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Environmental Studies Class Journal - Case Study Example

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Instructor name Date Class Journal 1 Objectives of this class are to evaluate and analyze energy management and energy conservation issues, identify and understand the value of energy management, identify and understand the principles of energy management, and explore the career opportunities in the energy field…
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Environmental Studies Class Journal
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Environmental Studies Class Journal

It would be helpful if we could shut down some of the less efficient plants, even if we can't close all of them. Natural gas is one of the state's largest source of energy and only 10% of the state's energy comes from renewables, mostly geothermals followed by biomass, wind, and solar. Economic analyses are decision-making tools for energy projects and techniques to choose among a number of different options. They do not include the benefit to the environment, the benefit to society, or whether you're being a good neighbor. Objectives for this unit are to understand that these analyses can range from simple to complex, be able to review and understand assumptions, be familiar with the limits, and be able to run through example calculations. Types of economic analyses include rough order of magnitude estimates for budget purposes (ROM), Simple payback, and Internal rate of return (IRR). These are used both on new building projects and retrofits. Investment decision types involved in analyses include to accept or reject a single project or system operation, to select an optimal efficiency level for a building system, select an optimal system type from competing alternatives, select an optimal combination of interdependent systems, and/or rank competing projects to allocate a limited budget. Assumptions are everything. They define the project and state the objectives, they establish first cost, cost of energy, cost of labor and materials, cost of maintenance, cost of money, tax credits, and inflation. You need to know where they came from, which ones are solid as compared to guesses, and how to adjust when solid numbers are available. To get an idea of how to do this, we looked at the simple payback analysis. The equation is simple payback (in years) = cost divided by savings where the cost is the cost of the project in dollars and the savings are annual energy savings in dollars. In comparing options, you subtract the cost of one benefit over the other. For cost, you should list the assumptions and the sources you used to reach that number, then use the cost difference between the different options. Do the same thing for savings, convert all units to dollars per year. We looked at a refrigerator analysis as an example in which the simple payback was about one and a half years. Then we looked at the example of a water heater which included more complex variables. These two examples really helped demonstrate the important role played by the assumptions that effects the overall solution. The example with the compact fluorescent bulbs showed how to use the spreadsheet program to help us work out the details and allows us to change the variables when we need to, for example if an assumption has changed. After the break, we looked at an online tool that would do these analyses which showed why it's important for us to be able to check these figures for ourselves and then moved on to talk about energy action plans. The second half of class looked at an energy action plan. This was accomplished by looking at the specific example of Stanford University. He talked about the importance of knowing the location, getting management interested, getting the users involved, the maintenance people involved, and performing the energy audit from a variety of perspectives. Things that were important in this section were involving maintenance, the design team, the issue of capital improvement, non-stop measurement, ... Read More
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