S.
PresentationBehavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference2019Lessons from a series of stakeholder surveys and interviews on priorities for distributed energy resources are presented.Presentation Slidesmtrp
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
Using social dynamics to explain uptake in energy saving measures: Lessons from space conditioning interventions in Japan and CaliforniaOutcault, S., Sanguinetti, A. & M. Pritoni. Peer-reviewed ArticleEnergy Research & Social Science2018This paper examines the intersection of the social attributes of cooling measures and the prevailing social dynamics within households. A game-theoretical model is developed to illustrate how the varied combinations of measure attributes and social dynamics can yield different cooling strategies across households.Read Articlemtrp
WEMap: A Software Tool for Estimating Water Utility Energy Savings from Water ConservationEdward Spang, Andrew Holguin, Frank LogeResearch Paper2018The water sector demands significant energy inputs to deliver safe and reliable water to urban communities. It follows that water conservation efforts can lead to measurable upstream reductions in energy use, as well as complementary reductions in operational costs and greenhouse gas emissions. However, the complexity of many urban water infrastructure networks produces a high level of seasonal and spatial variability of the energy embedded in the water delivered across the utility service territory.Download
Electrifying Last Mile Deliveries: The Case of Parcel Delivery FleetsLeticia Del Pilar Pineda BlancoMaster's Thesis2018Trucking is a key component of the freight sector, which is an important contributor to the California economy, but also contributes to externalities associated with climate and local emissions, congestion, and noise, among others. This work assesses alternative technologies using real driving data for parcel delivery fleets and evaluates the role of monetary incentives in California. Read Report
Hydrogen Energy Storage for Renewable-Intensive Electricity Grids: A WECC Case Study Zane Logan McDonaldMaster's Thesis2018This research project investigates the feasibility and energy system costs and benefits of hydrogen energy storage (HES) integrated with the electricity grid. This analysis aims to illuminate the impacts of responsive water electrolysis in high-renewable penetration electricity grids to convert renewable electricity into low-carbon hydrogen. This process has the potential to help balance the electric grid while providing an energy carrier that could be used in diverse energy applications. Read Report
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 Articlemtrp
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
Energy Efficiency Measures in Affordable Zero Net Energy Housing: A Case Study of the UC Davis 2015 Solar Decathlon HomePayman Alemi and Frank Loge Peer-reviewed ArticleElsevier2017The 2015 UC Davis Solar Decathlon Team designed and constructed an affordable zero net energy prototype home for California (CA) farmworkers. Each major energy-efficient feature of the home was separately analyzed to gauge its energy savings impact.Download (Paywall)
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)mtrp
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. Downloadmtrp
Teacher knows best? Balancing energy savings, air quality, and comfort in California’s schools
Outcault, S.
Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference
2017Summarizes findings from a teacher survey on classroom air quality.
Presentation Slidesmtrp
Can you take the heat? A cross-national comparison of thermal comfort strategies and energy-saving field experiments Outcault, S. Pritoni, M., Heinemeier, K., and A. Mikami. Conference PaperACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings2016This paper presents the findings of a pair of randomized control trial to encourage the use of passive cooling techniques in Japan and the U.S.Download Papermtrp
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. Downloadmtrp
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)mtrp
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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What about Everyone Else? Thinking Beyond the Customer: Market Barriers to Adoption of Efficient HVAC Technologies
Outcault, S.
Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference
2015Identifies market barriers impeding the adoption of emerging HVAC technologies in California, using a behavior economics model of behavior change.
Presentation Slidesmtrp
Market Barriers to Widespread Diffusion of Climate-Appropriate HVAC Retrofit Technologies
Outcault, S. Kutzleb, J., Wooley, J. and K. Heinemeier.
Project Report2015Examines the market barriers impeding the adoption of emerging HVAC technologies in California, using a behavior economics model of behavior change.
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Assessment of the hybrid solar technologies for air conditioning in the Sustainable City of DubaiRahman, M.; Ghaddar, N.; Ghali, K.; Outcault, S.; P. StroeveProject Report2015This paper examines the technical requirements for a renewables-powered air conditioning system for a building in The Sustainable City of Dubai.Read Reportmtrp
Can AC Use be Reduced? Field Experiments to Encourage Adoption of Alternative Cooling Strategies in Japan and the U.S.
Outcault, S. Heinemeier, K., Pritoni, M., Kutzleb, J. and Q. Wang.Project Report2015This paper reports on a pair of randomized control trial to encourage the use of passive cooling techniques in Japan and the U.S.Read Reportmtrp
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