Yarmouth, ME, United States
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Levine C.R.,New York University | Levine C.R.,University of California at Berkeley | Yanai R.D.,New York University | Lampman G.G.,Energy Circle | And 5 more authors.
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2014

Statistical uncertainty analyses can be used to improve the efficiency of environmental monitoring, allowing sampling designs to maximize information gained relative to resources required for data collection and analysis. In this paper, we illustrate four methods of data analysis appropriate to four types of environmental monitoring designs. To analyze a long-term record from a single site, we applied a general linear model to weekly stream chemistry data at Biscuit Brook, NY, to simulate the effects of reducing sampling effort and to evaluate statistical confidence in the detection of change over time. To illustrate a detectable difference analysis, we analyzed a one-time survey of mercury concentrations in loon tissues in lakes in the Adirondack Park, NY, demonstrating the effects of sampling intensity on statistical power and the selection of a resampling interval. To illustrate a bootstrapping method, we analyzed the plot-level sampling intensity of forest inventory at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, NH, to quantify the sampling regime needed to achieve a desired confidence interval. Finally, to analyze time-series data from multiple sites, we assessed the number of lakes and the number of samples per year needed to monitor change over time in Adirondack lake chemistry using a repeated-measures mixed-effects model. Evaluations of time series and synoptic long-term monitoring data can help determine whether sampling should be re-allocated in space or time to optimize the use of financial and human resources. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Spadaccini C.M.,Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | Mukerjee E.V.,Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | Letts S.A.,Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | Maiti A.,Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | O'Brien K.C.,Energy Circle
Energy Procedia | Year: 2011

Robust ultrathin polymer membranes offer significant technical and economic advantage over conventional carbon capture methods due to their potential for high throughput, high selectivity, and relative ease of implementation. We have been developing a simple, ultrathin, polymer membrane system to capture CO 2 from post-combustion industrial exhaust streams. The approach involves nano-engineered membrane fabrication using an LLNL-developed solvent-less vapor deposition followed by in-situ polymerization (SLIP) process. The SLIP process vapor deposits ultrathin polymer films onto high throughput substrates to fabricate composite membranes. Single component gas permeation tests for PMDA-ODA films with thicknesses between 100-1000 nm were conducted. Permeability was found to be in the 30-100 Barrer range while maintaining CO2/N2 selectivity of ∼20:1. Membrane performance may be enhanced via improved film quality, reduced thickness, the development of new materials which are compatible with the SLIP process, and a modeling effort to understand the underlying transport phenomena within the membrane material. © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Windecker A.,TRC | Ruder A.,Energy Circle
Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment | Year: 2013

This paper presents in-service data collected from over 300 alternative fuel vehicles and over 80 fueling stations to help fleets determine what types of applications and alternative fuels may help them reduce their environmental impacts and fuel costs. The data were compiled in 2011 by over 30 organizations in New York State using a wide variety of commercial vehicle types and technologies. Fuel economy, incremental vehicle purchase cost, fueling station purchase cost, greenhouse gas reductions, and fuel cost savings data clarifies the performance of alternative fuel vehicles and fuel stations. Data were collected from a range of vehicle types, including school buses, delivery trucks, utility vans, street sweepers, snow plows, street pavers, bucket trucks, paratransit vans, and sedans. CNG, hybrid, LPG, and electric vehicles were tracked. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Windover P.,New West Technologies LLC | Tario J.,Energy Circle
World Electric Vehicle Journal | Year: 2012

Short sea shipping, the movement of freight along coasts and inland waterways, is more efficient and environmentally friendly for transporting large quantities of product. While marine transport may displace numerous diesel trucks, conventional propulsion systems still rely on petroleum fuels and the old engines found in most freight vessels produce harmful exhausts. An investigation was undertaken to determine the technical, economic, and environmental potential for an electric propulsion system in short sea shipping operations within New York State where numerous waterways provide a marine highway option that can be used for freight transport. Duty cycle information obtained from tugs during real-world operations in the New York City Harbor was used in the analysis. Three drivetrain configurations, a series hybrid-electric tug with energy storage, a series hybrid-electric tug with plug-in capability, and a series hybrid-electric tug with exchangeable energy storage capability were analyzed using the acquired load profiles. Modeling results indicate that the fuel savings is highly dependent on the application. The plug-in configuration is likely to be the most cost effective concept based on the large increase in additional fuel savings for the minimal cost to add this capability. This study shows the value of modeling with real-world duty cycles to estimate system benefits. An ongoing study evaluating the potential benefits of electric propulsion for New York State Canal Corporation maintenance vessels may identify a favorable application for this technology due to the low power requirements and regular recharging opportunities within their operations. © 2012 WEVA.

Walton M.L.,Energy Circle
Society and Natural Resources | Year: 2013

Three small discussion groups (30 participants) were convened in the Capital District of New York the summer of 2005 to discuss the proposal to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil development. Q methodology was used to test the hypotheses that deliberative discussion encourages prosocial and pro-environmental preferences and influences participants to be more willing to forego the economic and energy security benefits of development in favor of wilderness protection. The findings supported the study hypotheses; however the participants' strong preexisting environmental bias made it difficult to separate the social influence of deliberation from majority influence. The findings also revealed that deliberation created new questions and uncertainties for many of the participants, resulting in postdiscussion preferences that may not be stable. The results complement the theoretical arguments for deliberative decision making and help bridge the gap between theory and empirical research. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Howard T.G.,Albany State University | Schlesinger M.D.,Albany State University | Lee C.,The Nature Conservancy | Lampman G.,Energy Circle | And 2 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2016

Return-on-investment (ROI) can help integrate prioritization efforts for developers and conservation organizations alike. To examine this complementarity and to investigate improving dialogue across these two sectors, we conducted paired ROI assessments from the perspective of wind development and biodiversity conservation in the northeastern United States. Spatially explicit layers defined the three ROI components: benefit, cost, and probability of success. For the wind development ROI, we modeled turbine suitability using the random forest algorithm to develop the benefit surface. We treated biodiversity information related to permitting and development as a cost surface and applied land conservation status towards the probability of success term. The conservation ROI applied biodiversity priorities as the benefit surface, applied a higher environmental cost to areas with high wind turbine development value, and used estimates of ecosystem resilience to define the probability of success. This ROI highlighted conservation potential after applying the constraints of wind energy development. The analysis suggests that New York State, US, may be able to accommodate 16,000 Megawatts of power generation while avoiding conservation priorities, more than sufficient landscape to situate turbines up to the predicted capacity based on grid reliability (6600 MW). Further, the two ROI models taken together are more instructive than results from either model alone. Sensitivity analyses revealed that altering the weightings of the biodiversity input variables rarely changed the relationship among the two ROI models from place to place. We suggest that applying ROI from different perspectives may help form an important communication bridge between conservation and development tradeoffs, and prove valuable in the debate over renewable energy production options in the context of their environmental impacts. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd

Energy Circle | Date: 2011-08-02

Biomass renewable energy products, namely, wood pellets for use as fuel in producing energy.

Not using energy you don’t need has become an attractive way of going green, and has given birth to companies out to track and target your energy consumption, or retrofit your home for greater efficiency. Newton, MA-based Powerhouse Dynamics, founded in 2008, is a player in the energy-monitoring software field, but it’s been going about things about differently than some of its competitors, says CEO Martin Flusberg. Many energy-monitoring startups look to get their products in consumers’ hands by partnering with utilities. Flusberg says utility companies can run pilot phases of this type of technology, but often have trouble scoring regulatory approval or consumer interest to make the monitoring systems permanent fixtures in homes. So Powerhouse is marketing its eMonitor system to those who are close to the pulse of the cleantech industry, such as energy auditors, retrofitting companies, and solar panel providers. “It’s a natural fit,” says Flusberg, who joined Powerhouse last year and previously co-founded energy and carbon analysis company Nexus Energy Software. “We have the same customer base.” In February the company announced it had raised $1 million in a financing round led by CommonAngels, and it has added roughly another $400,000 to the pot this summer. It’s also gotten its product to the market since this winter’s funding announcement, and has about 80 dealers enlisted to sell its system. Powerhouse’s technology tracks energy consumption at the circuit level, which also distinguishes it from companies that plug monitoring devices into individual appliances or energy meters. The system starts by connecting wires to individual circuits on a circuit panel, which feed into the eMonitor device. EMonitor comes with a worksheet to help consumers track which circuit line they connected to which port and transfer the data to their user account online. The device then sends information to the home network via an Ethernet connection, which then uploads the data to a user interface hosted online by Powerhouse. (If a the Internet router is far from the eMonitor device, it can connect use WiFi to communicate with the Ethernet bridge, Flusberg says.) The online interface is rife with graphic displays and analytics functions to show users where they’re using the most energy, all the way down to an appliance level, and when they’re using it, so they can start targeting energy-wasting culprits immediately. It measures

News Article | December 24, 2010
Site: www.cnet.com

The next time someone tells you that you need all sorts of expensive equipment for energy-efficient buildings, make sure to mention air sealing. Most people know that adding more insulation to an attic is a good way to cut your energy bills and environmental footprint, but restricting the flow of air into a building is also very valuable, say green building pros. On a fittingly chilly day last week, I was reminded how important air sealing is when I had a blower door test done at my house. The test, which measures how leaky a building is, showed me that some of my efforts have actually improved the situation and it helped identify other spots where the cold is coming in. A blower door, along with an infrared camera, are standard tools for building-performance professionals. It's not the sort of thing that homeowners will use on their own but a test done by a professional will give you a better grasp on how quickly your home is losing conditioned air. Almost two years ago, I had an energy audit when I had my first blower door test. Where I live, a utility-funded organization offers free audits, but one with a blower door test, a little bit of air sealing, and a set of recommendations cost me between $500 and $600. A blower door is just a cloth door equipped with a fan that fits over a doorway. With the fan on, the house reaches a certain air pressure and a sensor can measure the rate of air flow. The first test was no surprise: I have an old New England home with lots of air flowing through it. Through my work as a weatherization volunteer, I've learned that many cracks and crevices in many homes can add up to a hole almost as big as a small pizza box. But using the blower door as a diagnostic tool is more interesting. With the blower door on, I tailed the energy auditors around the house to find where the big gaps are. A lot were in the basement where windows and penetrations to the outdoors create conduits for outdoor air to flow into a house and upward through the building. The pros used spray foam for the bigger holes in the basement and caulk around windows, installed some weather-stripping, and filled the holes in the attic where the bathroom fan created a big gap--that sort of thing. Then I followed up with similar work of my own in spots they missed. I had the chance for a follow-up blower door test last week and the results were a significant decrease in the rate of air flow. It's cut down on my heating (and likely cooling) bills and made things more comfortable inside. The second test also gave me fodder for future improvements--there's always a hole that you missed somewhere. And all this can be done using hardware-store type materials--weather-stripping, tape, etc.--with techniques you could call weatherizing 101. (Two online stores specialized in home energy efficiency I'm familiar with are Energy Federation Incorporated (EFI) and Energy Circle.) Air tight Can you make a house too tight? Yes, it's possible but, particularly for older buildings, it's very hard to, say green building professionals. Once again, a blower door test will let you know if your house is so tight that it needs mechanical ventilation. "The reality is that most people cannot make houses so tight that it's a problem. You're just going from a really old leaky house to a plain old leaky house," said Matt Golden, the president of Recurve, an energy efficiency company based in San Francisco. There's a cottage industry developing around deep energy retrofits, where contractors seal the building envelope very tight and add lots of insulation on the exterior of a building, known as superinsulation. A more specific standard for super-energy efficiency buildings is called Passive House, now getting a foothold in the U.S., which also calls for air-tight buildings. When a house is sealed that tight, it needs a machine for taking in outdoor air and circulating it through the house. Typically, an air-tight building will use a heat-recovery ventilator, which preheats incoming air with outgoing indoor air. Recurve's Golden said there are real concerns over air quality if a building is super air-tight and not ventilated. (There are also important concerns about carbon monoxide buildup.) But a leaky house doesn't necessarily mean better air quality. Air tends to flow from the bottom up and out through the attic of a building, a phenomenon called the stack effect. So a very leaky house would pull a lot of air from underneath a house--basement and crawl spaces--where the air quality isn't necessarily good, Golden noted. Air sealing isn't a replacement for insulation but it should be done before insulation, say pros. That's simply because once insulation is added, it's often tougher to find and seal air cracks, Golden said. Sealing the attic is typically a good place to start, he added. A lot of air sealing is do-it-yourself type work but it's not hard to make mistakes. For instance, I caulked the spot where a deck meets the foundation, which a friend pointed out didn't allow for proper drainage. That's one reason why getting a professional who knows about building science and weatherizing homes is a good idea. Plus, every home is different so finding someone capable of diagnosing where you'll get the biggest bang for your efficiency buck is important. I realize most people would rather spend their time planning a kitchen renovation than tightening up their home (though renovations are a great opportunity to improve efficiency). But with the colder months, I find the winter chill always motivates me to chip away at my efficiency to-do list.

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