Archive for September, 2011

Weekend Links

September 30, 2011


* Con Edison received its 1,500th project application for commercial and industrial energy efficiency upgrades.

* EIA energy prices for all fuel sources 2008 – 2024.

* How cloud computing is changing Data Center designs.

* What happens when a country’s renewable energy projected output rises 80 terawatt-hours in ten years? You have to pay customers to take power to keep the grid stable .

The comment period for the Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement for hydraulic fracturing in NYS is open until the end of this year, so I went to a screening of the documentary Gasland. 

* October is Energy Awareness Month.

NYC Aquarium Lighting

September 27, 2011

Salvador Behar Architects, the Mamaroneck, NY-based firm, completed an exterior lighting system for the New York City Aquarium at Coney Island, which enables its client, the Wildlife Conservation Society, to hold evening functions like fundraisers on-site. Project architect Salvador Behar, who worked closely with project designer Bob Friedman and electrical contractor Peter J. Cantanzaro, says the “intent was to link the disparate structures of the aquarium with architectural lighting, focusing on nodes of interest along a progression of exhibits.”

Behar says each of the installations has its own character and architecture. “It lacked an overall theme,” he says. “And now, of course, the society can rent the spaces for evening events, so it’s a revenue enhancer for them.”

The goal, he says, was to make the illumination as natural as possible. “There is a grotto-like exhibit, Sea Cliffs, that can be entered from the outside; the pools can be viewed below grade. Sea Cliffs is made to look like rock, and we wanted to enhance the look and feel of it. You’re not aware of the sources, and the carpenters and masons at the aquarium’s workshop are still in the process of shielding the fixtures housed within the gunite material that the rocks are made from. It’s dramatic: We’re not trying to light whole pools, but have beams of lights that the sea mammals, for example, can go in and out of.”

To help visitors go in and out of the exhibits, and tie the exhibits together, Behar created 10-15 wall sconces that resemble manta rays and signpost the aquarium. The tensile structure overhangs a large fish tank named Oceanic, and was erected when the lighting design process began. “With that pool, some of the light goes directly into the water, and some is reflected off the surface of the structure and bounces down into the pool. At night, this outdoor structure becomes a beacon for that part of Brooklyn.”

In tests against sodium vapor and incandescent sources, metal-halide lighting proved to have the best color rendering through the water, though different sources were used: Manufacturers include North Star (400W metal-halide mercury vapor Marine Star Floods and metal-halide Challenger Floodlights), Phoenix (AMS series all-weather architectural PAR-38s), Quality Lighting (concentric beam floodlights and die-cast aluminum decorative pendants on trees at the rear of the property), and Stonco (vapor-tight wall incandescents and pencil-beam flagpole long-throws). Light sconce metal fabrication was executed by Derecktors Shipyard in Mamaroneck, with PVC-coated rigid metal conduit provided by Perma-Cote Industries, and custom brackets by Precision Metal Fabricators. Dimming is by Lutron.

Though visitors appreciate the romance of the new illumination, its effect, Behar notes, is largely lost on the occupants of the tanks. “The fish have no reaction at all,” he says. “But the mammals, particularly the walruses, love the attention when there’s a party going on.”

text courtesy of LD+A magazine where project was published

PV Incentives

September 25, 2011

NYSERDA offers photovoltaic system rebates at $1.75 per watt DC.

The Federal tax rebate is 30% of installation price. It requires a one-page form that attaches to your Federal return. New York State residents are offered a NYS personal income tax credit equal to 25% of the total installation and labor costs, with a maximum credit of $5,000., for systems up to 10 kW.

NYC has additional incentives.


Why we crave creativity but reject creative ideas.

Energy Outlook

September 20, 2011

* Working gas in storage was 3,112 Bcf as of Friday, September 9, 2011, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 87 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 140 Bcf less than last year at this time and 52 Bcf below the 5-year average of 3,164 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 89 Bcf below the 5-year average following net injections of 59 Bcf…At 3,112 Bcf, total working gas is within the 5-year historical range.

* Statoil has signed a US $5,000,000. agreement with the University of Texas Austin to perform R&D.

* President Clinton favors building energy retrofits. Here is what he had to say today:

In the developed world, Clinton says an “enormous numbers of jobs” can be created by renewed commitments to energy efficiency. “The U.S. is about twice as energy efficient as we were back in the first oil embargo in the 1970s but more than twice as inefficient as our largest competitors,” he says. “We could create 1 million jobs here if we had a systematic way to finance building retrofits everywhere.”

Weekend Links

September 17, 2011


NREL shows there are diminishing returns for EVs, even if lithium remains available for the next twenty years.

* A discussion of smart meters and RF exposure issues.

* Marcellus Shale wall map


* Be the quietest person in the room and learn something of value.

Lumber Prices Set to Rise

September 15, 2011

Pope Resources is a Washington State lumber and land company. Below is an excerpt from their most-recent report. “MBF” is the abbreviation for ” thousand board feet” and “MMBF”  signifies “million board feet”:

“For the first six months of 2011, our average realized log price increased $88 per MBF, or 18%, from $483 per MBF in 2010 to $571 per MBF in 2011. Within this total, Douglas-fir log prices increased $100 per MBF, or 19%, from $515 per MBF in 2010 to $615 per MBF in 2011 and whitewoods increased $93 per MBF, or 21%, from $453 per MBF in 2010 to $546 per MBF in 2011. Across all species, export log prices increased $110 per MBF, or 21%, from $517 per MBF in 2010 to $627 per MBF in 2011. In addition, while there was virtually no spread between export and domestic log market pricing in the first half of 2010, the spread has increased to 12%, or $69 per MBF, export lift in 2011’s first half.

“(Pope executed) a 30% increase in our harvest volume, from 14 MMBF in 2010 to 19 MMBF in 2011, amplified by a $65 per MBF, or 13%, lift in average realized log price, which increased from $517 per MBF in 2010 to $582 per MBF in 2011.

“For the first six months of 2011, Fee Timber operating income was nearly double the level of the corresponding period in 2010, increasing from $5.3 million in 2010 to $10.4 million in 2011. This improvement was driven by the combined effect of an 89% increase in harvest volumes, from 26 MMBF in 2010 to 49 MMBF in 2011, and an $88 per MBF, or 18%, improvement in average realized log price, which increased from $483 per MBF in 2010 to $571 per MBF in 2011. “

Electrical Links

September 10, 2011

* NYSERDA has cancelled a transmission and smart grid solicitation due to lack of funding.

* If you could bring back 1987, would you? LED deployment does just that.

* Lead acid batteries remain the workhorses of UPS systems.


September 7, 2011

* One hundred ways to cut your energy bills.


September 6, 2011

design: Salvador Behar Architects