Fortuna claims AIBT championship, and it wasn’t close

first_imgDrew Gillette scored a game-high 35 points and was named tournament Most Valuable Player after leading the Fortuna Huskies to a 74-62 victory over Piner in the championship round of the 51st Arcata Invitational Basketball Tournament, Saturday night at Arcata high.The Huskies (8-0) thoroughly dominated the tournament, winning by an average of 17 points over their three games.After falling behind 5-0 to Piner (9-1) Fortuna went on a 22-7 run to finish the frame behind 13 first quarter points …last_img

Beyond Sprawl: The Solar Suburbs of the Future

first_imgImagine a truly green suburb, one in which energy-efficient homes are powered by rooftop solar panels and electric cars glide quietly down the streets. Businesses, energy experts, and scholars say low-carbon suburban living is not only possible, but on its way, though not in the short run. Some glimpses of the future:— In Palm Springs, California, rooftop solar panels are standard in a new community of 42 energy-efficient homes built by Far West Industries of Santa Ana. The homes sold quickly, at prices ranging from $600,000 to $700,000. Scott Lissoy, president of Far West, says: “If we’re building in the Coachella Valley, which is one of the hottest areas in California, we’re building with solar panels. It’s the right thing to do.”— In Colorado, residents of Adams, Boulder, and Denver counties are taking advantage of a group buying program called Solar Benefits Colorado that offers discounts on solar panels from a company called Sunrun and on an electric car, the Leaf, from a local Nissan dealer. It’s one of a series of group procurement projects organized by Vote Solar, an advocacy group. Tax credits and state regulations also are importantThe economics of solar depend in part on federal investment tax credits of up to 30 percent for homeowners or for companies that install solar panels and lease them to homeowners — the most common home-solar arrangement today. But those credits are scheduled to fall to 10 percent in 2017 or disappear altogether. GTM Research expects a deep dip in solar installations in 2017 if the tax credits disappear.State regulation is key, too. In Florida — the Sunshine State — there is essentially no solar power industry because local utilities retain a monopoly on supplying electricity to homeowners. Some states have capped the amount of residential solar eligible for net metering, which allows homeowners to sell their excess electricity back into the grid and thus reduce their costs.“There is a lot of uncertainty right now with regard to the policies that have supported solar in the past,” says Laura Wisland, a senior energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists.Despite the unknowns and unknowables, a growing number of investors and a few utility executives have come to believe that the electricity sector is undergoing dramatic change. “That the world’s energy system has begun a dramatic transformation to a cleaner, more local future is no longer a controversial statement,” says Michael Liebreich of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Deutsche Bank published an exhaustive 185-page analysis of the global solar market that concluded: “We believe the solar industry is going through fundamental change and the opportunity is bigger than it has ever been before.”Not surprisingly, economics are the big driver. Solar panel costs have fallen sharply, and the so-called “soft costs” of solar that include marketing, installation, and permitting are declining as well, albeit more slowly. Instead of buying panels, most homeowners now lease them from solar providers like SolarCity, Sunrun and Sungevity or utilities, including Green Mountain Power and NRG Energy. “Leasing has been the game changer,” says Clint Wilder, a senior editor at Clean Edge, whose survey found that 82 percent of homeowners say “saving money” is the number one reason they buy clean energy products and services.Kelcy Pegler Jr., the president of NRG Home Solar, which now operates in 10 states, says: “The average customer is going to save from day one about 15 percent.” One company — CPS Energy, a municipally-owned utility in San Antonio — has even offered to pay select customers who agree to let a solar development firm install panels on their roof.Homebuilders, too, are slowly embracing solar. Six of the ten largest homebuilders make solar standard in some developments, according to solar provider SunPower. Lashing panels on a roof when a house is built saves money over installing them later, and the costs of solar can be rolled into a home mortgage.Cisco DeVries, the chief executive of Renew Financial, a California firm that finances solar and energy-efficiency projects, says the transition to an energy mix that is “decentralized, much cleaner and much more efficient” will come much faster than most people expect. Before the invention of smartphones, he notes, nearly every home in the U.S. had a landline; now fewer than 60 percent do. “The pace of change for distributed energy will start to look a lot like the iPhone revolution pretty quickly,” DeVries says. Electric cars have been a hard sellAnother key element of the solar suburb ecosystem — electric cars — has proven to be a hard sell. Back in 2011, President Obama called for 1 million electric plug-in cars (as opposed to hybrids like the Toyota Prius) to be on America’s roads by 2015. It’s 2015, and we’re not close: Cumulative sales are less than 375,000, reports the Electric Drive Transportation Association. Of the 16.1 million new cars and trucks sold in 2014, only about 118,000 (or 0.7 percent) were plug-in electrics, and sales this year are down slightly from 2014.As for batteries to store electricity at home, they are new and unproven. Last spring, Tesla set off a spirited debate among industry analysts with the announcement of its sleek Powerwall battery. Some said it won’t store enough electricity to run power-hungry appliances like air conditioners or clothes dryers, and at an installed price of $7,000, makes little financial sense for most people. Others said that in states with high electricity costs, batteries will enable solar owners to store power for the evening hours in a cost-effective way. Panasonic and Samsung are also developing batteries for the home storage, so Tesla’s Elon Musk isn’t alone in thinking there’s a business there.One reason why it’s hard to forecast the future of solar, electric cars, and batteries in the U.S. is that all are subsidized, and therefore policy-dependent, and not just at the federal level. Today, electric car buyers can take advantage of a $7,500 federal income tax credit, but the credit will expire once certain sales thresholds are reached. So electric cars could jump in price just as they become popular. Better batteries are a keyMeantime, an academic study of the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and its suburbs found that detached suburban homes can generate more than enough electricity than they need and send the surplus to the city in the batteries of electric cars driven by commuters. By email, Hugh Byrd, a professor at the University of Lincoln in the UK, who led the research, says another study found similar results for San Francisco.But, he added, realizing the clean-energy potential of suburbs will require, among other things, cheaper batteries with greater range to increase the market penetration of electric cars.And there’s the rub. For America’s sprawling suburbs to become environmentally friendly — let alone generators of excess energy — distributed solar power, electric cars, and battery storage will all have to become mainstream. That could happen — indeed, it probably will happen — but not in the near future.Across the U.S., distributed solar power — that is, photovoltaic panels installed on homes and businesses — is enjoying explosive growth, expanding by more than 50 percent annually for a decade, according to market researcher Clean Edge. SolarCity, the leading home solar company, says it aims to serve 1 million residential customers — up from 262,000 as of June 30 — by 2018, and it’s got plenty of competition.But distributed solar remains a niche business in every state except Hawaii, where 13 percent of residential electricity customers have installed solar. (California’s next, with 3 percent.) Nationally, about 734,000 homes — less than 1 in 100 — have on-site solar, according to GTM Research’s U.S. Solar Market Insight report. And a 2015 survey of U.S. homeowners by Clean Edge and SolarCity found that just 6 percent said they plan to install home solar in the next year, fewer than those preparing to buy LED bulbs, smart thermostats, and efficient hot-water heaters.(Some other countries, it must be said, are making far more progress. Germany, whose population of 80 million is one-quarter that of the U.S., has 1.5 million photovoltaic systems installed, twice as many as the U.S. Germany now generates nearly 7 percent of its electricity from solar power. In Australia, one in five homes now have photovoltaic panels.) Marc Gunther is editor at large of Guardian Sustainable Business U.S. and a blogger at MarcGunther.com. This post originally appeared at Yale Environment 360. RELATED ARTICLESSuburban Sprawl Costs a BundleNet-Zero Cities Aren’t Possible, You Say?Habitat for Humanity’s Net-Zero CommunityCalifornia Project Tinkers With a Net-Zero FutureVermont Utility to Develop New Grid TechnologyRunning Our House on Prius PowerCan We Power Our Car With the Sun?Tesla Will Sell Home BatteriesAn Off-Grid Solar CommunityA Net-Zero-Energy Community Near BoulderAn 11-Home Community Built for Energy EfficiencyGreen Neighborhood in North CarolinaSerenbe: a Green Town in the MakingEnergy-Saving Features of the Serenbe CommunityGiant ‘Geothermal’ Community in the Works — In Vermont, Green Mountain Power, the local utility, wants to sell its customers less electricity. Instead, it is selling them energy-saving heat pumps, weatherization, batteries, and solar panels that give them more control over their energy consumption. “Really, what we’re in the business of doing is trying to accelerate a consumer revolution that’s already happening, to transform the energy space,” says Mary Powell, the utility’s CEO.These examples point to the potential of what some are calling “solar suburbs.” The concept is a sweeping one — solar panels cover roofs, electric vehicles sit in garages, energy-efficient homes are outfitted with batteries to store electricity, and a smart two-way electricity system enables people to drive to work and discharge power from their electric cars at times of peak energy demand. The government of Australia has embraced this idea for a new military housing development being built near Darwin, where each home will come equipped with a 4.5 kW rooftop solar system, charging points for electric cars, and smartphone apps enabling owners to track their energy use and carbon saved.This vision bears little resemblance to the suburbs of today — with their big, inefficient homes, two or three gasoline-powered cars in the driveway, shopping malls, and vast parking lots. But advocates say that if all goes well, advances in technology, combined with smart policy, could lower the costs of solar power, electric cars, and batteries and drive a clean energy revolution in the suburbs.One evangelist for this revolution is David Crane, the chief executive of New Jersey-based NRG Energy, which aims to provide a complete clean-energy solution for homeowners, including electric-car charging and batteries. “Our home solar business is going to be about so much more about than just solar panels on the roof,” Crane said on a 2014 earnings call.Analysts at the Rocky Mountain Institute, led by Amory Lovins, also see an energy revolution coming. “The technical solutions are there,” says Titiaan Palazzi, a mechanical engineer at the institute who formerly worked for smart-thermostat company Nest. “You could eventually get to suburbs or communities that are net-zero energy.”last_img read more

How to Read Manual J Reports

first_imgWhen you look at Manual J reports, you’ll see the loads. They’re shown separately for heating and cooling, and cooling is further divided into sensible and latent. When the contractor or designer picks a piece of equipment, they’ll have to go through a “derating” process to match the equipment’s performance specifications with the building’s loads. (For more on this, see “Manual J Doesn’t Tell You Equipment Capacity.”)I mention this topic here because some Manual J reports can confuse you on this distinction, especially for cooling. Depending on which reports you’re looking at, you may also see something like “Req. total capacity at 0.70 SHR.”  That’s just a guess at what equipment capacity you’ll need.  If the person who ran the calculations has already gone through the derating procedure and specified the equipment, it may be accurate. Or the designer may have left the default number in there for SHR (sensible heat ratio), in which case you should look at that number simply as a suggestion.In the end, just remember that the load calculation comes first, and your equipment capacity is going to be a bit bigger than the loads.Notes on terminologyIf you’re going to read Manual J reports, knowing a little about the terms used will help you understand them. Here are a few that you need to know:One ton of AC capacity is equal to 12,000 BTU/hr.BTUh is the same as BTU/hr.Sensible cooling results in lower temperature (technically, dry bulb temperature); latent cooling results in lower humidity through condensation of water vapor on the coil.SHR is the sensible heat ratio. It’s obtained by dividing the sensible cooling load by the total cooling load. For homes in eastern North America, the humid side, that number often comes in at 0.8 to 0.9, sometimes even a bit higher. In dry climates, it can be 1.0 when ventilating with outdoor air.A rule of thumb you can useI often rail against rules of thumb when it comes to HVAC design (or lack thereof), but that doesn’t mean you can’t use one to your advantage.  This is the sniff test you can do to see how close the designer might have come to an accurate load calculation. In the warmer climates where air conditioning is a big deal, the rule of thumb used by many contractors for sizing an air conditioner is usually this:AC capacity = CFA ÷ (500 sf/ton)CFA is conditioned floor area in square feet.Sometimes the rule is 400 sf/ton, sometimes 600 sf/ton. But it’s always right in that neighborhood. So if you get a load calculation report, find the total cooling load (sensible plus latent) and divide it by the conditioned floor area. If it comes out around 500 or 600 sf/ton, the designer fudged the calculations somehow to align them with their preconceived idea of how big the loads should be based on their rule of thumb. (I’m talking about new homes here, or complete gut-rehabs. Existing homes generally have higher loads.)Don’t believe me? Take a look at our data. The graph shown in Image #2, below, is from an article I wrote in 2016 about the results of our load calculations on 40 projects. (Go read the article for full details.) The takeaways here are that our worst result was 624 sf/ton. The average 1,431 sf/ton.If you’re building a well-insulated house with a good level of airtightness, double-pane low-e windows, and decent specifications overall — in other words, a house that meets most state energy codes these days — your result should be 1,000 sf/ton or higher. If it comes in lower that, you should see that as a red flag and delve into the details to see if the designer made mistakes.Delving into the detailsFinding the loads. First, identify the results for heating and cooling loads. The two main software tools for doing load calculations are Wrightsoft’s RightSuite Universal and Elite’s RHVAC.  The reports look a little different but it’s not too hard to find the results. Both types of software make it clear how many BTU/hr you need for heating and for cooling. And for cooling, they also break it down into sensible, latent, and total.  From the total cooling load, you can calculate the sf/ton I mentioned above. RightSuite doesn’t do it for you, but Elite’s software does. In the Project Report, they include a section called Check Figures that includes the sf/ton.Checking the details. If you suspect that the loads may be too high — or too low or about right — you can check the details to see if the designer got the inputs right. Here are some of the main things to check:Indoor design temperatures.  The standard indoor temperatures are 70° F for heating and 75° F for cooling (with 50% relative humidity).Outdoor design temperatures.  The outdoor design temperatures depend on where you are, and you should check to see what was entered versus what should have been entered. It’s pretty easy to find the entries on the reports. To find what should have been entered, you can go to this page on the International Code Council’s website. If the entries in your calculation are off by a couple of degrees, it’s not a big deal. If they’re off by 5 degrees, you should ask for it to be corrected.Areas.  When the designer enters the various floors, walls, ceilings, windows, and doors, having the wrong areas can make a big difference. This is especially true for parts of the building enclosure that have worse specifications, like windows. A code-built house in IECC climate zone 3, for example, has windows that are about R-3 whereas the walls will be R-13. Entering too much window area is a way to inflate the load. Entering too much of any of the areas likewise inflates the load.R-values and U-factors. Check the entries for the floors, walls, ceilings, and floors to ensure the designer put in the correct R-values (for insulation) and U-factors (for assemblies like windows).Number of occupants. A common way to inflate the cooling load is to add extra occupants. The rule here is that the number of occupants should equal the number of bedrooms plus one. If they put 23 people in a 5-bedroom house (yes, I really saw that!), they’re adding unnecessary load. At 230 BTU/hr sensible and 200 BTU/hr latent, those 17 extra occupants added more than a half ton of cooling load.Infiltration. Did they use a simplified input method? If you’re building a new house and meeting a code that requires 7 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals (ach50) or better, the entry should be tight or maybe semi-tight. Better would be to use an actual blower door number. For example, if your code requires 3 ach50, enter that into the calculation. If you’re going for Passive House certification, enter 0.6 ach50 or 0.05 cfm50/sf of enclosure.Orientation. The software gives the designer the option of using worst case for the orientation. Your load calculation should have the correct orientation or you’ll end up with extra load in your reports.Duct location.  If the ducts are in conditioned space or in an encapsulated attic or crawl space, make sure that gets factored in properly. Doing the load calculations for ducts in an unconditioned attic will result in excess load.Contractors doing these load calculations often feel compelled to stretch a little bit here and a little bit there. Each litte bit doesn’t affect the overall load that much, but by the time you add them all up, you’re looking at putting in a 4-ton air conditioner where 2.5 tons would work. But here’s the thing: Even when you’re as stingy as possible with things that add load, you still end up oversized. So there’s no need to add extra load. If you’re building or remodeling a high-performance house, make sure the load calculation is correct. It’s worth it. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, building science consultant, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard. RELATED ARTICLESSaving Energy With Manual J and Manual DWho Can Perform My Load Calculations?Manual J Load Calculations vs. Rules of ThumbHow to Perform a Heat-Loss Calculation — Part 1How to Perform a Heat-Loss Calculation — Part 2Calculating Cooling LoadsWhen Do I Need to Perform a Load Calculation?We Are the 99% — AND the 1%Air Conditioner Basics When you enter the world of building science — whether through building a house, becoming a home energy rater/building analyst, or just hanging out in cyberplaces like this — everyone talks about the importance of getting actual heating and cooling load calculations based on ACCA Manual J. A great number of HVAC contractors sell and install oversized equipment with air distribution systems that don’t work because these contractors base their choices on rules of thumb.OK, but what if you hire a contractor or third-party designer to do Manual J load calculations and you’re not an expert and don’t want to be? Suddenly you’re faced with a bunch of seemingly indecipherable reports. How do you know if they’re accurate or not?Fear not, dear reader. I’ve got some help for you today.Don’t confuse load with capacityI don’t think I can make this distinction often enough. Heating and cooling loads are not the same as the equipment capacity needed. I just did it in my last article, and now I’m doing it again. It’s that important. The first thing you need to know is that the term loads refers to how much heating and cooling the building needs and capacity refers to how much heating and cooling the equipment can supply. Here in the U.S., both are measured in British Thermal Units (BTU) per hour.last_img read more

Mohit sings for Games at Qutub

first_imgHe came, sang and conquered the hearts. Singer Mohit Chauhan set the stage on fire on Thursday evening at the ongoing Qutub Festival when he crooned soulful numbers from his repertoire – numbers that have successively taken his career notches higher than before.Chauhan, who first shot to fame as the lead vocalist of the erstwhile band, Silk Route, strung together a beautiful evening of songs interspersed with anecdotes from his journey from the verdant mountains of Himachal Pradesh to the maximum city of Mumbai.”It has been a long journey and only I know how I have managed it,” he said before dedicating the first song of the evening to his home state.”This folk song from Devbhumi (referring to Himachal Pradesh) – Oh Lal Chidiye Ne -is close to my heart,” he said. Soon, more well-recognised numbers followed – Kissa Tera, Teri Dastan (Kismat Konnection ), Yeh Dooriyan (Love Aaj Kal ).The singer with a glossy voice, who lived in Delhi for a few years before shifting to Mumbai, recalled an amusing anecdote from his student days.”I was a science student and used to study rocks. When I joined the master’s programme, I didn’t study for six months because I was busy admiring the mountains and composing this song,” he said and hummed few notes of his popular number – Dooba Dooba from the Silk Route’s debut album, Boondein ( 1998).The song got the audience humming and grooving along. Post this number, Chauhan continued with the story of his life’s journey.advertisement”When I was a student, I used to sit on the last bench of the class to be able to admire the mountains,” he said. And then came the songs that the audience was most eagerly waiting for – Masakali (Dilli 6) and Pee Loon (Once Upon A Time in Mumbai) . Chauhan seemed to be in a mood to play with the audience.He said, ” There is a film called Jab We Met that has a song called Masakali ,” and added, “I’ll sing it only on one condition – you’ll have to sing along.” The crowd was more than willing; they happily sang along and jived to the lilting number from Dilli 6 . He had to cut short his story and the soiree due to time constraints but the singer promised to return soon.- The bands Indian Ocean and Euphoria get on stage for the Qutub Festival tonight.last_img read more