Indoor Air Quality
“What exactly is indoor air quality?”
When air quality is talked about, usually the discussion is focused on the exterior environment. However, the air quality inside a building can fluctuate as well. The Indoor Air Quality, also known as IAQ, is contingent upon a multitude of factors, such as type of ventilation, exterior air quality, processes occurring inside the building, and building materials. IAQ can have drastic effects on its inhabitants.
“How can we circulate air from the inside of an interior environment instead of the outside?”
Most HVAC systems rely on using external air as a supply. However, sometimes the ambient air is too polluted or hot for practical use. To work around this, we can use air from the interior environment as the feedstock. This Air Recirculation is very useful in Summer months when temperatures are much higher and air quality is much lower.
How Extreme Weather Events Can Cause Energy Prices to Skyrocket
“How can extreme weather events cause energy prices to go out of whack?”
When the weather gets too hot or too cold, people will turn on HVAC systems to compensate. This will cause greater demand on the electricity system, which in turn will lead to more constraints and therefore higher costs for everyone. This is How Extreme Weather Events Can Cause Energy Prices to Skyrocket. The advent of climate change will only exacerbate this, as extreme weather events will become far more frequent. So in the end, it will pay in the long term to upgrade critical infrastructure systems to more resilient standards.
Image credit Bigerna, S. (2018). Estimating temperature effects on the Italian electricity market. Energy Policy, 118, 257-269.
“How can we make a building that uses no energy?”
Net zero energy usage in buildings can mean two things. Either all of the energy consumed by the building is met through self-generation or the building itself uses no energy! The latter is the foundational idea behind Passive Buildings. Passive buildings are edifices that obtain all of their heating and lighting through natural means. This means that such buildings have lots of large windows to let natural sunlight in, are superinsulated, and employ passive solar design. Therefore, these buildings can skip the need for complex lighting and HVAC. Passive buildings are amazing to experience and should be enjoyed by everyone in my opinion.
Solar Water Heating
“How can we warm our homes using solar energy?”
Solar panels are famous for providing clean and cheap energy. However, that’s not the only thing they can give. A typical solar panel will convert 14% of the energy it receives from the sun into electricity, while the rest is dissipated as heat. This extra heat can be used to heat incoming air which can then be funneled down a vent into an energy transfer module which not only warms a building’s water supply but also provides nice filtered air to the interior space. This system is known as Solar Water Heating and is one of the most exciting technologies in development.
Transformer Cooling Tubes
“How can we cool the oil in a transformer?”
Transformer oil is vital for winding insulation. However, in order for optimal performance, it must be kept at a cool temperature. So how can we use our engineering mindset to accomplish this? Well, what if we were to simply have the transformer oil circulate in tubes near a cooling source? This is the idea behind Transformer Cooling Tubes and is a staple of transformers in the world.
A New Guide For High-Performance Energy-Efficient Buildings in India
“Is there a new guide for energy efficient buildings in India?”
India is a massive country. With an area larger than the Arabian Peninsula and a population size equal to four times the United States, it definitely has something to say about size. And every single one of those people probably lives, works, and plays in some sort of building. That must be a lot of buildings. And to keep everyone cool and productive in the hot Indian Climate, a lot of energy is going to go towards HVAC and Lighting Systems. Combine this with a large population growth and intense economic development, and it looks like more and more people are going to be in these buildings.
So like any nation with these factors, India should be looking to see how it could supply this future growth in energy. After much studying into this issue, the nation of the Ganges has decided that one of its primary directives must be to vastly increase energy efficiency in the building sector. After working with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the same center that produced The Rosenfeld Effect, a new Guide For High-Performance Energy-Efficient Buildings in India has been produced. This series of documents delves into how India can achieve its climate change reduction goals with regards to the building sector by addressing its unique workforce, construction activity, culture, and climate.
Bottom line, I recommend that everyone in the energy space should take at least a few peaks at it right here!