Showing posts from November, 2018

Motivations to reduce domestic energy consumption

Given that a significant proportion of national energy consumption in countries such as the UK arises from domestic usage such as space heating, the various motivations of residents to conserve energy are important factors in efforts to decarbonise the economy. It is easy to assume that financial saving is the most likely motivator of domestic energy conservation. The motivation of consumers with a free energy supply is examined in the following paper:

Motivating Residents to Conserve Energy without Financial Incentives Andrea H. McMakin, M.A., Elizabeth L. Malone, Ph.D., Regina E. Lundgren (2002)
Given the aim to motivate people to conserve energy in homes, we need to understand what drives people’s energy use behavior and how it can be influenced. This article describes applied energy conservation campaigns at two U.S. military installations where residents do not pay their own utility bills. Customized approaches were designed for each in…

Energy Efficiency in Buildings

A variety of standards apply to the specification, modification and assessment of buildings with regard to their energy performance.Some of the relevant organisations, targets, and methods will be mentioned here, with links to information sources.
The Wikipedia Passive house article outlines the development of buildings with very low energy requirements, and compares the German Passivhaus standard with the American PHIUS standard.
In the UK, the PassivHaus Trust “provides leadership in the UK for the adoption of the Passivhaus standard and methodology.”
This website claims that “Passivhaus buildings achieve a 75% reduction in space heating requirements, compared to standard practice for UK new build.” Regarding the retrofitting of existing buildings, a slightly relaxed standard applies, known as EnerPHit. The Passivhaus publication Claiming the Passivhaus Standard: Technical briefing document states that the “Pas…

Electric Vehicles, Energy Storage, and Carbon Fibre

Peter Crone, speaking at a Community Energy event in Plymouth on 14th November described the potential of electric vehicles to provide energy storage. He claimed that there are 31.7 million cars in the UK, and that the average car travels 22 miles per day and spends 96% of its time parked. He asked the audience to consider the energy storage situation if the all these vehicles were electric, and their spare electrical capacity was made available to the grid. Taking the Nissan Leaf as an example, this would amount to 949 million kWh, close to the 978 million kWh average daily energy use in the UK. Thus the national fleet could store almost a day’s energy supply, offering a valuable balance against the intermittent nature of renewable sources and the fluctuating nature of hourly demand. Peter gave as an example the Western Isles Consolidated V2G and RE Study, which is described along with other related projects at…

The ‘Cold Economy’

A talk given to an IET audience earlier this month by Dr. Tim Fox, Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor.Brief notes follow, starting with some overall statistics, moving on to specific problems with suggested solutions, and ending with relevant institutions and links to further reading.
Statistics: refrigeration uses around 17% of global electricity supply at present. Cooling equipment deployed globally is expected to to grow from 3.6bn units in 2018 to 9.5bn by 2050. The associated energy consumption would grow from 3,900 TWh/yr to 9,500 Twh/yr, and the total CO2e emissions for sector from ≈4GT to ≈8.9GT.Global space cooling is expected to consume more energy than global space heating by 2070 and 60% more by the end of the century.
Some specific examples:
Built Environment Use of Natural Resources 
60,000m3 of stored winter snow from road clearing has been used to cool Sundsvall Hospital, Sweden. District Cooling (DC) can improve efficiency 5-10 times relative to alternative spa…

DECC 2050 Energy Calculator

DECC 2050 Energy Calculator and some related papers
The 2050 calculator allows users to examine the effect on energy transition of a wide range of parameters, such as home insulation and average temperature, growth in industry, commercial demand for heating and cooling, shift to zero emission transport, domestic freight, and international shipping. The calculator, together with links to its source code and information on its assumptions, is available at
Aspects of the UK’s transition to low carbon energy are discussed in the following open access papers, along with comments on the DECC 2050 calculator. 
The UK low carbon energy transition: prospects and challenges TJ Foxon, PJG Pearson - Carbon Governance, Climate Change …, 2014 [PDF]
Under the 2008 Climate Change Act, the UK has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. This implies a radical transformation of systems for meeting energy service demands - in …